Most business owners recognize the value of having a good looking logo. It provides a point of identification for who you are, it connects customers with your services, and it lends credibility to your company. But when it comes down to paying for custom logo design, too many lose sight of value in order to justify cheaper avenues. There are a hundred sites like Canva, Wix, and VistaPrint offering free DIY logo builders or cut-rate design services right now, so why shell out for custom logo design, when you could just put your most artistic employee on it and call it a day?
We could write a thesis on that very question, but we’ll keep it brief and just hit the high points on this one. Ultimately, it all boils down to the fact that your logo represents your business. It should be as unique as you are and readable at a glance, and if you’re trying to achieve that through anything other than custom logo design, you’re likely to encounter some of the following issues.
Your logo represents your business. It should be as unique as you are, and readable at a glance.
1 | DIY logo builders generate the same ideas
DIY logo builders may sound great on the surface. It doesn’t matter if you can only draw stick figures, anyone can click a mouse and choose what looks best. They offer dozens of free icons to stand in for your logo, and the design is fairly clean in most cases. They offer good font choices in a variety of styles, and there are no copyright concerns coming from established sites. But here’s the downside. The free icons and fonts are available to everyone using that builder.
Hundreds of people might use the same icon for their unrelated businesses, or go for the exact same look. So what happens when two local handymen give out cards with different names but the same logo? They’re competing for the same customers, and no one can tell them apart. Without a unique logo that communicates something special about you, there’s no reason for customers to engage with you over anyone else.
Compare the black and white DIY “logos” below, created with the vistaprint builder. They’re identical in every way except for the business name. But the third image was completely custom designed with special care to fonts and how the logo integrates with their product line. That’s the main benefit of custom logo design over anything else. When you see the difference, try to remember that you get what you pay for. Free is exactly as valuable as it sounds.
2 | Paid clip-art is generic and impersonal
The next step up from free is pay-to-use images. Essentially clip art, even if they do look well-designed and current. This can be a tempting option because it feels like you own it, even if that’s not exactly the truth. Once you buy it, it doesn’t disappear–anyone else can come along and buy the exact same image. You’re just buying the right to use it, not to own it, and you can’t stop anyone else from doing the same.
The below resource is available right now for $8 on CreativeMarket.com. We’ve shown it next to a real company who is using it as their main identity. If a business called “Origami Fox” bought the same image and made it red, and another “Crystal Fox” bought and made it purple, then that’s three businesses with identical logos. This one looks nicer than many free DIYs, but in the end it produces the same result. Not to mention you now have to come up with good font pairings to include your business name. And in the end, it still doesn’t say anything unique about your business.
3 | Amateur designs always look amateur.
So if you avoid the logo builders and pay-to-use images, there’s one more option for saving money on a custom logo design. You could always…make it yourself. This is by far the biggest mistake most people make when faced with the need for a logo. It can seem so simple on the surface, especially when you have the perfect idea in your head of how it should look. Even if you have artistic talent and feel confident in rendering, it should just be a matter of drawing it out, right? That’s true in the same way that navigating a mine field is simple as not stepping on a mine.
There is a reason that graphic designers make a living in their field. If it was easy, their careers wouldn’t exist. In addition to knowing how to connect with extremely specific audiences on a psychological level, good design comes from knowing the rules and how to apply them. Everything from font, color, line, shape, empty space, filled space–any combination of those visual aspects can make or break a logo design.
Deluxe.com wrote an informative article on the do’s & don’ts of logo design (we shared one of their images below). As you can see in the bottom image, even when something is rendered nicely, it can still be too busy overall and illegible when scaled down. So skill alone doesn’t cut it, you have to know what you’re doing. Their article shares a lot of info and barely even scratches the surface of what goes into an effective logo. So please do yourself and your company a favor and consider paying your designer’s rate to make you a good logo.
In the end…
When you rule out free logo builders, pay-to-use images, and the ever-popular DIY option, your best bet will always be to go with custom logo design. It ultimately comes down to a case of cost versus value, and the value of having a unique logo tailored to your company will almost always outweigh the cost. But if you still have any doubt, it never hurts to get a quote on what it actually costs for custom logo design. You might be pleasantly surprised.
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