Times are tough. Thats a fact, and we've all got to save money somewhere. Unfortunately, whether buying the cheapest orange at the grocery store or buying the cheapest design work you can find, you can be certain that you probably won't like what you get.
Think about it. If someone is selling you a logo design for $35, which is far less than most professionals hourly rate, what are you actually getting? The math just doesn't make sense. For that designer to make any sort of livable income, they'll have to put out a large number of those logos on a daily basis. How much attention are they giving your project? Consider it the fast food of the design industry. Will you get your design finished quickly? Sure! But, is it really a value? Probably not. The low price point may make you salivate with excitement, but its probably doing more harm than good. First impressions are important.
Good design takes time and will be priced accordingly. Granted, not everyone can afford to hire a professional, but that doesn't mean that your image should suffer.
While good work is worth compensating for, 'compensation' doesn't always equate to money. If you can't afford to pay a few hundred dollars, most folks wouldn't be insulted being offered trade of some sort in exchange for the services. That is, as long as the trade matches or exceeds the value of the normal rate.
While designers still need money to pay bills, there is always a fair amount of equity in offering someone a handful of free meals. Designers need to eat too. They also need beer, and they need vacations and they need new shoes. Don't be afraid to get creative. Almost any kind of business will have something that a designer pays for anyway, so if a mutual agreement is achievable, surely that is a better option than paying for the lackluster skills of an amateur.
But again, designers often have a lot of bills, so tossing a few bucks in to sweeten the deal is probably the best direction towards a long, fruitful relationship. And of course, if a designer usually has a pretty heavy workload, that means that they've got enough money to buy their own food, so they're probably don't need to strike a deal. Odds are, Milton Glaser didn't design the Brooklyn Brewery logo just to satisfy a drinking habit. The guy can afford to live in New York City, after all.
I suppose the point of this post is simply to say: "No, I won't work for $35. But, there's always the chance I'll work for a lifetime supply of cheese pizza."
And no, before you ask, "potential exposure" has no value here.