Biz Tips: The Biggest Branding Mistake You Can Make

Biz Tips: The Biggest Branding Mistake You Can Make


The Biggest Branding Mistake You Can Make

The Do It Yourself Logo — Just….Don’t.

“I have skills, I can whip something up myself.” You think to yourself. “And if I can’t, I’ll ask my nephew. He is taking those college classes.”

Let me say this loud and clear, NO YOU CAN’T. Unless you have some serious art skills, understand visual communications, printing requirements, and web requirements, you can’t design your own logo (and neither can your sister’s son).

Your logo is the single most important visual communication your company has.

Make your peace with the fact that this is one thing you can’t skimp on and hire a designer..but don’t hire any designer — here’s what you need to know…

What A Qualified Designer, Studio or Agency Should Bring To The Table

1. Logo Design Experience

Experience in your industry and others. How many logos have they designed? What does their portfolio look like?

2. FREE Logo Design Consultation

This is the important part. Any designer worth their salt will spend time to get to know your business, the market you are in, your competition, their logos, and your business vision (notice I didn’t say your design vision, but your business vision).

3. Logo Design Estimate

After your consultation they should provide you with a written estimate for services. Make sure you have the rights to your own logo. Make sure you understand what they want as their rights to your logo. Most importantly, make sure the estimate includes a file delivery solution for your final logo that allows you to make back-ups. That should include various files for web and print. Make sure this is part of the estimate and agreement. DON’T LOOSE THESE FILES. Make copies. Too often, people don’t know where their logo files are. You’d be surprised but I come across this several times a month. Make sure you know how many design concepts they will present you with and how many revisions you get to make to those concepts. What if you don’t like any? Will they go back to the drawing board for free or charge you? Some do, some don’t — find out.

4. Education — Not Their Education, YOURS

Your designer needs to educate you on the use of your logo. What files to send to the printer, the embroidery shop, the web guy. They all need different things. Make sure you understand this. Know you logo colors (PMS colors). Every printer in the world will need to know that tiny bit of information. What I do for my clients is provide them with a File Usage Guide. “What is a File Usage Guide?” you say. Well, it is a document that tells you what files have been delivered to you, which files to use when, and what your PMS colors are. This is critical information. Get it.

The big question is…

How Much Should I Pay For My Logo?

The answer is simple, but frustrating. It depends. It depends on your budget. Like a good mattress, buy the best one you can afford. Use the guide above to help you select a designer. See if you click. If you get the feeling they might be “flighty or flaky” run away! They don’t return your call in a timely manner, run away. They think you ask too many questions, run away. When you find that person who listens, wants to understand your business, educates you in the process, who has a portfolio you find interesting and inspiring, AND will ask you “what is your budget” then you have a qualified candidate to do business with. Talk money right away. You don’t want to fall in love with a designer you can’t afford. I have seen logos sold for as little as $9.99 (you get what you pay for). Be prepared to spend $500 — $5,000+ on your logo. YUP, that is a big range. It breaks down like this, you will probably get the most bang for your buck working with a small studio or full-time (not part-time) freelancer. Bigger studios or advertising agencies will cost more. NEVER let a web company design your logo. Unless they have a full-time graphic designer on staff, no one there knows what an effective logo should look like for print. Never purchase services based on price alone and remember what you are buying — you are buying the face of your business. You are buying a single graphic that you will use over and over and over again for many, many, many years.

My final words are this: Develop a good relationship with your visual communication service provider (designer).

This right person will then become married to your business. They will know you and your business goals and they will be familiar with your likes and dislikes, so that 3 months down the road when you need a brochure whipped up for a trade show, they will have a better understanding of what to provide you. Over 80% of my clients have been with me from the beginning of their business. Why? Because I take the time to know them and their needs. I help them plan for the project we are working on right then, and the one coming up in a few months. We talk annual budgets, time-lines, marketing goals, and then execute the plan we create. We are a team. You want someone you can say to, “Hey Leah, remember that ad we did 2 years ago? Well we want to revamp it and do something like that again.” So do your homework. It will pay off in the long run.

And please remember, there are lots of places you can boot-strap and DIY your business — but this — this is not one of those. In fact, just make your peace with the fact that you will need a professional to design your logo and your website. Those two things just can’t be compromised on — and after all, it’s your business — so why would you want to?

In your search for finding the perfect logo designer start with Blueleaf Creative

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