How much does branding cost for small businesses in 2023? Based on business goals, location, and customer demographics, the average small business will spend $5,000-$20,000 USD on small business branding in 2023. The most popular branding service for small businesses is logo design, a $2,500-$10,000 cost. Your small business can expect to pay a freelancer or branding agency $100-$300 USD per hour for branding and design services.
Which branding elements can you expect to score within your budget? Should you choose a branding agency or freelance designer to create your small business logo? And how do you buy a logo if you don’t even have a business name yet!?
We’ve helped many woman-owned small businesses, ethical and sustainable businesses, and scrappy startups craft their brands, so we’re here to spill the tea on the cost of small business branding in 2023! Read on for our branding price guide for each popular small business branding service and a detailed rundown of what you’ll get for your budget.
How Does LoudBird Estimate Small Business Branding Prices?
Our small business brand pricing ranges are broad for a reason! They represent most branding services provider types—from mid-level graphic design freelancers to trusted boutique small business branding agencies like us and larger creative agencies.
Who did we NOT include in our pricing assessment? Exploitive logo design services that take advantage of inexperienced freelancers and pay peanuts. Because that’s just bad karma—and the crappy product usually reflects the low pricing!
We also excluded global, premium branding agencies that don’t tailor to small businesses, because they’re not a good fit for your needs OR your small biz budget.
Small Business Branding Prices in 2023 INFOGRAPHIC
We’re visual people here at LoudBird (surprise, surprise)! That’s why we made this quick-reference infographic to illustrate the different types of small business branding prices entrepreneurs encounter when searching for a branding professional.
You’ll also see a cost range in $USD for branding services.
Make sure to continue reading for an explanation of each branding service and the most common deliverables you’ll receive when you invest!
Cost of Brand Name and Identity in 2023
Naming a business costs $2,000 to $4,000 USD in 2023.
What’s in a name? 🌹 Well…a LOT! Your brand name is the foundation of your entire public presence. But how do you find a unique, memorable, clever, and available brand name within a saturated market? And how do you ensure the business name is a larger part of your growth strategy and will help your business succeed long-term?
Many small businesses choose to invest in brand identity services with an agency that offers creative AND strategic marketing for this reason. It’s much more affordable to name your business strategically the first time than to rebrand down the line!
The cost of naming your brand depends largely on if you’ll trademark your business, whether you sell locally, nationally, or internationally, and whether you choose an agency that specializes in small business branding or a freelancer.
What’s Included in Brand Identity Services?
• Unique, Meaningful Brand Name Suggestions
Are you having trouble coming up with a brand name for your business? Is your brand name too obscure? Too generic? Completely uninspired? Your business name will stick with you pretty much FOREVER. It better be perfect!
• Brand Name Availability
Is the name you love available? If it’s trademarked by another business or too common within your industry or local area, you need to go in another direction. Or risk being sued down the line.
• Brand Name SEO Viability
Will your brand name help you rank in organic search engine results? Will your brand name have any major SEO competitors that could hurt your website traffic? Are there any reasons your new brand name would rank poorly on search engines? Example: It’s the name of a famous person, it’s too generic, or it’s somehow associated with phishing scams or SPAM.
• Strategic Website URL
Much of your brand awareness will transpire online, so you’ll need help choosing a strategic URL. A short, easy-to-remember URL wins your brand more website traffic through SEO, but it also results in better sales. Especially if your business is new.
READ THIS BEFORE YOU CHOOSE A BUSINESS NAME! (2023 GUIDE)
13 TYPES OF BRAND NAMES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES (PLUS EXAMPLES!)
Cost of Market Research in 2023
Market research costs $1,500 to $10,000 USD in 2023.
Who is going to buy your products and what do they need to see, feel, and hear from your branding to become loyal life-long customers? Fifty-five percent of modern consumers say that they choose brands based on eco-friendly and socially responsible mission. And 49% of customers start purchasing and purchase more from companies they trust. It obviously pays to know your consumer and what they value!
We always recommend that our small business branding clients purchase an affordable SEO research package so we know what your competitors are doing right that you can steal AND which opportunities your competition is leaving on the table. We’re also warned of potential SEO conflicts that could impact the visibility and profitability of your biz. The cost of SEO market research is a great investment!
What Can Market Research Tell Me?
• Audience Analysis
Brand design can be frustrating, and is based largely on perceptions, feelings, and other unmeasurable factors that you can’t anticipate as a small business owner. That’s why market research is important. You may love a brand concept while your audience HATES it. Branding is about your customers, not your ego and personal taste.
Audience analysis can tell us, objectively, how your prospective brand name makes your ideal customer feel. Which logo concept inspires the most loyalty, trust, and brand affinity in your target consumer. And if your favorite color palette enhances or distracts from the positive perceptions of consumers.
