Kevin Ohashi: How to Get a Logo for $30

Kevin Ohashi is a domain investor and founder of the startup, Review Signal. If you didn’t read the TechCrunch article about Kevin’s company, the brief description is that it has collected over 100,000 “social media testimonials” to offer visitors more accurate web hosting reviews.

Review Signal is the perfect name for the service, and instead of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the perfect corporate logo, Kevin spent just $30 to get it done. Kevin retained the services of 6 designers at $5.00 each using Fiverr.

On his blog, Kevin shared the story about how he had the logo created for $30, and the article has received some negative buzz in the design community. Despite the criticism, I think the article shows that there may be ways for domain investors and others to have logos created without breaking the bank.

Of course, you could also go the traditional route and hire a logo design company like or a graphic designer like Theo Develegas to have your logo created.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. reminds me of the big “N” … when NBC paid $750,000 for their new logo years back. turned out to be exactly the same as the logo for nebraska public television. they got it from a guy that worked for them in the art department for free. but when pressed he said he spent a bunch of time on it plus materials and it probably cost at least $60. anyway… the big “N” is gone now… just a million dollars down the drain.

    • @ACRO

      ohh now i see, because you offer the same designing services, and YOU do not want to compete with others.

      Why do you always keep coming so OFFENSIVE when you see there is someone in domaining community MENTIONS about the alternatives CHEAP AND good company.

      And you Call them CLIPART plus Text Glue whatever.

      YOU are not always Right, Like elliot said, if the customer is satisfied, does not matter they use clip art, or even a fudging paintbrush.

      DO THEY REALLY HAVE TO LOGO MADE BY YOU??? and then it will be a logo right???

      LMAO , on this topic my opinion is with ELLIOT, that customer satisfaction is all it matters!! SIR!!

    • Elliot – The problem isn’t whether Kohashi is happy with the results or not. It’s that he strongly recommends this type of approach to others. As with every industry, education is the key.

  2. Mike – If you want to spend $5 on two layers of text and clipart and call it a logo, you are entitled to your own little fantasy. And by the way, my views are that of a qualified professional. The difference being, that no professional works for silly $5 projects.

    • If people try it and they don’t like what they get, it’s not a big investment of time or money. Some people would rather focus on other things, while others really want their logo to look expert.

    • @Acro- Listen man or woman, whoever you are!

      Everyone is looking for jobs, there are not enough jobs avaliable offline, everyone have bachelors degree, and lot of those are well educated and well skilled people.

      They just want to work, they will do whatever it takes to stay feed their needs. They are not going to sit around and argue and blah blah, they going to take and jump on every opporunity they going to get.

      So in this economy and where people are trying to make money , spending less and lot of people are avalible for that type of job, its going to be cheap.

      Its win-win, buyer gets better logo for cheap, and seller get more jobs and referrals.

      Trust me, there may be only few programmers, but there are many many graphic designers.

      I personally paid alot less for web graphics than you may offer as low as 30 usd for the whole site.

      Also compare that economy downturn to other skilled people from the other countries, who are even willing to work for even lesser.

      So ACRO, I would recommend not to whine, look from the different view as well.

      @Elliot- You are absolutely correct, because, people may want to spend more on development site and business plan rather than logo. I know some people worry too much about getting a Logo and pay alot more and never get the business plan worked out and basically shut down their sites.

      So elliot you are right again.

      @ACRO, you are wrong, and try to look at things with different view, dont be too offensive!

    • What a long tirade from a troll that has no link to anything. Please, don’t dare share your silly words with professionals of any kind. Ignorance is entertaining among those that want to remain ignorant.

    • @ACRO

      look, I dont need to dare and fudge about anything. I said something its my opinion, and I am entitled to it.

      Let me rephrase your words, even though you are way older , but you are not only just ignorant, but also Act like a kid.

      I am not here to man you up or tell you about do or dare, Its issue Elliot brought up in the post, and And you are not willing to accept the facts because its hurting your business, then be so it, it really does not matter to me, because in no way I am going to hire you, just because you charge more and make it sound so good.

      But I still agree with Elliot that there are many many good alternatives available and they are way cheap.

    • Looks like the weekend didn’t let the trolls eat some humble pie.

      “Mike” – You just said you spent $5 per logo and even $30 for entire web sites. Do you really think that I would be interested in high school beer money? Maybe if I were in Pakistan or the Philippines, where you’re from apparently.

      And that’s fine, if you can’t afford to solicit quality work, who the hell are you, an anonymous troll, to tell the rest that this is what they should do?

  3. I see you have a link to but why in the world would the logo on their own site not have the E. It just says, what a way for customers to remember someone else’s name. Bad Move! goes to another site.

