The Value of a Professional Logo Design

Jess Orr: Founder, Envision Solutions
Jess Orr: Founder, Envision Solutions

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:

Yokoten: Jess Orr

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.

Envision Solutions: Jess Orr

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.

The Evolution of Marketing

A Q & A with Erin Lewis

What is your role at your company?
I am a CEO for a startup as well as a CFO for several small companies….also chief cook and bottle-washer and trash taker-outer as necessary.

What does your day-to-day job function look like?
In regards to my role within the startup, I am currently bringing customers into our Beta testing, increasing our funding, and hiring like mad for the critical roles to support the business once we go public.

What do you think the biggest challenge has been?
In my market, there is a great need around information flows, but few really good solutions.  We have a comprehensive solution, but getting folks to buy-in to that is difficult because of the level of distrust in the industry.  No one way of communicating with potential customers is enough.

Is digital marketing important to your company?
Digital marketing is our best strategy when it comes to building our value-story over time, which makes it more authentic and sticky.  It also is a key component within our platform, which sells consumer products.  When you can use the power of tiktok and instagram contributions right along-side the branded messaging, consumers feel really connected to the products and the community of people who use those products. This is the evolution of marketing in today’s world.

Having a combination of branded video, well written descriptions that blend with have the appropriate key words and details pulled from other sites as necessary, so users don’t have to leave our site, all contribute to the products on our site getting more attention online, and that translates directly to sales.  

What tips do you have for people in similar roles?
Yes, you need to do it, but not all at once.  Your messaging needs to be more than a moment- it’s a story, because stories stick.  Find ways to connect emotion with your messaging and if possible, personalized to each consumer or consumer group.  This is hard and having the right people on your team who use color, sound, word choice, etc. is not optional- it’s critical.  You may know your product best, but they will know how to make others pay attention to it.

Quality Content: Write Right Now

Why this is the best time to create quality website content.

Alux Digital Marketing: Quality Content

From a search engine optimization standpoint–there is no bad time to create quality content. In fact, successful websites always have fresh content. However, sitting down and writing is not always easy for a lot of people, it is time consuming–and we are all extremely busy!

While there are a few amazing business-people with great discipline who make it a practice to write daily, the truth is, the vast majority of small to mid-size business owners and executives do not have the time to sit down each day and write much of anything… let alone quality content!

Except… maybe you do now.

Since the world began dealing with Covid-19 (Coronavirus), we have all had to adjust our businesses, our schedules, our perspectives. Day-by-day, our lives are evolving in a ways we could not have imagined even a week or two ago.

To be honest, the first week after Covid-forced social distancing/shut-down was really great to catch up on some Netflix. Maybe the second week was good for finishing a project that has been lingering around the house. For many of us, managing children and their schooling has been an added complication. But now–hopefully– we have hit a stride with that and we have begun asking:

So, now what??

The answer: I am going to challenge you to write.

HOW TO GET STARTED: (The math of content-writing)

As a writer myself, (and an SEO enthusiast), I find great value in starting a writing project with a list of keywords. Think of it as “what do you want to rank well for?” For me, I like to be high on the search engines for keyphrases such as “digital marketing” and “website designer” as examples. From there I would put together some topics: “digital marketing basics,” “digital marketing for dentists,” “Is now the best time to hire a website designer?”

I am a goal-oriented person–and I like a plan. So I begin by identifying 5 keyphrases, and then write 2 blogs/articles/pages on each. That would give me 10 pieces of writing to produce and a structure to build off-of.

Then the trick to to just get started. Once you have your drafts, you can share them with other people for their feedback, and you can do the editing process. If you are an Alux Digital client, these drafts are usually all we need–and we will have our content creators polish them up, and get them scheduled for publication on your site with the appropriate promotion through social media, and the best onsite SEO.

At the end of the day… at the end of this “pause“–there is no such thing as too much content. You need it quality content now to maintain high rankings on the search engines, and you will need quality content later to promote your business.

Now is the best time to think strategically, to write and curate great content, and to make the improvements in your business processes and promotion that you have wanted to make but never had the time!

