In today’s fast-paced, digital marketing world, it’s no secret that we’re all looking for the next best deal to save us some serious cash. Now, don’t get me wrong: I love a good bargain. However, there are some things you just don’t cheap out on. For instance, you should never skimp on toilet paper, tires, haircuts or sushi (never buy that last one from a gas station).
In all those cases, you get what you pay for — which never ends well when quality is critical. This same logic applies to logo design. If your business’ logo costs less than your lunch, I can guarantee that you won’t be saving any money in the long run. Simply put, you get out what you put in, people!
The Process of Professional Logo Design
Generally speaking, this is what the process of a professional logo designer usually consists of:
The First Meeting:At this initial meeting, the designer will likely give the client a questionnaire to fill out about their business’ brand, goals, history, client base and future ideas/plans. This is basically like an interview with the client in order to flesh out a general idea of what they are looking for, what they are interested in, and what they want to see in their logo design.
Research:This is when the real work starts. In this stage, the designer will conduct research focusing on the client’s business and their industry. The designer will scope out some logos and designs that are already out there for other businesses in the same industry, and will gauge the effectiveness of each one.
Sketching & Conceptualizing:Using everything they have learned from the first two steps, the designer will start to develop logo design concepts in the form of sketches. This lets the designer dig deeper and get out a lot of ideas that anybody could think of first. (Basically, part of this stage allows designers to get all of the boring, commonplace, uninspiring designs out of their system so they can move on to awesome designs). After sketching, the designer moves to the conceptualization part of this process. Here, they take the best ideas from their sketches and start to fully form complete designs to show to the client.
Note: There is a lot of trial and error as well as frustration with this step, and the majority of these sketches should probably never see the light of day. However, this stage is critical because it gives the designer room to play and pushes them to come up with tons of quick ideas that are unique to your business.
Design Presentation:From the created designs, the designer presents a selected few, or a collection of designs, to the client from the whole process. This gives the client an in-depth explanation of the choices they made, including why and how they think the designs will benefit the client’s business. The designer and the client then collaborate on ideas, and any edits they may want to see and work together from there to iron out all of the details.
Edits:If necessary, the designer will do a brief round of edits, or tweaks, to the designs so that the client is getting the best possible logo for their business.
So… do you really think all of that thought and effort should cost only $10.00?
More and more at Lift Division, I see clients who undervalue the importance of logo design. They either (a) don’t have one, or (b) have one so simple that it would never be recognized or remembered and can easily be recreated. People don’t seem to take into consideration how essential a good logo really is and how it can contribute to the success of their business and their profits. They are entrusting their business’ entire look – which should inspire trust, loyalty, recognition and superiority in a potential customer – to someone spending little time and thought on the project. You wouldn’t hire a dentist to work on your car, would you? So why hire someone who isn’t a professional to work on your business' image?
Cheap Logo Websites
“But Melissa,” you might say, “why would I pay a professional when I can just upload a design brief into www.Cheap-Logos-By-People-Who-Probably-Arent-Designers.com?!"
"That way, I can get a lot of logo designs from different people I’ve never met and who know nothing about my business and I only have to pay for the one logo I happen to like. I save money and I get a lot of options!”
There are a ton of websites that hold contests like this, or that otherwise offer cheap routes you can take with ‘on-the-side’ designers trying to make a few extra bucks, whipping out mediocre logos left and right. But what kind of quality will you get from that? The problem that comes from entering these contests and/or working with cheap non-professionals is that you receive submissions for your logo that “designers” have ripped off or copied from others. They may want to make some quick cash, but why spend time on something when the client may not pay you for your work?
This is why so many copied logos and sad, unimaginative clip art designs make their way into those logo submissions. You need a designer that is going to spend time on your logo. They should value your business as much as you do, and they should build a client-designer relationship. With little or no one-on-one interaction, you as the business owner may remain uninformed and unaware of the technical and visual issues with the designs you are viewing and choosing from. The bottom line is, you may pick a crap logo that does nothing for your business without even knowing it. With logos, you aren’t just paying for a pretty picture. A lot of people can make pretty pictures. Design is about problem solving, and making your business look good is just part of the process.
What You Can Expect From a Cheap Logo
Here is a recent brief submission for a logo design for Jet Branding, LLC and a few of the logos submitted:
- Name: Jet Branding, LLC
- What we do: Oilfield welding in drill pipe
- Industry: Natural Resources
- Logo styles Interested in: Symbol (like Pepsi logo), Corporate (like Citi logo)
- Color Preference: Green, Blue, Orange
- Ideas & Concepts: Simple
(Photo credit: http://www.48hourslogo.com/project.php?id=35213)
First and foremost, even some of the best designers would have trouble creating a logo for your company that totally encompasses who you are, what you do and your target audience with a weak brief like that.
Simply stated, we need more info; a background, who you are, who your company is catering to, why you are looking for a design/redesign. These are all critical for a designer to adequately understand what your logo should look like.
Next, there is no real uniqueness to submitted designs. Almost all of them use simple, standard-issue fonts that are found on most computers or are easily downloaded for free, and don’t assign to the rules of what makes a good logo just that — good (i.e. memorable, timeless, versatile, original, etc.).
These are the standard questions you should ask yourself regarding logo design:
Is it memorable?
How many of the logos can you describe or remember without looking back at them?
Is it effective without color?
Will any of these have the same effect or even the same design if transferred to black and white?
Is it scalable?
If you put any of these on letterhead or business cards, are they still readable (both the text and design)?
Does it gain immediate recognition?
Will your clients be able to recognize you as a company if they see any of these logos for a second time?
Does it convey the company’s personality, character or attitude?
Did you chose the right colors and overall stylization?
Does it relate to your clients by conveying a feeling of familiarity and credibility?
Who is your target audience and what will they see when looking at it?
You don’t want a logo that any Joe Shmoe business could have — you want something that is original and unique to what you do. Professional designers don’t provide their clients with a logo based purely on attractiveness, or one that took a half hour to create. They delve into your business strategy, your company mission, your background, your way of dealing with clients and potential customers, as well as many other aspects about your brand in order to create something that is right for you. Ultimately, this earns you a timeless identity that doesn’t need to be redesigned as soon as the latest trend has passed.
So while it may seem like a great idea to hire your brother’s girlfriend’s sister’s friend to create your logo because they have taken a design class, at the end of the day, the smartest decision is a simple one: Hire a professional. After all, you’re investing in the ultimate visual image of your business — not your lunch order.