    • How the hell is that trolling? I am not even trying to be a jerk. You simply have you panties in a wad over someone not paying a designer hundreds of dollars for a logo, you say the logo is worth little because it is clip art and text but the very logo on your personal website is also clip art and text.

      That is not trolling Acro.

    • A gret logo delivers its message with as few elements as possible. Often, it’s not a literal representation of the brand; it can be abstract but subliminally on-point.

      Its colors are based on a study of its intended market. A logo stands alone as a brand reminder, not as a brand substitute.

      Regarding typography, textual elements are often created by “inventing” or adapting the fonts involved.

      Most importantly, creating a logo is an interactive process that involves feedback from the client, who should be open-minded and receptive; after all, the expert professional is the designer.

  4. Totally agree with Acro 100%.

    A piece of clip art and a “hacky” font do not make a logo.

    A designer and informed businesses realize that a logo confirms a brand in an instant.

    A designer puts a great deal of thought into how a logo will be remembered, how it is read and what feelings it conveys.

    An artist or designer thinks about boldness, subtle lines, shadows, direction, movement, action, comfort, colors and a hundred other elements.

    You may not think of these details but a designer does and the bottom line is that a successful logo will leave an impression and probably affect the bottom line.

    • Mark – Great introduction to what constitutes a healthy approach to delivering a brand to customers that have an understanding of what a “logo” is.

  5. It is a miracle that an amazing logo came out of submissions of the calibur they were! The final version is truly professional-looking. I liked the idea behind a couple of the other submissions. If I were Kevin Ohashi, I would align myself with that artist! That is what I did with my artist. She is a partner. Taste is subjective, but if one appreciates the work of an artist, it is a good collaboration. I gifted my artist online graphic art classes early on, realizing her potential.

    People should reward the artist, because it’s a huge psychological impression which the success of a site hinges on! Look at Facebook! Really, the minimalist lines and design of the interface is reason for its success, IMO.

    Plus I like Tia Wood alot. @ Acro, I didn’t know you create logos. Do you have a portfolio page you could link to here? I’d like to see!!! πŸ˜€

  6. I know you guys are going to make me regret ever opening my yap, but I’m going to anyway…

    First, I think that saying that “the article has received some negative buzz in the design community” is a bit of a stretch — the people commenting on this blog and on Kevin’s blog are hardly ‘the design community.’

    This topic has been discussed in the ‘real’ design community for a long time, and particularly over the last 10 years with the increasing ease, low cost and rapid turn-around with which you can buy ‘design’ work.

    It all comes down to your perception of the value that real design work contributes. It all comes down to your perception of whether design and its impact on a product can be objectively measured.

    Are trained, experienced, professional designers overpaid? Maybe. But, just as with domain names, the market sets their prices. They are able to command those prices because there is evidence of their value, whether one is able to detect the nuance of what they do vs what these Fiverr ‘designers’ are doing or not.

    I’m not going to talk about Apple, other than to suggest that you’ve already heard (and already believe) plenty about the success of design.

    This is of course my opinion, but I think that any given domainer owns A LOT of domain names and has A LOT of good ideas about how he’d like to develop those domains. It takes A LOT of resources (time/money/talent/etc) to develop just one, much less all of them, and he’s got to start somewhere. He’s got to make some choices about where to cut corners; and when he does, he’s got to be able to justify those choices to himself. Design is an easy thing to mistake as a subjective discipline, and an easy place for us to convince ourselves that we are qualified to make informed decisions.

    I’m not going to be able to avoid it, but please understand that I’m not trying to be insulting when I say that most websites run by domainers are horrendous. I believe it’s because of this over-ambitiousness.

    Is Kevin’s logo good or bad? I think that it’s fine for what it is. But it also communicates what it is — it’s unambitious, quick, cheap, etc. That’s okay, but that’s the impression of the site/product as a whole that I am left with on visual inspection. The systems themselves are now left with the task of overcoming my ho-hum reaction…that is, if I am even willing to give them my time to try.

    Just understand that other people see this also, and whether they can articulate the nuances of the problems with the design or not, it is something they feel, and that translates to levels of credibility, trust, competence, professionalism, etc.

    If you decide to pay $30 for a 3-day logo, that’s totally okay. But realize that doing this is placing cost at a much higher priority than the value created by the work, and at a higher priority than the perception of others. I’d question why you’d spend any money on it at all — to me, yo might as well flush it down the toilet.

    My grampa always told me that a job worth doing is worth doing well. In my opinion, this seriously violates Grampa’s principle.

    A couple fun videos on the value of design for those who haven’t seen them:

    • I suppose it is time for me to jump in.

