You know how when someone hands you their card and their logo looks like they threw it together in Word? Or they paid their nephew a tenner because he’s ok at drawing.
You wonder how they can allow their business to represented so poorly and so carelessly. Considering that every bit of collateral has that logo on it, this negative impression is being given again and again. Every time they send out a leaflet, somebody visits their website, even on invoices.
Careless Design is Killing Your Credibility
Most people will come into contact with your brand image before you get the chance to tell them how great you are. If you want potential customers to feel positive about your business, effective branding design is crucial. The logo should be a foundation. A stamp to represent your brand image and identity, that has been created with craft, thought and personality – not just quickly and effortlessly knocked together.
Why Hire a Professional Graphic Designer?
An experienced designer will build up a relationship with you and your business, getting to know what you are really about. Before putting pencil to paper, a proficient designer will take you through their logo design process, during which they will analyse competitors, your market, your customers and your brand position.
They will work with you throughout, keeping you updated and involved. Design decisions on form, function, colour and composition should be explained in a rational manner. Through a process of brainstorming and sketching, they will avoid obvious clichés or conventions that inevitably come from taking the easy road of using clip art or hackneyed stock images.
This process will result in a logo that is unique and memorable, with quirks of style recognisable as the heart of your brand image. Other elements of your identity, such as the use of typography, images, colour and layout, can be built on this foundation.
Isn’t it Expensive?
The budget you allocate to design should be considered as direct investment in your own business. When you are looking to hire a designer, consider their experience and level of expertise – Would you appoint the cheapest accountant, consultant or supplier, regardless of quality?
Take into account the competitive advantage that a unique and effectively designed brand image will give you. Setting a realistic budget is essential to hiring a designer with the balance of talent and knowledge that can create to this standard.
Remember design is a service, not a product. When you hire an experienced graphic designer you are investing in the time they will spend producing high quality work that will add value to your business. The cost of the service will depend on their experience, proficiency and the requirements of your brand identity.
Most graphic designers and design agencies will ask for an overview of your business, your customers and your requirements. After this they should be able to give either a price upfront or a price band that your project fits into.
Doing it on the Cheap
If you bought a bag of 100 value sausages, what you would expect the meat quality to be like?
Using cheap or free clipart is one option some businesses opt for. This is not design at all, as there is no real planning or design process involved and the resulting logo is symbol that will have been used countless by other like minded companies. (As an aside, there is also extra caution needed when using clipart as a logo, as it usually violates the creators copyright terms – read the small print!)
There are also many cheap logo design websites offering extremely cheap logos or crowdsourcing sites where you are sent a multitude of logos for a small fee. These are again ineffective as the proficiency of the graphic designer is inevitably reflected in the price. Only a sub-par or inexperienced designer would or could work for these amounts.
Could you imagine Nike or Virgin crowdsourcing it’s new logo. It wouldn’t happen because the best brands realise that excellence in creativity and does not come from mass production and boundless options, but by clear focus, strategy and fine tuning to get to the right message.
Logo Design References
Here are some excellent articles on logo and branding design. Feel free to suggest any I may have missed.
…and here’s a great video about the art of logo design by Off Book – PBS