What is the difference between Nike and Pepsi?

About £999,800 in terms of their logo design cost actually. If you’re a business owner with rebranding on your mind, asking the price of a new logo seems like a reasonable thing to do. But before we get into the answer, let’s take a quick quiz.

How much did Nike’s Swoosh logo design cost them back in 1971?

  • $200
  • $2,000
  • $20,000

What was the cost of Pepsi’s 2008 rebrand?

  • $10,000
  • $100,000
  • $1m


Everyone has some idea of how a logo is created, right? A designer sits at a desk, scribbles for a while, and sometime later the result is a logo. So if the process is the same, how come Nike only paid $200, but Pepsi’s bill was a cool million? Well, that huge difference has nothing to do with inflation, and everything to do with the first factor that affects the price of logo design:

 logo design cost


Cost is subjective. We all value things differently at different times in our lives. Back in the 70s, Nike was a startup looking for a quick design to go on their first pair of shoes. Getting it right was important, but money was tight, they were relatively unknown and didn’t have very much to lose. So they hired a student, picked a design, and hoped for the best.

Pepsi, on the other hand, was risking millions of dollars of global sales just by thinking about changing their branding. Do you think they were worried about how many designers were working on it, how deep the process went, or how many iterations it took until every single person involved was happy? Me neither. The cost of getting it right was high, but the cost of getting it wrong was much higher.

Of course, that brings up an interesting point. Fairness. Is it fair that Nike paid less? Or rather, is it fair that Nike’s designer only got paid $200?

Well, yes. At the time she was inexperienced and the company unknown. But I doubt anybody would say it’s fair for a multi-billion dollar business such as Nike to expect the same today.

Like Pepsi’s, Nike’s logo has a value (currently around $26bn actually). It’s immediately recognisable to millions of people all around the world and it’s become an inseparable part of who they are. Doing any kind of work to change or evolve a brand like that is a hugely important task, and that importance should be reflected in the price.

A logo is more than a logo

So another factor to consider when comparing logo prices is that, unless you really are just looking for something pretty to fill the white space on your business card, your logo isn’t a simple commodity. It can’t be bought off the shelf and swapped or changed for another when it wears out.

Now there’s no denying that down forces on prices in the creative industry have seen creative solutions like logos treated as commodities. But if you ask me, the competitors in this particular race to the bottom don’t truly understand the importance of the prize they’re trying to win.

Whether you know it or not, your logo stands for something. It’s the single most recognisable element of your brand and it plants an impression of you in your audience’s mind. A good logo will resonate with your customers, reflect your values, and communicate something about what you stand for in a whole range of different applications. A bad logo will communicate something too – just not the thing you want it to.

logo design cost

Therefore the challenge should be to do it right, not to do it cheapest. The right logo can add value and help to create a lasting brand. And a logo like that is worth far more than just the time spent creating it. Especially as you have to live with it for years to come.

As pretentious as it sounds, that good logo isn’t simply produced or plucked out of the air. It’s created and brought to life through a deep understanding of your business, usually by a designer or an agency that gives a crap about the result.

So on the subject of design agencies….

Design agencies aren’t all the same

How much does it cost to fly from Birmingham to New York? It depends, right? Do you want to go direct? Do you need to be there tomorrow? Is it important to avoid the queues at check-in? Do you want to go with a particular airline, or sit in a particular seat on the plane?

The importance you place on all these different factors will determine the price you’re willing to pay for your flight. The same is true when you’re selecting a designer or an agency to work on your logo. Although we’ll all eventually get you to the same destination (hello Logoville!), we’re not all flying the same route.

Different agencies have vastly different levels of experience and different ideas about quality and creativity. Some might bring a proven commercial understanding to the table, while others might take the time to really get to know you and understand your business before they even put pen to paper.

Some agencies might value a collaborative approach, or give you direct access to a designer to work with one-to-one. A few might consider all of the branding elements around the logo and give thought to how it fits into the broader business picture. Some might even have a ping-pong table in the studio which they’ll let you have a go. And then there are some agencies (ahem, Sixth Story) that might offer all of those things, and who’ll be around to offer support for your brand long after the logo project is finished.

So how much does a logo design cost?

That’s a good question. The answer: however much you think it’s worth. Nike recognised that. When they became successful they awarded the designer of their original logo shares in the company. I don’t know how that compares with what Pepsi paid, but it does underline the value or a logo, and the importance successful brand’s put on of getting theirs right.


How do you add value in your business?

It’s an important question, often where we uncover unique client benefits for brands we work with. How do you add value to your business and how do your clients value things? Just like how a startup and a multi-million-pound business would value a logo design differently, the way we or you add value to clients may be different from client to client. If you’d like help to review your pricing strategy, the way you quote or price your products or services and how you present these options to your ideal customers we’d love to have a chat.


Looking for a logo design? Get in touch!

Click here