Computer and printing giant Hewlett Packard has made an explosive entrance to the branding scene recently with the launch of Logoworks. Although the company strictly refers to it’s services as “logo design,” and avoids any claim to directly offer “branding” services, the homepage tag-line is suspicious—“Get a Logo, Then Brand Your Business”—meaning, we give you the logo, you do the rest.
Perhaps the reason for the Logowork’s hesitation to use the B-word lies in the cut-rate nature of their services. Just 99 dollars is all you need to get started—for that nominal fee you get to view 10 original logo concepts, 2 of which you can own for an additional 200 bucks. This bait- and-switch upgrade to the 299-dollar “silver package” gives you 2 revisions of the logo and correspondence with 2 designers. There are several price packages offered by Logoworks, the most expensive of which is called the “Agency Start-Up” package, which consists of 10 logo concepts, 4 designers, unlimited revisions, business cards, stationary and a 3 page website—all for $2999. Essentially, this package includes many services provided by a branding agency, but for far less money. A real branding agency could-would-should charge 5 times as much, or more, for the same services.
So how does Logoworks charge so little?
Their design team consists of “40 in-house” designers at their headquarters in American Fork, Utah, as well as “even more freelance designers from around the world.” Could “around the world” be a euphemism for India, perhaps?
Much like the famous McDonald’s tag-line “Billions and Billions Served,” Logoworks boasts of having created logos for “over 45,000 clients” so far.
What Logoworks is doing for branding, Wal-Mart did for commerce. One can argue that outsourced, mass-produced brand design cheapens and devalues the creative process—eroding the personal relationship between business and brand agency, while stealing business away from “real” branding agencies by offering a cheap “knock-off” product for a fraction of the price.
However, a counter-argument, or positive spin, can be made—Logoworks helps get really small businesses off the ground. Later on, when profits have accumulated, they can be re-branded by real branding agencies. The point can be made that McDonald’s didn’t eliminate fine dining by offering cheap meals—people will always find time for fancy things, branding included. In this respect, Logoworks can be viewed as a hatchery for future branding agency customers.
Whether Logoworks is seen as detrimental or constructive, it is yet another example of a once exclusive trade or product being transformed, repackaged, mass-produced and discounted for mass-consumption.