How NOT to design a logo

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January 09, 2009

Logo design in today’s world is totally under rated.

People do not understand how important a good logo is and how valuable it is to their business.

In this article I am going to outline the ways in which you should NOT go about getting your logo designed... that is, if you are truly serious about business.

What is a logo?

To understand what a logo is meant to do, we first must know what a logo is. A logo’s design is for immediate recognition, inspiring trust, admiration, loyalty and an implied superiority. The logo is one aspect of a company’s commercial brand, or economic entity, and its shapes, colours, fonts, and images usually are different from others in a similar market. Logos are also used to identify organizations and other non-commercial entities.

It makes me wonder why people have no logo or why they would even bother with a cheap logo design if a logo is meant to do all of these things?


Logo design contests

The worst deal you could probably go for is a logo design contest. Logo design contests are where you give a brief and then you have multiple designers come back to you with their designs. Although this sounds like a mighty good deal, the quality is usually far from anything you would want to represent your business.

You will be wasting your money and in the long term, in terms of damage done to your business, that amount could be quite considerable.

On another note, design contests & designers who design on a speculative basis are damaging the design industry as designers should not have to invest time and resources with no guarantee of payment.

If you want further proof, read these articles: Logo Design Contests Are Bad For Business or The Reality of Logo Design Contests.


Too good to be true deals


If you do a search on 'logo design' on google you will find many businesses offering logo designs for very cheap and unbelievable prices. Such deals as "5 design concepts from 5 designers!" or "6 logos from 5 designers only $200" - Stay away!

These deals are extremely deceiving and the quality is far from satisfactory. Have you ever wondered how much thought they actually put into your logo design? Professional logo designers have a strict logo design process that can take weeks or in some cases months to complete a logo. They may offer you a result within 24 hours or maybe even less meaning literally no thought was put into your logo design.


Stock imagery

Some so called "designers" (usually the same people who enter design contests) steal images from stock sites to design your logo... or in some cases business owners download and use the stock images themselves. This is a huge no-no. Did you know that stock imagery gets downloaded by thousands of people? This should be reason enough not to use stock imagery as your logo.

If you do this, other people will have access to your logo design and can and will use it in places that will potentially devalue your business. Ensure your logo design is original.


Do it yourself logo design

Closely linked to the stock imagery scenario above, business owners or those wanting a logo will try to do it themselves. I highly recommend against this and suggest you leave the design to a professional, much as you would leave your dental work to a dentist.


Free logo makers

You will find many free online logo makers on the web. Not only do these logos look unprofessional, hundreds of other people could have the same logo as you and what is the point of that? These logos have no thought, concept or memorability about them, they are merely symbols.

They say nothing about your business and do nothing that a logo is supposed to do... I repeat, stay away from free logo makers.


Getting a design without feedback

Before approving and implementing a design, ensure you get feedback from your clients, peers, and stakeholders. Getting feedback on a design is a crucial part of the logo design process as it ensures that your logo is going to be successful.

Take these poor phallic logo designs above. I wonder if they realized their logos had such hidden meaning? Ensure you don't turn out like this by getting a professionally designed logo.


What is the cost of a professional logo design?

The cost of a professional logo design is a question that cannot be easily answered as every company has different needs, however, the best way to approach this problem is to draw up a customized quote for each individual.

A number of factors have to be taken into consideration when designing a logo, such as how many logo concepts need to be presented, how many revisions are required, how much research is needed, the size of the business and so on.

To wrap up, I'd like to quote a comparison by David Airey: Comparing the design industry to any other is by no means exact, but the, "How much for a logo?" question is kind of like asking an estate agent, "How much for a house?".


Disclaimer: This article was written exclusively for WDD by Jacob Cass and reflects his personal opinion on logo design. It does not necessarily reflect WDD's opinion on the subject. Jacob is a professional logo designer who runs the popular blog Just Creative Design

Please share your experiences with logo design below.

WDD Staff

WDD staff are proud to be able to bring you this daily blog about web design and development. If there's something you think we should be talking about let us know @DesignerDepot.

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