Your business logo is the centerpiece of your brand and the most recognizable feature of your business. And, while I know you understand this conceptually, I am continually amazed at how lightly business owners take the creation of their logo. To help you make the most of your brand, I’m going to share the top five mistakes business owners make when they go about creating their logo. By avoiding these pitfalls, you’ll create a logo that accurately represents you, your brand, and your business identity. Done right, your logo will pay you back many times your investment.
Let’s answer a basic question first: what is a logo?
A logo is a visual representation of your brand and company values. It should convey your business principles, the value you bring to your customers, and the knowledge of your trade. When people see your logo, they should be reminded of your reputation, experience, and skill. Your logo should visually capture the essence of you and your business. After all, this is why people do business with you. Creating a logo is a delicate process. Because this process can be challenging, business owners sometimes make mistakes that harm them in the long run. Don’t fall into the following traps:
Mistake #1: You created your own logo.
If you wanted to, you could easily design a logo on your personal computer without assistance (most come equipped with basic design-capable software). Here’s the thing: just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Even if you have “official” design applications like Photoshop or DreamWeaver, you should hire a professional designer to create your logo. As business owners, we wear a lot of hats. And, while we need to keep tabs on everything we can’t DO everything and maintain a high level of professionalism and quality. Some things are better left to professionals (you can probably cut your own hair, but I bet it turns out better when you visit a stylist). A professional designer has a few things you don’t:
- Education and experience in graphic design (technical know-how)
- A third party perspective that ensures your logo speaks to your intended audience
- Time to research, brainstorm, and strategize
Combined, these skills will be used to create a one-of-a-kind, accurate, and effective logo.
Mistake #2: You used clip art or stock images.
Clip art is available on every computer sold. Everyday, thousands of people download these images for school projects and neighborhood fliers. If you use clip art trying to cut costs, it will cost you: not only are you devaluing your own company because so many people are using your logo, but you’re creating a bad impression. Nothing says “generic” and “unprofessional” like a clip art logo. Your logo is one of the first impressions potential customers will have of you. You want your logo to represent the quality and value you provide to your clients. If you want prospects to remember you, you want your logo to be as unique as you are.
Mistake #3: You used a website like elance.com or Googled “logo design.”
Online, you can easily find companies or designers who will develop a logo for you at bargain-basement prices. At first, it seems like you’re getting a great deal: you’re getting a “professionally designed” logo at a fraction of the normal cost. Before you commit to an online design company, ask yourself why you’re getting such a great deal. There’s a reason these designers are charging such low prices: they’re skimming on the research and brainstorming that’s involved with creating a personalized logo. Most of these companies recycle images and logos from the past. You’re getting a generic solution to your specific design challenges. This is a situation where you get what you pay for: don’t be perceived as common. Invest in a designer that will spend time getting to know you and your business challenges. You’ll be pleased with the results.
Mistake #4: You held a design competition or asked designers to work on “spec.”
At first, holding a design competition sounds like fun: you can compare the work of several graphic designers at once. Although this seems like a light-hearted and efficient way to get a logo designed, it’s one of the worst approaches. Designers who are apt to enter a “logo design contest” are probably not the designers you want creating your logo. Most likely, they lack the experience necessary to go after paid work. Tying in with the design competition idea is asking designers to compete for a job on “spec.” Spec, or speculation jobs, are when designers are asked to do work for free or to work for only the possibility of being paid (if their design is chosen). Again, as with the competition, designers willing to spend their time on the possibility, rather than the certainty, of getting paid are probably not the designers you want creating your image.
Mistake #5: You didn’t get feedback from friends or colleagues before you printed.
Sure, this seems like a no-brainer: ask for input from other people before you print your new logo. But, many business owners move forward and print without this crucial step. You might think your design looks pretty. However, the only thing that matters is how your logo’s perceived: does it communicate the values of your business accurately? does it reflect your company culture? does it make people respond? If it doesn’t do these things, your logo will fail.Save yourself time and money: get other people’s opinions before you implement your logo. You’ll get a good idea if your market will respond in a positive way. If the feedback is poor, you still have time to adjust and make your logo right.
How much will a good logo cost?
If you want your logo to work for you and help grow your business by making a positive impression, contact a professional designer. A professional designer will explore your business challenges, your goals, and your target audience. Together, you’ll create a logo that accurately represents your business and makes an impact on potential clients. And, while I know you want definite answers as to how much this process and logo will cost you, it’s hard to say. Each project and business is different. However, a professional designer will always tailor their services to meet your specific needs. Remember, your business logo is the centerpiece of your brand and the most recognizable feature of your business. When your logo is done right, it will help you grow your business and pay you back many times your investment.