There are few things as mysterious, and as stressful, to most business owners as designing a business logo.
To start, most of us have never given much thought to logos beyond recognizing when one is effective or just looks cool. It’s likely that you haven’t thought about what went into making the logos you see everyday and, when you start to think about a logo for your own business, all you can see is a scene out of “Mad Men” and your startup capital flying out the window.
In addition to the uncertainty around process and cost is the fact that you, like all business owners, want your logo to be perfect; to be immediately recognizable as yours and to flawlessly convey exactly what your company provides as well as a company brand.
And you may even want it to look cool, too.
We’ve Come a Long Way (baby)
The good news is that you can take a deep breath and relax.
- The process of designing a business logo has come a long way since the days of ad men in the 60’s. There are a lot of tools online which allow you to either design your own logo or to have a designer create one quickly for you.
- The cost of having a logo designed has come down dramatically, primarily due to the advent of the web and powerful-yet-affordable graphics software.
- Many, if not most, of the logo design vendors allow you to go through many design iterations at no extra cost which allows you to arrive at a design that works for your business and makes you proud as its owner.
Feel better? Great! Below, we’re going to take a look at some different approaches to designing a business logo.
Before that however, take a minute to familiarize yourself with the basics of business logos including logo types, uses and protection.
Here are some good resources for learning the basics of business logos (and also some other items to get you thinking about your logo):
- How to Create a Logo – this is a great primer on logo creation by Entrepreneur.com. It lays out the process step-by-step.
- 10 Common Mistakes in Logo Design – learn what to do by learning what not to do.
- Logo Design Tips – great tips on logos giving you a good grounding in what your logo should and should not try to do and also includes design must-haves and don’ts.
- 7 Awesome Rules for Designing an Perfect Logo – some good tips here, especially around color and usability.
- 45 Rules for Creating a Great Logo Design – I like that the last rule is, “Break the Rules”.
Approach 1: Do It Yourself
If you’re handy with graphics software, you may want to take a crack at designing a logo yourself.
Here are some good resources on the process to get you started:
- How to design an awesome logo – uses Photoshop and walks you through step-by-step.
- 15 Excellent Logo Design Tutorials Using Illustrator – vector images are always good for logos because they can be re-sized up and down so easily. The tutorials differ in the process used to create a logo as well as creating different types of logos.
- If videos are your things:
Approach 2: Free Designer Tool
There are a lot of free design tools out there. The catch is that you have to work within their framework (their images, colors, etc.) and typically can only use the created logo on their products (e.g. business cards, letterhead, etc.), though some do let you design your logo and then only pay if you decide to download the image file (LogoMaker is an example of this type of vendor).
I’ve never used this approach because I don’t like being locked-in on design or production, however it does seem to be the least expensive option for getting help in creating your logo.
You can find a bunch of listings for these types of services by searching “free logo design” on Google.
If you use any, or have in the past, I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments section below!
Approach 3: Hire a Designer/Design Firm
Hiring a firm to design your business logo is a great way to get the job done by graphic pros. The issue here is knowing which ones are the best ones to use as well as setting and sticking to a realistic budget.
The most effective way to find a good logo designer is to use your network. Reach out via channels such as the phone, e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook and ask folks who they used, if they were happy with their experience and the result and, if they are comfortable speaking about it, how much it cost.
Another good way to find a designer is to use one of the online freelancer services such as Elance, oDesk, iFreelance and others. on these sites, you will find many, many graphic designers and they are listed along with feedback scores and comments from previous customers.
Another nice aspect of the freelance services approach is that the site will, for the most part, help you manage the bidding, project management, communication and payment processes involved in getting your logo designed. Very handy!
One last tip on this approach: as mentioned above, before signing on the dotted line, assure you negotiate a certain number (if not unlimited) of logo re-works so there is a clear understanding between you and the designer around how many times you can send a logo back to be re-worked based on your comments.
Designers like to limit re-works and it makes sense for them to do so; unlimited re-works will take up a lot of their time and earn them less revenue. So, try and be reasonable yourself and find a number with which you both feel comfortable.
Approach 4: Crowdsourcing
This last approach is crowdsourcing which, according to Wikipedia, “is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call”.
On these sites, you put out your project and then the designers respond, not with a bid, but with a logo design. Once a certain bidding period passes, you choose from the designs you’ve received and then pay only the winning designer who then sends you your logo files.
On some of these sites, the logos can be voted on by others so you can get instant feedback on which designs people like. Also, many of these sites allow you to have private interactions to which only certain designers and reviewers are invited.
Use the comment section below to tell us:
- What have your experiences been with designing a business logo?
- Have you used any of the approaches above?
- Have you used a different/hybrid approach which I did not mention?
- Have any tips or tricks to pass on to other readers?
I look forward to reading your comments!