Tricky question to answer, but there’s an obvious sweet spot between too cheap (there’s heaps of companies who’ve tried to get a cheap logo off a freelancing site, and the design was so bad they may as well have just given their cash away) and ridiculously expensive.
Topping the list of pricey logos is the BP flower, which apparently cost $211,000,000. Also up there is Accenture, who’s $100,000,000 logotype features beautifully-crafted typography but is totally forgettable.
Of Australian brands, the most pricey was ANZ, who paid out a cool $15,000,000 for their stylised lotus (we actually really like the design, but thought it was a man doing star jumps (and if you turn it upside down it looks like a sad panda)). And that makes the mere $625,000 that the City of Melbourne paid for their ‘M’ sound like a real bargain.
Interestingly there are some great stories of companies who’ve scored a great deal for their branding (though spare a thought for the designers who undersold some of the most marketable intellectual property in history). The Coke logo was done for free (by the company’s bookkeeper), as was the Google logo. And the Nike swoosh, a logo so beautifully designed it no longer needs the company name underneath it, cost a mere $35.