By Shar Biggers
First and foremost, everything I'm about tell you is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This is what every trained designer on the planet wants to say, but can't: stay away from free logo makers, generators, design apps, and logo creators. If you’ve even considered this I have to ask just one question, “Are you crazy?”
Do you expect the world to take you seriously, because unfortunately they will not. I wish I had different news for you, but the only expectation you can be sure to have is low customer trust. I know what you’re thinking, “Why would you say that, Shar?” Well, your reputation begins at your logo and it goes up or down from there.
I’m stating the obvious here, but if you’ve considered this—yet you hope to create the next multi-million dollar business, you have to rethink your mindset and your business plan. Especially if you’re creating a business-to-consumer organization.
You: A bit harsh, don’t you think?
Me: Yes, but did I lie? No.
I need you to think about this decision that you’re getting ready to make because the design of your logo is directly correlated to the success of your business and the reputation of your brand. In order to create a strong logo for your startup, you must make an investment. That investment is not into yourself, so no—you cannot DIY your logo. If you did not receive formal training as a visual designer or a graphic designer (no matter how creative you are), I do not recommend that you design your own logo. Why? Well, because there are rules to this and you are not aware of them. You have not been formally trained, and though you’ve always considered yourself creative, you are not a logo designer! As a designer, if I were sick—I would not diagnose my own illness. I would find a doctor. If I was a victim in a criminal trial, I would not represent myself. I would hire a lawyer. Do you see how this works now? You must hire a highly trained professional if you want good results. Now if you do not value design, that is a problem that we do not have enough time to address in this article; but this mindset will only hurt your business in the end.
Now that DIY logos and logo generators are out of the picture. Let’s get right down to the real nitty gritty! It’s time to hire a highly trained, and talented visual designer. Now, remember that part of the article where I said creativity may be a part of your personality, but it’s not a part of your repertoire? This also applies here! When looking for a designer, the average person cannot trust their own eyes to find a logo designer. This is because your eyes are not trained in this area, making it very difficult to locate the perfect talent. That is where I come in. Below I list how to hire a great designer!
Train Your Eye
I’d recommend that prior to hiring a logo designer that you begin to study Fortune 500 logo’s. For example, Amazon, FedEx, Nike, and the best of them. Go and visit your local Barnes & Noble and look at historical logo books. These books will have classic logos that worked in the 1900’s and are still strong today. This will be vital for your brand because it’s important to create a timeless logo that never goes out of style. You would be surprised how much this can help you weed out the amateur designs that will hurt your brand.
Search for Strong Portfolio
It is vital that you look for a designer with a strong portfolio. Notice I did not say with a portfolio, I said with a strong portfolio. What makes a strong portfolio? I’m happy you asked! A designer with a strong portfolio will have designed for major brands and killer small brands, have award-winning portfolios and published work. Sometimes they have followings on social platforms keeping up with their work, though this is not a must! Typically they have formal design education from places like Portfolio Center, Rhode Island School of Design, School of Visual Arts, Pratt and others. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some great self-taught designers out there, but you must be extra careful when hiring self-taught without a trained eye. Design does not require a license to practice, so literally anyone can say, “I’m a designer” and begin going after businesses. It gives the industry a bad rap when designers do not do learn the skills first, and sadly this is very common place because of low barriers to entry.
Don’t Go Cheap
Hiring a cheap designer is often the death of many brands in the world. They cut corners to save money and end up cutting their business in half, never giving it a real chance to shine and perform. The cost of your logo will directly correlate with the quality and rapport of your business and brand. The stronger the designer, the better your company looks. First impressions are still everything! If you don’t have the money, then take the time to save the money. You would likely do what it takes to prototype your product to ensure it works properly, you’d spend the money necessary to find the best suppliers etc. Don’t wait until you get to branding to go cheap! Do what it takes to win because no matter the industry, the competition did not cut corners, and a good product with bad branding still equals a bad product in the customers eyes.
Hi I’m Shar, brand consultant and design founder here at weareprovoke.com. I help companies create iconic brands through business design, and advice on business strategy…real stuff, no fluff! I hope you enjoyed this article and found it super valuable, my goal is to continue to provide you with awesomely easy reads that can help you improve your business. Talk soon!