• Competitor Analysis
When branding or rebranding a small business, it’s important to consider your national and local competitors.
- What does their branding look like? How can you stand out or elevate what competitors have done to better reach your ideal customers?
- Can you rethink your website design to make it more user-friendly, educational, and valuable for your audience?
- Which SEO keywords are competitors using successfully which types of SEO content marketing should your business produce immediately to steal their traffic and customers?
You can learn the essential info you need for informed branding through an SEO and Competitive Research Package like ours or deep dive with more costly focus groups—the choice is yours!
Cost of Brand Concepts in 2023
Brand concept development costs $1,000 to $3,000 USD in 2023.
Brand concepts are a very important part of the branding process at professional creative agencies. Wherever you get your branding package, it will likely include a set number of initial logo concepts for you to choose from. But it can be hard to make such an important decision based on a logo alone!
This is why brand concept costs are totally worth it. Brand concepts give you invaluable context. They allow you and your branding team to explore your logo concepts paired with other important brand elements—like photography style, brand shapes and textures, and possible font pairings.
Should You Budget for Brand Concepts?
• Explore Photography Styles
Is it important for brand photography to be inclusive of all races and cultures? Should the images used alongside your logo and on your website be hyper-targeted toward your niche audience? Do you love clear, vibrant images that POP! with color, or do you prefer desaturated, grainy, muted imagery?
• Consider Shapes and Textures
Will you pair your logo with organic or geometric shapes? Clean, linear patterns or rough, natural textures? You may be surprised how deeply these elements impact the overall look and feel of your branding!
• Pick Expressive Font Pairings
There are truly an endless amount of fonts available to your business. But will the font you love load correctly on all web browsers? And does your font complement your logo, brand photography, and other brand elements? Does your font portray the MOOD and MISSION of your business? A brand concept will show you your fonts in action!
Cost of Logo Design in 2023
Logo design costs $2,500 to $9,000 USD in 2023.
There’s no right or wrong logo design budget. But you predictably get what you pay for. Your logo is the face of your business—the first thing customers will see on your website, packaging, business cards, and email signature. It must be of professional quality if you plan to grow your small business.
That’s why we (as a 100% woman-owned marketing agency) love working with other women-owned businesses to create meaningful, memorable logos and small business websites! You have only one chance to make them remember your business. Ask yourself: “How much is a fantastic first impression worth?” We’re betting it’s worth WAY more than the cost of a small business logo!
What Does the Cost of Logo Design Include?
• Logo Design Concepts
You will typically receive 3 to 6 logo design concepts. These are your design team’s initial ideas, and they help you and your logo designer get a firmer idea of your preferences and the direction you envision for your branding.
• Logo Design Revisions
You’ll also get a certain number of logo revisions or logo design edits. You can choose one logo concept to use your revisions to perfect, or split your revision rounds between two concepts if you prefer. The revisions process allows you to make sure your finished logo is completely perfect and polished.
• Wordmarks and Brand Marks
You will receive a variety of wordmark and brandmark logo combinations. You may want to use a wordmark (typography) or brandmark (logo only) version of your logo design for social media or other applications where you have less design space.
• Logo Color Variations
You may want to use different colors of your logo for different applications. Your logo design service will likely include your logo in different color combinations. You’ll at least want a black, white, and color version.
• Popular File Formats
Your logo will be used on your website, in print, on social media, and on your packaging. You should receive appropriate file formats for each use case—like .jpg, .png, and .pdf.
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Cost of Visual Style Guide in 2023
A visual style guide costs $3,500 to $10,000 USD in 2023.
To communicate your branding to employees, your internal design team, website developers, or the press, you’ll need a visual style guide or “brank kit“. Your visual style guide gives rules and examples to follow to remain true to your brand. It gives context to your logo and conveys not only the look but the cohesive feel of your small business branding.
What’s Included In a Visual Style Guide?
• Logo Usage Guidelines
Your visual style guide should include design guidelines or “rules” to help your internal team understand which version of your logo should be used in which application. This often includes minimum space allowances, minimum sizing, and other useful info you can pass off to your website designer or printer.
• Color Palette and Codes
A visual style guide will also illustrate your brand’s color palette. You’ll be able to quickly reference and share both HEX codes, used in web design, and CMYK codes, which are used in printed media like packaging, business cards, and signage.
• Typography and Font Guidelines
Visual style guides contain the name/s of your font family, as well as where fonts should ideally be used. You’ll often get examples of Headline font usage, which font should be used for subheads, and which should be reserved for body copy. This is especially helpful to pass off to developers who’ll translate your new branding to your website.
• Other Visual Brand Elements
A professional visual style guide will illustrate how to successfully use brand elements like photography, shapes, and textures in conjunction with your logo. Packaging design mockups may also make an appearance.
