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Logo Design: The Ultimate Guide for Entrepreneurs, Founders, and Business Builders

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

Logo Design: The Ultimate Guide for Entrepreneurs, Founders, and Business Builders

Logo design has been around since the dawn of civilization, and it's one of the oldest forms of graphic art. From cave paintings to ancient Roman mosaics to Renaissance-era paintings, logos have been used throughout history to make positive impressions.

In the digital age, logos have evolved into much more than just a symbol, and company identity has become just as important as products. Logo Design is an art and a science that should maximize your brand's impact, revenue, and prestige by producing a symbol representing everything you stand for.

So, if you're considering a business logo, it's important to understand that there's more to creating a logo than just choosing a cute font or a free stock image. Effective logo design draws in customers, associates your brand with a product or service, and builds customer loyalty.

A Logo's Role in Growing Your Business: Do Logos Really Matter, or Are They Just a Formality?

A good logo makes you feel good about your business. But is that all it does? Or can it help you make a tangible difference to your bottom line? This question can dictate how startup founders and entrepreneurs lean when selecting a logo.

A logo matters in three crucial ways: enhancing recognition, brand recall, and positive feelings towards your business. These factors can help (or harm) medium-to-long-term profits for your business. Poor logo design impacts short-term gains the most, which can hurt your bottom line.

Let's explore each of the aspects in which a logo can affect your business. We'll consider what happens when you pick a good or bad logo.

Brand Recognition

It is almost impossible to check a box even in an application paper without thinking, "Just Do It." That's because of Nike's brand recognition. While the company's logo is simple, it has been slapped across enough ad campaigns, billboards, and products, to have higher recall value than many celebrities' faces.

Your logo can be a celebrity.

If you nail the logo, you have the opportunity to turn it into an envy-worthy brand. But for better or worse, we like celebrities who look good. And for the most part, we turn people into superstars only when they look good.

If your logo doesn't look or feel good, each advertisement you attach to it leads to some dollars or cents getting wasted. Your logo is even more critical if you're in fashion or any consumer item business. Why? Because an ugly logo can make your products unappealing.

Look at Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Apple, and Mont Blanc. These brands' logos have become value-builders. And all of them are objectively beautiful. If you didn't know of these brands and saw one of their logos or monograms on a poster, you would like it.

To maximize your brand's potential, you need to select a logo that is objectively appealing yet unique. This is no small feat because 137,000 new businesses are started each day!

Brand Recall

As mentioned earlier, a good logo can become a celebrity. People like to take selfies with Tom Holland, and they want to take mirror selfies that show off the Apple iPhone logo. When it comes to brand recall, the same principle applies to celebrities and brand logos: simplicity rules.

The biggest celebrities in the world are distilled to a single idea or even a tagline. Michael Jordan became 'Air Jordan,' synonymous with flight. His high-flying dunks are etched in the memories of those who lived through his era.

Floyd Mayweather couldn't compete with Muhammad Ali's legacy, so he created his own category: Money Mayweather. He's known for being one of the highest-paid boxers of all time. These celebrities are humans with hobbies and interests that we don't see because their public persona is simplified for instant recall.

The same principle applies to logo design. Nike, Mont Blanc, Apple, Android, Adidas, Google, and every other easily recognizable logo in the world is as simple as it can be while preserving its uniqueness.

In fact, if you look at the earlier iteration of each logo (especially Apple), you will realize a fascinating theme: as the number of global brands increases, market leaders are further simplifying their logos.

Complexity is necessary to the extent that it sets you apart from every other logo. After that, it only works to reduce the memorability of your brand. A logo too complex is a logo forgotten.

Positive Perception

Finally, we come to the most important way a logo helps your new business. While recognition and recall are valuable to businesses, it is a positive perception that helps a new business. How many times have you walked into a new store just because it looked good?

How many times have you scrolled a little longer on a random Instagram post because the subject was beautiful? It often happens that we get interested in whatever makes us feel good, even if temporarily.

If your logo looks beautiful or invokes positive feelings, it gets a higher priority in buyer consideration. And if we continue with the celebrity metaphor, the comparison is simple: pretty people get cast more often.

Getting A Logo: Your 4 Options (And Why #4 is the Best...)

Now you know what your logo broadly needs to be. It must be visually appealing, simple, and aimed toward a positive emotion.

So, let's explore your options.

1. Do It Yourself / Use a Logo Maker

DIY logos have become common since the advent of Canva and Wix logo-maker. These tools offer simple templates and drag-and-drop features to emulate a logo.

Insider Tip: These programs are also used by Fiverr "logo designers" to churn out hundreds of logos a day.

From a branding perspective, this can seriously restrict your brand in terms of colors and font choices in the future. Think of your logo as your Snapchat profile.

