Logo Design

You're not just test-driving a logo. It's like a good, expensive car -- you use it until it doesn't work anymore, and in the meantime, it really takes you places.
Design it right the first time.
Reprinting all your materials and wiping out your identity is far more expensive.

Logo Design Do-It-Yourself

This article is about designing your own logo. For hiring Eclectic Tech for logo design, see our identity design portfolio pages. Eclectic Tech is currently charging $1400 for custom logo design.

Why you might hire a real designer | Do-it-yourselfers | Quick Summary of design process | Design your own logo challenge

Why you might hire a real designer

By real designer I mean someone dedicated to the design industry, rather than someone who does it as a sideline to another job (such as design offered by web programmers, design offered by print shops). A real designer spends their time keeping on top of things in the industry.

  • reading design publications
  • watching out for design news
  • aware of marketing and advertising principles
  • aware of print processes
  • savvy on the proper output for print
  • knows what's trendy vs overdone
  • understands colors, "white space", transparency, typography, art and graphics

A designer is not just an artist. This isn't about kindergarten fingerpaintings. Designers bridge the area between deliberate creativity and finely-honed talent, and have knowledge of printing, advertising and marketing industries that can save you time and expensive errors.

The designer has already spent the money on the proper equipment and programs to output the logo properly. They're trained in the software, know the shortcuts, and know how to put their ideas into electrons. They've been educated, mentored, and (at least in my case) have years of experience in the industry.

Do-it-yourself

Let's start with tips for designing your own pro logo from About.com.

Here's a summary in my words:

Think
Give real consideration to who your company is, and who you're trying to attract.
Research
You also need to spend the time on market research for your logo. What are logos in your industry? What are good design elements? What is original? What's the latest fad (that you should avoid)? Interview print firms, find out the filetypes they accept, and resolution they need for your print materials. Find out how much it costs to print 4 color CMYK process versus 2 color spot process.
Sketch
On paper, dinner napkins, whatever. Don't touch the computer. If you can't come up with 10 or more acceptable-to-good concepts for a logo (and then choose the top 3-5 to develop further), you're limiting your creativity. Also if you find yourself wanting to use more than 2 colors or fonts, 1 piece of clip art or illustration, then you need to drop the mouse NOW, seek a bad design rehab center, and pull out your checkbook and hire a real designer.
Design
Use a real vector design program. If you use a cheap paint program instead, you can have problems down the road when printing and scaling your logo, and you may not be able to make JPEGs, transparent GIFs, print-ready graphics, etc.
Sleep
Unless you're the type that changes spouses as often as you change underwear. If you're not so happy with your logo that you would marry it, if it's not that timeless beauty that never gets stale, you have the wrong logo. When you're getting close to the finish line with a logo concept, you need to sleep on it, with it, paste it on your bathroom mirror so it's the first thing you (really) see, and make sure you still respect it in the morning.

Ten years! Yeah -- 10 years. Designing your logo is no joke. If you think your logo will only take 2 hours and anyone can do it, think again. You may think you can shell out $200 and get something unique and innovative, something that represents your company, something that will be printed on all your materials for the next ten years.

Why doesn't it take only 2 hours to throw together a logo? Some logos LOOK really simple. That's planned and considered simplicity. Is your company worth more than 2 hours of consideration? If not, then fold the company. Do yourself and the people you're going to burn a favor.

Design your own logo challenge

Spend a week putting together your logo. The whole week. 40 hours. That would be the number of hours you should spend learning the design software, doing the market research, reading about best practices for logo design, coming up with 10 rough sketches, developing 3 to a reasonable stage, creating 4-5 variations of the "chosen one" to explore minor variations, pick out the colors. And at night, sleep with the designs you've created, and pick the one you still respect in the morning. Start on Monday one week. Have the logo chosen by Friday, sleep with it all weekend. Print it on temporary business cards. Think about it all weekend -- ready to hand out those cards? You'll have a logo final by Monday morning.

If you say "I'm too busy to do that!" I agree with you 100%. My opinion is that your time is better spent on billable time, building inventory, or building your business. Hire a designer to create your logo, and trade your money for a trained professional's services. You have another 40 hours freed up for something you are more geared towards. At a flat rate, you shouldn't be concerned about whether it takes them 15 hours or 20 -- and trust me it's a lot more than 5.

If the price tag is still hard to swallow, think in terms of the worth of your logo in payments spread out over 10 years. As an example price: a logo costing you $1200 is only $1/month over the life of your logo! Eclectic Tech is currently charging only $1400. Considering that your logo is one of your best and most consistent advertising pieces, and how you really can't live without it, it's dirt cheap. Major corps probably pay at least 10 times that for their logos. (Do you think the "simple" IBM logo was a 2 hour design concept?)

You're not just test-driving a logo. It's like a good, expensive car -- you use it until it doesn't work anymore, and in the meantime, it really takes you places. Design it right the first time. Reprinting all your materials and wiping out your identity is far more expensive.


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