How much should branding really cost?

A thoughtful, creative brand strategy differentiates you from your competitors and gives customers a relatable image to build a loyal relationship with. But how much should branding cost? Let’s break it down.

Name development

Developing a brand name is different for everyone; some get a eureka moment in the middle of the night, others spend months toying with ideas, and a few pay a company to develop a name for them. For this reason, the cost of this process ranges from $0 to around $75,000. It is absolutely possible to come up with a name on your own, but it doesn’t hurt to bring in an expert if you feel you aren’t getting anywhere.

Logo creation

Assuming you aren’t a graphic artist and don’t have one on staff, developing a logo will cost you anywhere from $50 to $150,000. To stick to the low end of the range, try out gig marketplaces to hire someone to develop the logo for you. These sites are frequently hit or miss, so it may take some time to find something that works. The alternative is to hire a freelance graphic artist on your own, looking through artists’ online portfolios until you find a style you think meshes with your vision for your company. Of course, hiring a marketing firm is an option as well, but that’s when you’ll get into the tens of thousands of dollars range.

Website development

There are two parts to website development: buying a domain name and securing hosting, and designing the website. The former will always cost you something, but the latter can be accomplished for free.

A domain name will run you anywhere from $10 per year to hundreds per year, while hosting runs anywhere from $60 per year for shared hosting (which is less secure) to well over $1,000 per year for hosting on a dedicated server.

Once the domain name is secured and hosting in place, you need to build the actual site. A well designed business website is worth its weight in gold, and with multiple hosting companies now offering users access to quality programs and templates as part of their hosting package, many business owners opt to tackle this aspect of branding on their own. But sometimes it pays to bring in an expert: to hire a graphic artist to customize a template, expect to spend between $300 and $1,000; for a fully custom site, the cost jumps to $5,000 to $10,000+.

Signage and merchandise

You’ve got your brand name, logo, and website, but when you have a physical store, you’ll need a quality sign as well, which costs anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000+. Branded shopping bags and any merchandise you might use for marketing should also be factored in here, but they also fall under operating costs (bags) and product development (branded merchandise).


A brand isn’t a brand without a personality and a message, and due to the high cost of hiring a professional firm (at least $15,000 and upwards of $150,000) many businesses opt to work on this in house. By developing a brand personality and creating quality content that falls in line with that personality, you can handle messaging on your own.

Ultimately, branding costs just a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. How do you decide what to pay for, and what to do yourself? Be honest: are you creative and patient enough to create a lasting, memorable name, logo, site, etc.? If the answer is yes, branding costs next to nothing; if the answer is yes to a few things and not others, piecemeal the project to get it done right. If you bite off more than you can chew, it’s just time and money down the drain.


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