When starting up a new business, a realistic budget must be set for branding and marketing – without which the company will be essentially invisible in a sea of stronger competitors. The most fundamental requirement for any brand is its logo – it forms the basis of the brand’s visual identity. A logo should be designed to draw attention to it and to be memorable. With time the logo can become synonymous with the company in the customer’s mind. The logo will dictate the overall look of the company’s printed materials and website which must be skilfully designed to retain brand harmony throughout.
When defining a branding and marketing budget, a start-up needs to know how much the logo design will cost. This depends on who is tasked with the job – and in turn this impacts on the quality, originality and acceptability of the resultant logo, and its potential for success in the marketplace.
Amateur Logo Design
a) Use a friend
Most people know someone who claims to be a whizz kid on Photoshop or another design program. They may be kind enough to create your new company logo for the price of a beer. How very tempting. But before you take them up on this offer, seriously consider what they may come up with. They may create a nice image, but will it capture the essence of your business? Will it be unique? Will it be timeless? How will it compare with the logos of your competitors?
Various websites provide the services of individuals who offer to create logo designs, for example fiverr.com, which is understandably popular as work costs from just $5. Take a look for yourself at some of the logo examples that are supposed to tempt you to purchase that person’s services. Do the logos look professional? Would you be proud to display them on your company’s marketing material?
By running a competition to design a logo for your start up you may imagine that you will get hundreds of entries and one is sure to be just perfect. However people will only enter if the prize is right – and how much money are you prepared to offer? Do you really want to spend your time sifting through all the entries? Remember that the majority of applicants will be amateurs hoping to win so they have something to put on their design portfolio; great professional designers are unlikely to enter as it wouldn’t be worth their time – and they already have clients clamouring for their services.
The principal advantage of using an amateur to design your company logo is the cost. On the whole you can pay just peanuts. But what will the final result be? It may look unprofessional which will raise a red flag to a potential customer – if a company doesn’t appear qualified on paper or on its website, the customer will imagine that unprofessionalism extends to the products and customer service. The logo may not be scalable – perhaps it looks great on a business card, but can’t hold its own on a large billboard advertisement. The logo may be a lookalike logo that will just confuse the viewer:
And probably worst of all, the logo may send out the completely wrong message to the viewer.
This great example shows two figures dancing together. But look a little closer and see the female torso in the middle!
Professional Logo Design
A start-up needs to get their branding right from the very beginning. There is no point in cutting corners and trying to skimp on a logo design. At best it may receive a lukewarm reception from the viewer and at worst it will be quoted as an example in ‘When Logo Design Goes Wrong’ articles on the net.
The most sensible option, and that which will give the best return on investment, is to use a professional designer to create your logo. Of course the price will be more than $5, but the final logo will:
Be appropriate to the business
Make a great first impression for all the right reasons – without committing any faux pas
Be unique and won’t be confused with competitors’ logos
In addition, a professional will take care of the practicalities. The logo will be:
Provided in colour, colour reversed, greyscale, and black & white
Provided in the appropriate formats (bitmap and vector) and in different resolutions
A professional logo design may cost anywhere from $300 for a simple logo such as a wordmark, to $3000 for a more intricate design or emblem. The more qualified and in-demand the designer, the more the logo will cost. Professionals offer professional services, so you will be offered 2 or 3 concepts to choose from and revisions will be made on the preferred option until the final logo is agreed upon.
By paying for a professional design, the start-up can be confident that the final logo will do their company justice. Once the logo is finalised, the visual identity of the brand can be extended across all customer facing materials. The company owner will be proud of the brand identity and the customer will be impressed and feel confident that the company can deliver its brand promise.
A logo may be small, but its power to persuade customers to buy should not be underestimated. Paying a few hundred dollars for a long lasting logo design that sends out all the right professional messages to customers should always be seen as excellent return on investment.