Can you design your own logo? And should you?

Posted by Jodi Bauman on May 30, 2018

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If you’ve ever spent time around kids, you've witnessed the power of a logo. Even before they can read, young children will recognize the logos of their favorite brands and light up when they see a product with that logo on a store shelf.

Logos might look simple, but they’re extraordinarily powerful. They play a crucial role in establishing and maintaining your company's brand and making your products or services instantly recognizable to your audience.

So when you need a logo for your startup business or a makeover for an outdated logo, you might wonder — where do I start?

Some companies hire an elite agency and pay millions of dollars. BP famously spent $211 million on their new logo. When Andersen Consulting became Accenture they reportedly spent $100 million on their logo, which is simply their name with an accent over the “t.”

If those logo-design prices make your head spin, you’re not alone. Many people turn to the internet looking for cheaper solutions. And this is where they get into trouble. 

Some websites tout logo design as a do-it-yourself project, which might seem tempting, especially if you already have an idea in your head of what you want. Logos are simple, right? And FREE is a great price. Can you hear the siren song of Microsoft Word’s free clip art calling you to attempt it yourself? Cover your ears! Don’t listen!

4 reasons you should hire a professional for your logo design

1) Professional designers understand the importance of elasticity.

Logos need to be extraordinarily flexible to be utilized in many different formats. A professional designer will consider this early in the design process and create a logo that looks sharp in many applications — not just on business cards and a website. Logos also commonly appear on:

  • Advertisements
  • Trade show booths
  • Billboards
  • Marketing collateral
  • Price tags
  • Stationery
  • Premiums (e.g. pens, clothing, coffee mugs)
  • Product packaging
  • Social media
  • Uniforms
  • Shopping Bags
  • Television
  • Signs
  • Vehicles

2) Professional designers provide usable files.

I can’t tell you how many times a client has asked me to start a design project and then couldn’t give me a clean copy of their own logo. Sometimes we can track down the original, but, if it turns out that their logo was a free logo designed in Microsoft Word or Photoshop, I’m often forced to recreate it in a scalable, vector format and charge them for my time. Then they have an unprofessional logo that they’ve had to pay a professional designer to recreate. That’s not a good investment.

In addition to the various places logos will be used, there are many formats needed for all those applications. Big companies usually have an arsenal of logo files ready for use, including:

  • Horizontal or vertical
  • Small or large
  • Vector or raster
  • Color or black-and-white
  • Positive or reverse
  • Spot or process
  • RGB or CMYK

You may need many combinations of these variables over the years. And then all those formats will need to be saved as different file types for various purposes: TIFF, JPG, PNG, EPS, PDF, PSD, just to name a few.

Having a professional designer create the logo in the first place will ensure that you have the file you need for every project, and, if you need a custom version in the future, your designer will be able to provide that quickly and easily.

3) Professional designers offer personal attention AND objectivity.

Some people want to create their own logo because they know their business the best. And they do. But being too close to the business is exactly why you should seek professional advice. What’s meaningful or sentimental to you might not accurately represent your business to an outsider. Professional designers act as liaisons in this case — listening to your insights and considering your preferences but keeping the audience in mind and staying objective with the design.

4) Professional designers help you maintain a personalized identity.

Websites that allow users to build cheap or free logos using generic clip art and preset fonts might seem like a bargain, but it’s not a great way to introduce your business to the world. Building your branding campaign around a discounted logo, which is neither personal nor unique (imagine if your competitor uses the same clip art as you!), is a short-sighted strategy. Just as you wouldn’t hang a paint-by-number painting in your lobby, a build-your-own logo doesn’t present the image of a professional, established, trustworthy company. 

But what about the cost?

Don’t worry that you need to spend a fortune. There are many talented designers who charge fair prices for creative work (including us at CorComm Creative!). Nike's world-famous iconic swoosh was reportedly designed in 1971 by a design student for only $35 (approximately $500 in 2018 prices).

If you’re feeling tempted to design your own logo, consider looking for a freelance designer or a small creative group like CorComm Creative instead. It will be money well spent!

Topics: hiring freelancers, branding, Logos, Logos, Design, outdated logo, rebranding, updating my logo, how to redesign my logo, logo designers

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