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Design Your Own Logo: How to Cost Your Business Money

Design Your Own Logo: How to Cost Your Business Money

At Canny, we offer logo design and branding services to our clients. One thing that we had to battle a lot in the early years of business was fighting to convince people to spend money on a logo for their business. Those days are gone, and we’re now working with clients that understand the value of investing in design. Yet, we felt it was important to go back and examine the logo design discussion.

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One of several scenarios used to unfold whenever we talked to people that were either starting their own business or changing their logo.

This is what they used to say:

  • They were designing their own logo
  • They were using a free online logo design generator
  • A friend of a friend or a family friend was designing their logo
  • They were using a crowdsourcing site such as 99 Designs or similar

These stock answers always stemmed from one thing. They didn’t want to spend the money having a logo designed by a professional.

This approach always results in the same thing – a redesign or rebrand further down the line. This cost their business in more way than one.

Here’s how:

Designing Your Own Logo is A Bad Idea and Can Have a Huge Financial Impact on Your Business

A professional logo design costs money. Sometimes, more money than some people would imagine. But, not as much as designing your own logo and then having to change it in the future.

Picture this:

You start your new business venture. You create a logo and start having it printed on business cards, tshirts, letterheads, shop signs and more. Then you realise that your logo isn’t good enough and designing it yourself was a bad idea. Everything needs to change. The price of changing your business’ collateral could be catastrophic.

You could say “well, we’ll do it little by little” but what sort of message is that putting out there? Half of your collateral feature your old logo and half have your new logo on them. It confuses your customers and clients and dilutes your brand.

On top of that, you’ve got the ongoing cost of lost business.

What do I mean by that?

A lot of people will have walked away from your product, shop or website because of your shoddy artwork and logo design. People love brands. They buy into them. But, they want their brands to look great and provide the best customer experience possible.

Does your logo design look unprofessional and cluttered? If so, the chances are you’ve cost your business money.

Think of the world’s biggest brands:

Coca Cola, Apple, Google, Nike, McDonald’s, Adidas. What do they have in common? A strong and cohesive visual identity, classic and timeless.

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The best example is McDonald’s:

We’ve all indulged in their food. Most people have had a Big Mac or cheeseburger from “The Golden Arches” at one point in their life. McDonald’s food is far from great. It’s greasy, fatty, junk food that doesn’t cost a lot of money.

By using a strong logo design, McDonald’s are recognised the world over. Their logo, cheap junk food and Ronald McDonald work together to form one of the strongest brand identities in the world.

People buy into McDonald’s, the same way they buy into Apple. I’m a self confessed “Apple Fan Boy.” I’m sitting typing this post on my MacBookPro with my iPhone sat to my right and my iPad on the left. I’ve bought into the Apple brand.

It wasn’t their logo that won me over, it was their great products. That said, their products wouldn’t look great without their distinctive logo mark on them. If the products didn’t look good, it would have had an affect on my purchasing decision.

Often, a logo design is the first touch point that a customer has with your company. And you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it count.

There Are People Trained to Design Logos

Believe it or not, just because you know somebody with a copy of Photoshop, it doesn’t mean they can design you a logo. In fact, if they’re designing it in Photoshop, they’re already miles off the mark as it’s the wrong program for logo design.

Owning a copy of Photoshop does not make you a graphic designer.

People train for many years to become professional graphic designers. Just like doctors, builders, engineers, pilots and others, we’re professionals. My training took 3 years at college and 3 more years at University. It’s not an easy qualification to achieve, and it’s a vicious field to work in. Only the best survive.

If you had a problem with your brain, would you trust your friend to perform an operation, just because he had a scalpel and a mask? Absolutely not. If your car broke down, would you ask your cousin to fix it, just because he has a tool box and likes motor racing? No way.

Professional graphic designers undergo a lot of training. We learn how to get to the bottom of a client’s problem, and how to design solutions to fix them. In this case, it really is case of “Trust us, we’re experts.”

The Problem with Online Logo Generators

Maybe you didn’t create your own logo but instead, used an online logo generator such as Spaces or Squarespace Logo. They’re not the solution either.

With online logo generators and logo design makers there are a limited number of solutions.

You get to pick from one or two layouts, eight or so fonts, several icons and that’s about it. While these logos don’t look bad, it’s easy to tell that a logo has been created with an online generator.

As the options are so few, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where you see someone using a logo design like yours.

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Imagine this:

You’re a pet supplier and there’s only one pet related icon to choose from. So, you choose it. It’s a paw print in a circle. Chances are, hundreds of other pet suppliers are using that logo design already. It’s not unique and it’s hardly creative.