Your Post-Covid Business Plan

The importance of a pause…

Meghan Wier - Alux Digital

From a business stand-point, a “pause” such as the one caused by Covid-19, (Coronavirus) is a scary thing. And it really does not matter if yours is a big business of a small business. This “pause” could be the downfall of many companies, and many ways of conducting commerce around the globe.

In a past career, I talked to business owners about contingency planning. We discussed what would happen if there was a big snow storm or a tornado. We planned scenarios where the business may be unable to open for a couple weeks, or if there was damage to their facility, or if a key-employee was unable to do their job.

No one ever wanted to discuss what would happen to their business if there was a global pandemic. The ideas was too hard to contemplate. It was just too bleak, and too unlikely.

Yet, here we are.

Fact is, there is no plan for this. There is no path for moving forward because there are just too many unknowns. And for many business owners and executives, this situation will paralyze them–their businesses will not open again.

But for some… this pause is important. It gives us time to think about what we want to me as a business. It gives us time and opportunity to think about what type of customers we want–what type of life we want that exists in the non-work hours.

In many ways, this pause is a gift.

This is the ideal time to start a new website, or write a blog. Or a book. Or a song. It is a good time to figure out what you can live without and still be able to provide the service or product that you would like to provide.

It is OK to mourn what we have lost. However, this particular pause is likely to last a while. We will will have to pull ourselves up and out of this. We won’t look the same, but we DO have the opportunity to be better.

How are you going to survive and thrive post-coronavirus? What is your post-Covid business plan?

We are happy to discuss this with you – FREE of charge right now. Because our own pause includes listening to and strategizing with our friends and clients. Email me today at info@aluxdigital.com.

Business in the Days of Covid-19

Meghan Wier - Alux Digital

I did not intend to write this first blog post about Coronavirus. Originally I thought I would wait until it was over (it does not look that that will happen anytime soon). Then I figured, maybe I would ignore it the fact that the world is IN a global pandemic…. but that does not seem particularly authentic. That is what is happening.

Frankly, the more we live in this new reality, it is clear that even once the virus is mitigated, we will live with the ramifications the rest of our lives. This time… this two months, 6 months, or more…. will have an unalterable imprint on how we live our lives, and how business will be done from now on.

As an avid and experienced remote worker, the logistical aspect of working-from-home has not been a challenge. My colleagues and I all have home-offices and we are dispersed around the globe. In fact, we work from several different countries and environments, and do so rather seamlessly. But of course this did not happen overnight. We all learned how to best manage our time in a non-traditional-office structure, we learned to deal with the time-zones and the software for conference calls and chats and all that comes with being “virtual”.

To be honest, I am not sure how people who thrive on the hustle-and-bustle of the traditional office have adjusted so quickly. It has taken years for me to find just the right home-office-environment to be most productive. Yet… humans evolve…and history has shown us that in times of stress, that evolution often happens remarkably quickly. For many, it may be difficult to get them back into the office! I personally find that I am happier in my own space, in the natural light, minus the drama, and the politics that often define the “office.”

Of course, there will be plenty who will be dancing their ways back into the office too! Home-working is just not for everyone. It can be hard… especially right now while we share our workspaces with our children and spouses and pets–all of whom are a little more stressed than usual!

While I can’t tell you what business will look like after Covid-19, I can tell you, that, at least at Alux, things are the same, if not better right now. We have had our hiccups the first couple weeks while trying to figure out e-learning for our children, and sharing bandwidth with our house-mates, but this unfortunate and sad time has also come with valuable lessons. Family and friends are incredibly important. Staying connected is important. Helping others is important. And normalcy is important.

At Alux, we continue to do SEO and SEM, we are building websites. And we are listening to our clients. We have had to shift strategies for several of our clients whose practices are shut down right now. We have put some projects on hold. But we have also used this time to pause and think about who we want to be when we emerge from this. We want our clients to do the same. Will you run your business the same way as you did pre-Covid? Or have you had an epiphany? Or change of focus?

Have you determined that you need a better contingency plan? Or maybe you have shifted your product or service offering to meet the needs of your clients, or patients or community? Maybe this shift has changed your mission or vision. Now IS the time to talk. Business in the days of Covid-19 should be about the future. Let’s talk about business growth, and business sustainability ideas right now. Let’s connect and brainstorm.

Let’s use this pause… to be better.

– Meg