• Brand Identity Elements
Premium Visual Style Guides may also include a brand mission or vision statement, as well as information on your target audience and competitors.
WHAT IS A SMALL BUSINESS BRAND IDENTITY KIT? DO I NEED IT AND WHAT’S INSIDE?
Cost of Editorial Style Guide in 2023
An editorial style guide costs $2,000 to $5,000 USD in 2023.
An editorial style guide defines your brand’s editorial preferences and rules and gives examples of your brand messaging. More specifically, the voice and tone of your brand and how it should speak to audiences across different marketing channels—like social media, email marketing, and your company website.
MailChimp’s editorial style guide is one of the best we’ve ever seen. It’s a great example of how in-depth YET simple a style guide can be! While your small business editorial style guide likely won’t need to be this detailed, this example illustrates perfectly the goals and benefits of editorial guidelines.
Editorial guidelines are essential for companies that have SEO-driven growth plans and plan to explore organic content marketing like blogs and social media.
What Does an Editorial Style Guide Contain?
• Grammar and Punctuation Rules
Your internal team of writers and your copywriting marketing agency will need to know which formal style guide your brand uses (if any) so they can adhere to standard grammar, punctuation, and alphanumeric rules. For example, does your brand use the Oxford Comma? Is the word SALE always uppercase and bolded in your content? AP Style and Chicago Style are popular choices.
• Language Preferences
Which words does your brand like to use? Which are no-nos? For example, you may want to make it known that your brand never uses outdated and potentially offensive terminology like “handicapped”. Note it in your editorial style guide so your whole team is in the loop!
• Editorial Tone Variations
Does your brand have different editorial style and tone preferences for your website vs. other platforms? For example, your brand may want to sound more casual and funny on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, but serious and professional on your website and LinkedIn.
Cost of Website Design in 2023
A small business website costs $5,000 to $10,000 USD in 2023.
Your branding extends far beyond your logo. It can be five to 25 times more expensive to retain an existing customer than to win a new one. So your website must look beautiful, but also function in a way that encourages repeat purchases. That’s why we advise our clients to NEVER hire a freelance website developer!
How much does a small business website cost in 2023? It depends on how many pages and products your website will have and the complexity of your needs. You must ALWAYS weigh the cost of web development with the cost of your time and mental energy. Avoid the BS and find a boutique branding agency that also offers affordable website design and development.
What’s Included With Website Design and Development?
• Custom Code OR a Customized Template
At LoudBird, we love to build WordPress websites for service-based businesses. We prefer Shopify websites for product-based businesses. LoudBird (and many other agencies) rarely recommend custom-coded websites for small businesses because they simply aren’t necessary. And they can be very cost-prohibitive.
Customized, affordable template websites are also much more user-friendly. Our goal for your website build is always to empower your business to make small changes to your website yourself, without needing the help of a developer.
• Website Design and User Experience UX
While you can have any qualified developer build your website, a MAJOR benefit to using the same agency for branding and your website build is that your branding will stay completely cohesive. You’ll get a website that is functional AND beautiful, with an emphasis on user experience.
Web development teams often have no experience with brand strategy, so important branding nuances can get lost in translation. It’s a tale as old as time!
• Search Engine Optimization
No matter how beautiful your small business website is, it needs to be optimized to rank highly in search engine results or it may rarely be seen! A top-notch website build will include technical SEO implementation, where the best keywords are added to the back end of your website.
Search engine optimization includes the addition or update of title tags, meta descriptions, image alt tags, and much more to help you reach customers organically without paying for ads!
• Branded Copywriting for SEO
The copywriting on your website should reflect the mission, vision, and unique values and ethics of your brand. It should be approachable and accessible. But it should also reflect your brand’s SEO keyword strategy!
That’s why agencies like LoudBird that specialize in both small biz branding and small business SEO are the unicorns 🦄 of the marketing world. We give small businesses in saturated industries like nutrition and wellness and baby and children’s products the creative, strategic copywriting they need to make an impact!
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Cost of Packaging Design in 2023
Packaging design costs $1,000 to $6,000 USD in 2023.
Packaging design pricing varies greatly depending on how many products you have and which packaging elements you require for each. But one thing is certain. Great branding must be accompanied by intelligently designed and beautiful packaging for product-based businesses to thrive!
And for many online small businesses and e-commerce brands, packaging design goes far beyond the product. If you’ll be shipping your products to customers, take the opportunity to truly “wow” them with little branded touches, like a signed, branded shipping insert or custom tissue papers. You could even offer branded gift wrap to celebrate the holidays!
What Will I Get For Packaging Design Costs?
• Product Packaging
Custom packaging design services include packaging design concepts, mock-ups, and print-ready files easily handed off to your printer. Whether you’re a sustainable business that wants to design eco-friendly, minimalist packaging or a tech company that needs to protect fragile devices, it pays to thoughtfully design your product packaging!
