So you’ve finally decided to pursue your dream; starting a new business venture that you’ve been talking about and planning for years. Chances are you have discussed branching off on your own with family and close friends for quite some time now and after receiving their support and blessing, you’re about to pull the trigger and get started.
Congratulations! This is probably the best decision you’ve made professionally. There’s nothing like going after your dream business and passion, and raising that dream like a baby, working hard and watching it mature into a tremendous success.
As one of the owners of the Creative Agency, Graphicwise, and MyChiroPractice — all creative agencies specializing in branding, design and advertising, I’ve seen my share of entrepreneurs over the past 18 years who have come in, gotten their branding done correctly, and gone out into the real world to conquer and succeed.
Sadly, I’ve also seen those who come in bragging about how they just got a logo designed overseas by a cheap logo designer, or though one of these crowdsource logo design websites for $99 or so, and ask us to use this logo to develop their brand, website and other marketing collateral.
It is without exaggeration to state that 90% of those who come in with a cheap logo fail to reach their full potential. Some get involved in expensive lawsuits, while others get hit with the realities of just how judgmental today’s savvy consumers and clients are, and just how competitive the business environment truly is.
Cheap logos stand out like a cheap suit. You may convince yourself that the logo is good enough, but you’re not the person that’s supposed to be convinced. Your target market is who you’re trying to please.
Believe me, I’m all about saving and investing in the right places. After all, I am a business owner too, and realize how critical it is to manage funds properly. I will gladly invest in all the right things such as software, marketing and office location, while being frugal in areas that don’t really matter, like purchasing copier paper from a warehouse superstore or shopping around for the best value in internet service.
Take this advice from me. Branding and logo design isn’t where you go cheap. On the contrary, it’s where you invest without hesitation.
Why? Because people buy with their eyes. Long before they sit down in your office or pick up your product off the shelf to examine its true uniqueness, they look at your business cards, check out your website or take a quick glance of your packaging sitting in a sea of other colorful boxes all screaming to be picked up.
Unless you have a brand new invention or product that’s hitting the market with great press coverage, chances are you have a great deal of competition that you’ll face right from the start. So what sets you apart at first sight? Image.
Here’s where the problem lies with cheap logos designed by overseas designers or through gimmicky crowdsource companies. You truly get what you pay for. Don’t believe me? Consider these facts:
1- These companies or cheap logo designers do no research whatsoever, guaranteed. For any logo and branding campaign to be successful a good 20 to 40 hours of research is conducted. At least that’s how we approach each project.
It is essential for the designer to know all the facts before they start working on a logo, otherwise they’re just drawing from their own imagination without any purpose or set of requirements.
Research not only covers looking at your competitors, but understanding your exact target market. It also involves learning as much about you, your goals and purpose as possible to be able to deliver an image that’s congruent with your mission and vision.
At about $100 per hours for research, just how much of that $99 or $199 do you think actually goes into this critical stage? Probably nothing.
2- These logo designers are recycling logos that were originally created for another business, guaranteed. Please follow the logic here. For a crowdsource company to make money on a $99 or $199 logo, they will ask their pool of overseas designers in India, China and the Philippines to submit as many logos for free to fulfill the company’s promise of presenting you with “dozens” of great options to choose from.
This means many designers aren’t making any money if their designs don’t get picked. They’re working for free until you happen to pick their design from among 40 other designers, in which case they’ll make a handsome $8 to $25 profit.
Based on the above and the fact that for days a designer may not make any money, just how motivated would you think these guys are in truly investing all that time and effort into coming up with something extraordinary and competitive just for you?
They’re not. They’re recycling the designs that weren’t picked, changing the name on it and resubmitting it the next day for the next guy. They most probably have a pool of a few dozen “logos” and each time they receive a call for entry, the’ll type the name of the company next to these generic symbols and upload the files that very same day so not to miss an opportunity to make a few dollars that day.
Crowdsourcing is wonderful in many areas, but its horrible in design and branding. It gives the entrepreneur a false sense of having attained a great deal on his company’s image not knowing he’s been the recipient of recycled generic work that was passed up by someone before him.
3- There will be legal issues and headaches, guaranteed. So here’s the sad part. While you may ignore the above, thinking what you’ve received in exchange for a meager investment was a great logo which serves its purpose, soon you will realize things aren’t as peachy as they seem.
Based on the last 6 years of data that we’ve kept, on average each year 9 companies call us in a panic, asking for us to redesign their logos immediately as they’ve been in litigation over the ownership and intellectual property rights of their crowdsourced logos.
Of course. This should make perfect sense.
Overseas designers working for crowdsource logo design farms don’t have time to get creative, so they most probably resort to borrowing copyrighted logos of existing companies in the hopes of no-one finding out.
Well in today’s digital world where finding matching images through several powerful image matching software has become extremely easy, somehow, somewhere, someone will make the connection and find that the logo you’ve plastered all over the web, office building and brochures actually isn’t yours.
The rightful owner will step up and claim you mimicked their logo purposefully, seeking damages and demanding all material, both web and print, we removed and replaced within 30 days.
This is not a far fetched horror tale, but the truth. We see it happen all the time.
Without exception, each time such a panic-stricken client shows up, they confess to having used one of a dozen popular online logo farms, some overseas design company that promised them the world, or their sister’s boyfriend’s nephew’s dad’s son who has another job, but dabbles around in Photoshop on weekends.
And how expensive would this mistake be?
If you decide to comply with the demands of your logo’s real owner, not only will you have to redesign your logo correctly this time around, but redesign and reprint your business stationery, brochures, catalogs and trade-show graphics. You’ll also need to redo the website, pull any sign off the building, and stop all advertising that’s running, and start explaining to your customers the reason behind your sudden urge to rebrand.
Save yourself the time, energy and headache. There are things worth being frugal about, and there things that will only come back to bite you!
Logos and branding are investments geared to communicate your uniqueness to the world, setting you apart and attracting the right demographic to your product or services. They’re what people will see first and remember you by among a sea of competitors. Plus, they’re 100% tax write-offs, making you not only a smart business owner, but one that’s unforgettable!