Infographic: The Cost Of A Famous Logo? From $0 To $211 Million

How much do you think BP spent on its latest rebranding? You probably don’t want to know.

Google spent nothing—Sergey Brin just opened up the free graphics app Gimp. Same with Coca-Cola—though John Pemberton’s bookkeeper drew the logo’s Spencerian script by hand. Nike famously gave just $35 to a design student. Which used to be an impressively thrifty figure, until Twitter picked up their ubiquitous bird for a mere $15 on iStockPhoto.

These, obviously, represent the low-end of what some of the world’s biggest companies have spent on their branding. The figures are from a list recently assembled by Stocklogos and Business Insider, which Trendland turned into a series of infographics. And if you think a company that spends nothing on their logo is a bit nauseating, wait until you see the opposite end of the spectrum.

Pepsi spent $1 million on their Obama-esque rebranding a few years back, and the BBC spent almost double that on a logo that basically just untoggled the italics button. But that’s nothing compared to the $221 million BP paid to make their oil company look like a new-age organic grocer—though maybe it was one of the few cases where we can all agree it was worth every penny. (It’s not clear from the stats here whether that $221 million was just for design services, or for the rebranding campaign, in which case $221 million is probably low.)

Alongside the more extreme spends, the $100,000 a close-to-bankrupt Steve Jobs paid Paul Rand for his profitless startup NeXT seems pretty close to market value.

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43 Comments

  • Grit Hartung

    Very misinforming. No idea how this happened but I'm surprised it is published as is. Could you do a well informed re-edit please?

  • Sklee

    This is an ignorant article that paints a caricature of what is actually involved in a professional branding process. 

    Come on, you're talking to an educated audience. I expected a higher standard of journalism. Utter trash.

  • John Coonen - #CMSX

    Mark, you must've been on-deadline with this piece, or a little stoned.

  • Cary Whitt

    Poor article at best.

    Failed to mention Phil Knight gave Davidson over a million in stock later on for the "swoosh".

  • Kim

    Vectorpile, Coca-Cola's main identity might be the same, but make no mistake, they have spent billions over the course of their history on branding, rebranding and marketing. Much higher sums than what BP or any other company on this list has spent or will ever spend.

    Coca-Cola have comissioned hundreds of different packaging designs in a hundred regional versions, and have done so every year for half a century. They have spent billions on product placement in Hollywood movies alone, had more merch designed than probably any other company in history and produced days and days on end of live-action advertising, motion graphics and original music. 

    Every time there is a major sporting event, say the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup, Coca Cola spends hundreds of millions to get the rights, then hundreds of millions in production of signage, uniforms and merchendize, and finally hundreds of millions to physically place their logo where it recieves maximum exposure. That happens every other year. 

    Under the ridiculous "criteria" of certain entries in this "article", those sums should all have to be taken into account, because the sums listed for BP sure as hell isn't for the logo itself.Designwork for Coca-Cola wins major awards every year, for good reason, because they know its value and invest heavily in getting the best of the best from every creative field to build, as well as maintain, their brand.

  • Topvectors

    In case of Coca Cola it was money well spent. Going for 130 years without a redesign speaks volumes of the quality.

  • Kim

    There is no way that the larger figures do not include the cost of implementing the new identity, i.e. the manufacture and replacement of thousands of signs, uniforms, repainting trucks, cars, etc. across dozens of countries. If the writer is ignorant enough to not understand such an obvious aspect of the branding process, he might consider changing careers and stop talking out of his ass.

    Horrible article, both offensive and blaringly ignorant.

  • Nick Sparagis

    I picked a few things out of the article that I liked.  To be fair, it should be more about what companies spend on branding.  Or just talk about the inexpensive logos that are out there.  We can all agree that it's tough to put a price on creativity.

  • Annyo

    This could have been a series article. First discussion could have been on the inexpensive logos and the second could move into those same corporations and their current branding dollar figures allowing the second article to build upon the first to a interesting and valuable conclusion.

  • Artdrectr

    Who's the intended audience for this misinformation? 
    Can't be designers or non-designers, so that's...no one.Even the headline has a typo!
    Awful. 

  • Joe Griffiths

    I once met Richard Reid (one of the CEO's of Innocent Smoothies) and their logo was drawn on a napkin sat outside of a pub.

  • Dan Dimmock

    Quite frankly, this 'so-called' piece of insight is both immature and professionally offensive.

  • jonsenc

    you know, i thought co.design was a site for the people in/related to the design industrial, but this post, full of misinformation, is either trolling us, or is written for the general public in a propaganda-ish way.  

    Mark, your audience here knows the diff between logo and branding pricing. This post was not necessary unless you want more enraged page-clicks. 

  • Jonathan McArthur

    Here's a curiously-similar article from 2010: http://www.logoblog.org/wordpr...
    And here's a Wired piece linked in the comments of that article: http://www.wired.com/business/... Wired piece is about Twitter's use of stock art. It shows the modified version Twitter used, and links to the iStockphoto original: http://www.istockphoto.com/sto... something? Yeah. It's not the old Twitter logo at all. It's a long-gone illustration of a bird, from when Twitter was still using its old rounded logotype. 

  • Rshart

    Wow- The comments speak volumes! 
    Sometimes a 1000 words paint a picture.Not a very pretty one in this case :-) 

  • Michael Aldridge

    haha, very well said. I am surprised FastCoDesign haven't re-evaluated this article yet. Utter nonsense!

  • Cubs

    Learn the different between a logo and brand development then rewrite this article. Such crap. 

  • Tim Anderson

    I am not entirely certain what is worse. The original poorly designed so-called "infographic" or Mr. Wilson's lack of critique and passing this on as information.

    I pay for a subscription to Fast Company and I expect a sense of journalism, even on the website. This is more along the lines of sophomoric blogging.