      First, thank you for the long and thoughtful post. I think you explain thought process very clearly and I respect that.

      That said, I want to clarify a few things and share my own thoughts.

      Until yesterday, nobody gave 1 single thought to my logo besides me (and the people who gave me feedback before launch). If I had not written that article, that number would still be one person who thought about the logo.

      When I launched, I got a decent number of comments, emails and even phone calls. People had a lot of complaints about my site. Not one of them mentioned the logo. Even the people who had feedback about the design.

      I will be the first to admit it’s an unremarkable logo. The story behind it apparently was remarkable enough to attract thousands of people to read about it and hundreds to write something about it. I would rather have the logo everyone makes fun of than the logo nobody ever saw.

      I’ve had a lot of people preach about how important the logo was and it would break people’s impression of my startup. My analytics tell me people don’t seem to care much. My engagement numbers are fantastic (bounce rate around 7%, 2 minutes+ average time on site, 20%+ conversion).

      Could it be better? Sure! Is my logo ruining my brand? Hell no.

      People bring up the Apple example, I point to the Craigslist example. The ugliest site on the internet that pulls in 100 million dollars without trying. Design is one component of a dynamic and complex formula of creating a business.

      As far as your grandpa’s advice, it’s a nice sounding quote, but it’s hollow in meaning. In reality, we are constantly cutting corners in an effort to maximize output given some constraints. If I focused entirely on presentation then there would be no substance. I found a balance that I was comfortable with.

      What I did was share an interesting experiment that could save people money and time. I shared all the logos that were created so people can make their own decisions about the quality and type of logos received. For many startups and small businesses, that quality may be acceptable given their current constraints. If that helps them achieve what they want quicker and cheaper, that makes me happy and I have helped someone.

    • @Kevin

      Sure, I agree — this approach totally saves time and money. I agree with all your points, actually. And I don’t think you’ll find any hint in my statement that I believe your logo is ruining your brand — I don’t.

      I want to make it clear that I’m not commenting on your logo. I said it was fine, and I’m being sincere in saying that. If this had been a thread about “I love the logo” vs “I hate the logo”, I would have moved on quickly — that’s a pointless conversation.

      Of course, the thread does sink to that level at some points, but the larger theme I take away is about the value of design vs cost; the subtleties of craftsmanship that an accomplished designer brings vs a guy who has Photoshop on his machine and is willing to do this kind of project for $5; and the unspoken messages a user takes away from that.

      Can you do well with what you’ve got? Absolutely, there are products all over (your CraigsList citation being one) that are well conceived, fit into a market gap and execute well.

      My argument is that to dismiss design as a way of seriously improving that execution is — hmmm…don’t quite know what word to use here and still be sensitive (?)…maybe naive,…maybe dismissive,…maybe just a bit blinded by the EXPLICIT bottom line.

      My argument is that, no matter how hard some of these people argue that they get the same thing from a designer as they do from a ‘Fiverrer’, that’s just a ridiculous statement.

      My argument is that it’s a tradeoff — you get low cost or you get quality, but you really can’t get both. Trying to sell people on the idea that you can get both is incorrect, no matter how much you like your logo.

      Beyond that, I think all there is is huff and puff. You can make the choice to prioritize cost, and that’s fine. But I know that I could improve your bottom line dramatically…but it’s gonna’ cost you a lot more than $30…

      Thanks for the reply, Kevin! And good luck with the site — it looks like it’s got some neat features!

    • Kevin – Fantastic job. I appreciate the effort that you put in. It’s not only work to accomplish what you did but also to share the process. Bravo!

      A logo must be an art form because there are so many other artists who will speak poorly of the creation.

      What?? No swoosh?

    • @ Kevin Ohashi said:

      I will be the first to admit it’s an unremarkable logo.

      I beg to differ. It’s a great logo! That is why your story is newsworthy, because you acquired a great logo at a cheap price. If I were you, I’d hang on the artist, and sponsor him.

  7. Saying that you can get a cheap logo is a bit like saying hand reg a domain instead of buying it in the aftermarket.

    There are consumers at both price points, effectiveness is dependent on the function.

    Most clients who can afford a pro logo aren’t really looking for someone to ‘do as I say’, they’re looking for someone who can tell them what they need, why they need it and how it will enhance their marketing.

    Can you make logos cheap? Absolutely, there are 100s of sites where you can DIY, why even pay $5?

    Are these cheap logos effective in getting them the extra edge in brand recognition and lowering their marketing costs by increasing recall? Mostly the answer is a resounding no.

  8. Samit – At the end of the day, one can also do their own plumbing and pilot their own plane. But first, they need to become certified, or they won’t be able to sell those services to others.


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