You read that right. I am a professional designer who charges at least $1K for a logo and I’m here to tell you to forget about it. Now why would I shoot myself in the foot like that?
First of all, if you’re a small business owner, I know you don’t have a lot of money. I know this because I am one too and I don’t want to pay $1000 for anything. Expect maybe a house. I’d pay $1000 for a house, even if it were falling down.
If you are successful you probably got that way by not blowing money on stuff you didn’t need. If you read my previous post you know I don’t believe it’s worth going into debt to start your business and if you’re just getting started, a logo is something you definitely don’t need. Here’s why:
- You don’t know if your business idea will fly so there’s no point in spending a lot of money up front.
- You don’t yet know exactly who your market is and what they want.
- Cheap logos tend to look like cheap logos so save your money for the real thing.
- Developing your brand takes a lot of time, energy and focus.
- You have other (cheap) options.
Now that you have a rough idea why, let’s go into a little more detail:
You don’t know if your business idea will fly.
If you haven’t yet tested the viability of your business idea the last thing you should do is spend extra money on aesthetics (ie. making things look pretty). And by “testing viability” I don’t mean asking your friends and family if your idea is good. That’s testing how willing your loved ones are to lie to you. You know you truly have a viable idea when you’ve put a basic version of your product or service out there and people want to buy it – and by buy it I mean they actually wave money in your face, not click the button, “Yes, I’d buy this”, on your Survey Monkey page.
If you pay good money for a logo in the early stages you can’t get that money back if your business doesn’t succeed.
You don’t know your market yet.
When you’re starting out, you might think you know exactly who your market is and what your products or services will look like. However, you’re probably wrong.
If you are committed to helping other people and growing your business, you’ll have to alter your offering to hit the sweet spot. Until you have a good thing going, there’s no point in committing to a logo (and brand identity) until you are pretty darn sure you’ve got the product right. I can guarantee, with 80% accuracy, you will want to change your website, colours and identity in the first year.
Cheap logos look cheap.
If you want to save money and hire someone on Fiverr to create a 5$ logo it will probably look like you hired someone to create a 5$ logo. That might very well be perfect for your market so if that’s the case – go nuts! Blow a five dollar bill right off the bat.
There are plenty of other fun things you can do on Fiverr but buying a logo isn’t one of them. My husband hired a guy to write and record a rap to thank my sister and brother-in-law for having us stay with them over Christmas this year. It was awesome and totally worth the five bucks.
Branding is a huge undertaking.
In addition to costing money, developing a brand will eat up a lot of your time and energy. It’s a very detailed and intimate process that will require your guidance and input even if you’re working with a professional designer. Early on, it’s better to spend that time developing your offering instead.
You have other options.
There are viable alternatives to a logo that still look professional and allow you maximum flexibility. All you need to do is create a temporary wordmark. What is a wordmark? It’s basically your business name set in an attractive, simple typeface that you use consistently to identify your business. You can choose one or two colours (but not more than two) that you think send the right message about your business. You can even keep these colours, or variations of them, when you’re ready to hire someone to create your “real” logo.
Many designers would disagree with me. They’d claim it’s essential to look your best when you’re starting out. They’d argue it makes you look established and professional but I have a different theory. Based on my experience, I’ve determined a good design can’t save a lousy product, but bad design won’t prevent an amazing product from finding success.
There are plenty of other things that can prevent success but I’ll save that for future articles. I’ll also cover some of the details for creating a temporary wordmark but for now, put your credit card back in your wallet and get back to work.
If you have a question about design, marketing or creative stuff just drop me a note in the comments or contact me. If you want to just talk shop you can do that too.