The fundamental message of this post is: HIRE A PROFESSIONAL. If you read no further, you’ve gotten the message.
But you might be thinking, “Gosh, how do I go about that?” Well, you’ve already done some good preparation:
You’ve thought about who and what your business is, who your customers and competition are, and why your customers choose you.
You’ve chosen a name that represents your business, will hold up over time, and meets the basic requirements of being easy to say and spell.
Now you need to decide: What is going to visually and graphically represent your business?
Finally, once you have a good logo what do you do with it?
It is time to hire a creative professional. The fact is, a logo is much more than a logo. It is part of your comprehensive and cohesive branding strategy. It is a piece of art work you want to live with for a very long time.
Before you navigate away to Ixquick “How to Design a Logo” let’s pause here and give the cheapskates and the do-it-yourselfers some guidance:
Cheapskates: We once knew a person that would never invest money in anything of any substance or quality. While there are many examples of this person’s penurious behavior, the shower heads example fits well for this situation. Because this person would not invest money in a quality shower head for his bathroom remodel, in the space of two years, he had purchased NINE DIFFERENT SHOWER HEADS. It wasn’t that he couldn’t decide; he just wouldn’t spend the money and shower head after shower head broke or had a fundamental flaw, such as, no water, or it would only spray toward the ceiling, or every time you turned it on the head fell off, or the jets were so strong you couldn’t face forward. From this example you should make the connection that it is better to invest money to design a good quality logo than to be a cheapskate. Being a cheapskate will only get you NINE DIFFERENT SHOWER HEADS!
Do-it-yourselfers: Envision botox. The lovely little Botulism bugs shot into your forehead so you can look like Snow White. Perhaps it would be cheaper to buy this wonder mixture on the black market and inject it into your forehead yourself. BUT, do you really want to stick a needle in your own forehead? Everytime you think about designing your own logo, think about sticking a needle in your forehead and injecting tiny little black market Botulism: repeatedly.
The fact is, there are many talented professionals—CREATIVES—who will produce high quality work for small businesses that have limited budgets. If you hire a freelance or solo creative to design your logo you will likely need to invest between $1500-$5000. If you hire an agency, the average starting cost (in the midwest) will be about $6000.
Chris Parks Design has this advice when hiring a creative to design your logo:
It’s not just a logo
There are many elements that go into your logo. It’s not just the image or wordmark. Your logo is also where you put it and how you use it: website, mobile, social media, signage, business cards, vehicle graphics, stationery, t-shirts, banners, etc. Your creative will help you see how your logo will look in all these places and how best to place and use it.
Your logo will come with a whole host of standards: colors, sizes, proper use, typography/typeface/font, photo styles/assets, illustration style, samples of what it will look like applied to real world stuff, like a vehicle or letterhead. Your creative will give you a style guide which will help you remember everything because going forward it will be up to you to stick to the standards. The style guide deliverable will have pages that look like this.
Your logo does the talking for your business when you can’t but it is just one part of your brand. Your brand is the promise you deliver to your customers and you express that promise in a variety of ways including your business name, your logo, interior and exterior of your store, customer service and so on. Your creative will help you ensure all these elements are cohesive. You want your overall branding strategy to have continuity.
Keep an open mind
The person you engage is not supposed to design a logo “you like.” A professional will design a logo for your customers or audience. He or she will design a logo that represents your business.
Be prepared for the process to begin with a fairly lengthy interview process. If you are knowledgeable about your customers, your business, the marketplace, and competitors this will help your creative in the design process.
Your logo will be one part of your overall brand and the logo design may not, in the end, look like what you first imagined. The important question to ask yourself is this: does this logo represent the promise I am delivering to my customers?
Hiring a freelance creative is a business transaction
When McDonalds or Target or Lowes changes their creative agency it makes the news because it is big news. Your brand should remain consistent year after year after year. Working with the same creative professional or agency helps keep that continuity not just acoss your brand elements but over the years.
With that in mind, take the time to find the right creative for your company. Chris recommends two websites to search when looking for a freelance creative: Dribble and Behance. Also, there are solo creatives in every town and college and art-school students are often looking for work to add to their portfolio.
You should negotiate terms with your creative and put everything in writing. A detailed scope of work with milestones and deliverables will help keep you and your creative on track. When you are comfortable with the person, the scope of work, the deliverables, the time frame, and the cost / payment terms, then it is time to move forward with the process.
Your logo is only as good as your promise
Your logo is one of the most important aspects of your brand. Often, it is the first thing people see. It is their first impression of your business. But it is not a substitute for quality and service. A good logo will support the promise you’ve made to your customers but it won’t save you if you don’t deliver.
Now, how about that cookie?
Why am I thinking about cookies? Is anyone else thinking about cookies? I don’t see any cookies, but strangely, I really want a cookie.