Professional Logo Design: When it comes to marketing, it can be tempting to want to do as much as possible yourself to save valuable funds. I fell into this trap myself when I needed a logo for my business. I figured that I could avoid spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a professional design by creating my own logo. How hard could it be? I thought.
I am an engineer by training, and I will be the first to admit that my right-brained, creative skills are quite limited. This did not deter me from attempting to create my own logo. PowerPoint was the only graphics-generation program that I knew, which should have been a warning by itself. Here’s the result of my design efforts:
Since the two people I asked for feedback on my logo said it ‘looked good’, my utilitarian mind decided to roll with it. I integrated the logo into my website and promotional materials. I felt satisfied that I had saved money by creating my own perfectly adequate logo for my business.
All seemed fine until I saw my logo side-by-side with that of a more established company in a presentation. In contrast to their professional, modern design, mine seemed almost hokey. I noticed that the two colors I had chosen did not complement each other well. The black text of the tagline seemed out of place. In addition, the edges of the text and logo were blurred – a consequence of using PowerPoint instead of a software specific to graphic design.
The opportunity to redesign the logo came when I changed the name of my company a few months later to ‘Envision Solutions’. This time, I decided I would see if spending money on a professional design would be worth it. I chose an online platform of independent designers called 99designs, which works by creating a contest where designers submit a variety of logo concepts based on your general needs.
The first step was to describe my preferred attributes of a logo, using words such as ‘Mature’ vs. ‘Youthful’ and ‘Literal’ vs. ‘Abstract’. After this I was shown a wide variety of logos and asked to select a few that most appealed to me. My design contest was launched and open for designers to submit their logo concepts based on the information I had provided.
Over a dozen designers participated in the preliminary round. I had the option of either rejecting the design or giving it stars based on how much I liked it as well as specific feedback which helped to guide the designer in future submissions. In total, I received about 30 design concepts.
After about a week of submissions, I selected the final three logo designs that I liked the most. The contest then entered the final round. This was the chance to provide more detailed feedback to the designers and hone the designs. Within three days, I selected the winning logo design as shown below.
The result was far better than my previous logo design. The overall experience convinced me that it is worth it to pay for a professional design. For $299, I received the copyright to the logo design as well as a variety of image files, including ones that would allow me or another designer to modify the logo in the future if needed. The overall process was relatively easy. Not only did a I get a better logo than had I done it myself, but I also saved valuable time by outsourcing the design.
Some tips for this type of design development:
- Be specific about your must-haves for your logo, but wherever possible give the designers license to be creative. You may think you know exactly what you want in a logo, but this may change as you see various design ideas.
- It is okay to ask for some tweaks to the design during the preliminary round, but no more than 1-2 per design. Once your three top designs are selected for the final round, designers are more willing to invest the time in making modifications.
- Watch out for designers who copy other designers’ concepts. Always go with the first designer who submitted the original concept.
- Prior to selecting your final design choice, make sure that all the changes you’ve asked for have been completed by the designer.
- You will receive vector files which will allow you to make future changes to the logo provided you have the right software. However, you can often reach out to the original designer and have them make the changes. I paid the designer $50 to change the shade of teal in my design a few weeks after I purchased the original design.