• Custom Shipping Materials
E-commerce businesses sell mainly online and often want to create a unique, branded unboxing experience for customers to mimic that “in-store” feeling. We’ve had clients customize every detail, from corrugated shipping boxes and envelopes to tissue paper, branded inserts, stickers, and even box tape.
Total Cost of Branding for Small Businesses
Small business branding costs $5,000 to $20,000 USD in 2023.
In case you don’t have a calculator handy, we made this handy-dandy chart to summarize potential small business branding costs. While it’s exciting to invest in every aspect of your branding, you may only need a few of the branding services we’ve mentioned.
To be clear, this doesn’t represent OUR pricing—it’s a representation of the typical fees you’ll see when working with professional graphic design freelancers and branding agencies that serve small businesses.
Small Business Branding Services
Branding Price Range (USD)
Brand Name + Identity
Visual Style Guide
Editorial Style Guide
Average Small Business Branding Cost
Get The Best Small Business Branding For Your Budget
When choosing a professional to craft your branding, the old adage applies: Good/Cheap/Fast — pick two. Here’s our advice on how to choose the best small business branding professional based on your current budget.
$0 to $2,000 Small Business Branding Budget
We recommend DIY branding within this budget. While you can certainly hire a designer from Fiverr or a similar service, we’ve found the quality usually just isn’t there. You’re likely wasting your money.
Instead, try playing around with Canva to design your own logo. Or reach out to your local college to see if they can recommend any talented young design students who might design your logo for cheap—or free!
$2,000-$10,000 Small Business Branding Budget
Your best bet for this budget is to find a boutique branding agency or an experienced freelance brand designer.
If you have $5,000+ to spend on affordable, quality branding you NEED a small business marketing agency like LoudBird that offers a full range of marketing services—not just branding.
When you hire a full-service agency, you’re getting a marketing PARTNER. We’ll help you develop a holistic marketing strategy that goes beyond branding and helps your business grow. Plus, using one agency is much more convenient than coordinating projects with multiple agencies. You already have enough to worry about, so take this opportunity to simplify!
$10,000 to $50,000 Small Business Branding Budget
This is the most comfortable budget to launch or re-launch your small business brand. Within this price range, your small business will have the advantage of strategic business identity, solid brand strategy and messaging, a beautiful logo and brand guidelines, a user-friendly, modern website, and SEO and competitive research.
And guess what? We can help with all of these important marketing strategy elements! Woohoo!
Branding Agency or Freelance Designer? Pros and Cons
For maximum value and timeline flexibility, we OBVIOUSLY suggest choosing a mid-budget but talented small business marketing agency like LoudBird! We specialize in small business branding and websites, so our pricing and timelines are built to deliver top quality at an affordable price and within a reasonable timeline.
Why We Don’t Recommend Freelancers
Freelance graphic designers and freelance website developers are hit or miss. While we will 100% agree that there are some amazingly talented freelancers out there, it’s never possible to be certain of freelancer work quality or work ethic. Even if a designer has an impressive portfolio, your branding may not be their “best work”!
Freelancers also tend to have longer project timelines because they’re a one-person operation. Agencies offer more security, customer service, and convenience.
What about pricing and value? Smaller, boutique agencies like LoudBird can actually offer similar pricing to an experienced freelancer. So why take the risk? We’ve vetted each of our designers—so you don’t have to—and have worked with our talented branding team for over 10 years.
Why We Don’t Recommend Large Agencies
We especially DO NOT advise you to choose an expensive brand agency as a small business. These glitzy agencies often charge what we call a “glitter tax” to put on a fancy show. We obviously have nothing against glitter over here, but your money is better spent on TALENT. Leave the pomp and circumstance for the Amazons and Teslas of the world.
Large agencies, like freelancers, tend to have tediously long project timelines. They often respond slowly to requests because they’re handling many projects at once.
Smaller agencies like LoudBird can offer more individualized customer service and faster timelines because we only accept a set number of clients per quarter. And when you work with us, our CEO and Foundress, Clair, will always be your point of contact. NOT a busy account manager. How refreshing!
How Can My Small Business Get Started with Branding?
The process is different at every agency, but you can check out LoudBird’s process here! To get started with LoudBird ASAP, get your no-pressure, free consultation with our Foundress, Clair! She’ll give you customized advice on how to accomplish your marketing and branding goals.
From there, our woman-led branding team can usually start your branding project within a week or two. Feeling shy? Take some time to learn more about LoudBird or check out our glowing reviews before your consultation.
Editors Note: This post was originally published in 2022 and has been updated by the experts at LoudBird with new small business brand pricing data, images, and tips for 2023.