Do you really need a logo?
Over the years I’ve worked with a lot of different types of businesses at various stages of their development. Typically when you’re just starting out (and especially if you run a digital/online business), I recommend NOT going through a logo design process. The budgets allocated for logos are often minimal (sub $300) and with that price point, you’re likely not going to get a quality product. Note – I didn’t create a real logo for my own business until I was 3 years in!
When you should make a logo
We lucked out with RebalancedSF since Justin (the owner) happens to be a very talented designer and he created his own logo.
The eye catching graphics instantly differentiate his site and explain his offering in simple, fun way. It is clear from the icons that it is a physical activity – and the clean typeface and colors appeal to a wide audience.
RebalancedSF is a location based business and will require such items as signage, business cards and flyers – it makes sense for Justin to create an eye-catching graphic that he can use for print materials. He can also leverage his playful icon system in his online advertisements and digital graphics.
When you should hold off making a logo
If you are starting an online business, I don’t think a logo should be your first priority. The logo serves to create the color palette, determines typefaces and aesthetic direction of a site — so if you’re going to spend money creating your brand identity, do it right and hire a real designer who understands color, typefaces and space – and who can authenticate that their work is original. When done well, a logo will effectively communicate your brand message and connect you with your customer.
Your average crowd-sourcing logo site (where you get various versions of a logo for $99 and under) won’t provide you with a quality product (and as an aside, using crowd sourcing sites for anything design related is a BAD idea – often the “designers” rip off established corporate logos and you could be on the hook for a copyright violation!) As a designer, I’m often hampered by the limitations of working with these cheap, poorly-made logos.
If funds are limited, I recommend creating a clean typeface treatment for your business name. while it may not have the impact of a fully designed logo, it’s a far preferable solution to a cheapie design job. In the RebalancedSF example, when we remove the great icons, we still have a clean, professional company name.
This is Part 2 in my series revealing what we did to create the rebalancedsf.com site – View part 1 – What’s in a domain name.