What does that say about your business?

That you didn’t want to invest in your brand’s future? You didn’t feel that giving your business a unique and meaningful brand identity was worth it? That you’re cheap? Perhaps.

Any number of things could be perceived from your willingness to use a cheap or free logo design maker.

The Problem with Crowdsourcing Sites (such as 99 Designs)

The problems that come with using a logo generator are consistent with the problems of using a crowdsourcing website.

I explored crowdsourcing websites a few years ago in a post on the Canny blog. The issues from this post still stand.

There are also some issues from a design point of view that make crowdsourcing an unviable option.

You Submit a Brief, People Submit Designs. That’s It.

There is no communication between yourself and the designer. How do they know about your needs and what you’re hoping to get out of the project? They don’t.

The Brief You Submit Isn’t Good Enough

In your life, you may not written many design briefs. When you hold a “competition” on 99 Designs, you submit your brief and you’re off. The chances are, your brief isn’t that good.

You might have written things like:

“I’d like the logo to be purple.” Without any real justification. Just because you like purple, doesn’t mean your logo should be purple. After all, the job of your company logo isn’t to appeal to you, it’s to appeal to your customers.

These People Are Not Professional Designers

With crowdsourcing sites, anybody can enter. This goes back to what we said earlier. Why would you want to use the services of somebody that isn’t a qualified graphic designer?

The thing is, 99 Designs wins over a lot of people, because it’s cheap. But, we all know what happens.

Look at this: The £25 Logo.

For all this wasn’t designed on 99 Designs, the concept remains the same. Buy cheap, buy twice.

Why not engage with a creative design agency from the outset and work together to build a strong brand?

It’s not cheap, but there are many upsides. The level of service and the end result will offset against your initial investment.

How Engaging With a Professional Design Agency Will Benefit You

Engaging with a graphic design agency to design your logo and develop your brand identity will benefit you in many different ways.

By engaging with a design agency, you’re getting expert and professional advice and direction.

The conversations you will have with them will be business driven. This means making decisions that will take you away from superfluous visual choices. You’ll get right to the heart of the matter. As a result, the design direction will be of a much higher quality and will solve the problems that you initially outlined.

When it comes to expanding your brand identity, a design agency will have ideas and advise you of the best route to take them forward.

At Canny, we don’t look at logo design in isolation. We look at brand identity as a package, allowing our clients to walk away with a complete visual framework to build upon.

Design agencies often have a huge network of contacts and clients that you might be able to tap in to.

For example:

If you’ve invented a running shoe and you’re looking for suppliers, they might know several sports shops and stockists that they’ll be able to put you in touch with.

When you work with a design agency, the focus is on developing long term relationships. We want to get to know you and your business. The more we can learn about you, the better and more focused the creative results will be.

At Canny, we’re at a point with several of our clients, where we can just ring them up and pitch them ideas out of the blue. More often than not, these ideas progress and result in more profit/brand awareness for our clients. This is a great point to be at.

When you trust your designers, the sky is the limit.

Why You Need More Than Just a Logo Design

Like I said earlier, at Canny, we look at brand identity as a package.

Here’s why:

A standalone logo design does not offer a lot on it’s own. Yes, you have the base element of a visual identity, but that’s it.

What happens when you need letterheads? You can put the logo on them, sure. But how does the text look? What colour is it? What stock do you have your letterheads printed on? Hundreds of questions can develop from just thinking about one piece of stationery.

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This is why we think about building brand identities as a system. We create, describe and develop a visual system that can be applied to any given brand asset. More often than not, we provide a lot of these options from the outset.

At the end of a project, our clients walk away with a great understanding of their brand’s visual identity. The learn how it can be used across relevant channels. They also walk away with a physical document, a Brand Identity Guideline, that tells them how to use their identity in the future. More often than not though, they come back to us for the work.

A logo design is a starting point, and on it’s own, won’t do much for a brand. But coupled with a strong brand identity project and brand guideline document, your business will be in a great position to move into the future.

Design is an important investment. When you’re creating the look and feel of your business, you’re investing in it’s future. By creating a successful brand identity from the start, you’re already head and shoulders above the competition.

Designing your own logo is not a good idea if you’re serious about your business. Neither is using an online logo generator, logo design maker or crowdsourcing website.

If you want to elevate your brand or business, engage with a graphic design agency from the earliest possible stage.

What do you think? Have you created your own logo design or did you hire a design agency? We’d love to see your logos and hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below.

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