Once your profile has 100,000 followers, it is hard to move away from it even if you hate its username. That's why getting an appealing username from the get-go is wisest.

Similarly, rebranding can be hard if your business takes off and you discover that the logo looks too tacky or unprofessional. It will cost more to do a logo of a business that is off the ground. It will also be a difficult decision as you will alienate consumers already familiar with your DIY logo.

Pros of DIY or Fiverr Logo Design

Cons of DIY or Fiverr Logo Design

Cost-effective (free or nominal fee)

Your logo isn’t unique

It is almost instant

Your logo can have obvious design errors

No one disagrees with you during the process

​People can tell your logo is made from a template

The above pros and cons also apply to hiring a cheap designer off Fiverr. Some designers charge $5 and have 700 positive reviews. But these are reviews given by logo-buyers, not the market. That is why the design world judges based on awards, not customer reviews.

That said, there are decent graphic designers in the "Fiverr Pro" category.

They should be good enough for your project if they are specialized designers in the logo design space. We will discuss the benefits of hiring a non-specialized professional graphic designer and a specialized logo designer in their respective sections.

2. Hire a Graphic Designer (Non-Specialized)

Graphic design polymaths who do everything from book covers to birthday cards can technically make a logo. They have the design knowledge required to avoid novice errors, but their work isn't market-tested, so they don't know how to represent brands in a way that consumers can accept.

Pros of getting your logo made by a graphic designer

Cons of getting your logo made by a graphic designer

​The service is relatively cheap, ranging from $5 to $299

The vast differences in skill levels of non-specialized graphic designers make it impossible to be sure of the quality

You can get your logo very quickly

Your logo doesn’t get as much attention

You don't have to take a meeting to communicate your ideas (you don't even need to have ideas)

Your logo is treated as any other graphic.

There are no best practices for hiring a non-specialized graphic designer for your logo design because it is impossible to recover from this choice. We don't recommend going this route for a brand logo.

3. Hire a Logo Designer

The Nike Swoosh was designed for $35 in 1971 ($290 in today's money) by the designer Carolyn Davidson. Today the company is worth 26 billion dollars. A bulk of that can be credited to Phil Knight's efforts, alliances, and strategy. But a portion of the credit should go to Davidson, who made the logo that endures today.

The consensus among graphic designers is that the value of the logo, even in 1971, was over $68. She charged less because Nike wasn't exactly thriving, but many argue that she should have requested $33 worth of Nike's stake alongside her $35 fee!

Professional Logo Designers charge $100 to $500 for new business logos, and up to $2,500 for a major corporation logo revamp. The sooner you get a logo from a professional designer, the cheaper it is. Once your business starts operating, the design quote can skyrocket.

Pros of getting a logo designed professionally

Cons of getting a logo designed professionally

​You and the designer might disagree on which logo works for your brand

You will get a unique logo that will unmistakably represent your brand

You might have to wait because good designers can have 50 - 80 orders in the queue

Color psychology and logotype will be considered for you

It can be difficult to tell which designer is a true professional and which one is an amateur

Best practices for hiring a logo designer:

Check their portfolio - Professional designers have portfolios that include established brands' logos and logos that make a positive impression.

Ask for references - A designer who commands a high fee has clients who praise him highly. At a minimum, a designer should be able to present positive reviews on request.

Have a consultation - The above two allow you to see whether a designer is a true professional. A brainstorming session shows you whether he is right for your business. In a consultation, you can see whether the agency is capable of implementing your vision.

4. Hire a Design Agency

If you don't want to go through the hassle of picking an individual logo designer you can trust, you can work with a high-end agency with professional designers on the payroll. The high-end design agencies expand vertically and can offer complete branding and marketing packages.

Other services you can get from a top agency include:

Design Psychology Optimization - Most brand design agencies have a marketing arm. This allows them to design your logo (and brand) based on your audience's psychology.

Data-Driven Branding - Unlike solo designers, agencies have access to data, which allows them to ground branding decisions in tangible indicators that point towards higher sales.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) - Finally, if the agency that's designing your logo also specializes in web design, you're in luck because conversion optimization is a gift that keeps giving. Once your website is optimized, every dollar you spend on ads goes further as more people convert to buyers.

Because the agency's reputation is on the line, it has reasons to maintain strict quality control. Here are the pros and cons of hiring a design agency for your logo:

Pros of getting your logo made by a design agency

Cons of getting your logo made by a design agency

The logo costs less than an individual (professional) logo designer charges

You might not meet the designer

​Your brief is implemented (differences in vision are resolved in your favor)

​An agency charges more than the average (novice) graphic designer

​You can get adjacent services like website development and brand toolkit production

​An agency might require you to take multiple meetings to communicate your ideas, select a direction, etc.

How Do Design Agencies Compare Against Freelance Designers?

It might appear like a freelance designer is cheaper or that you're “cutting out the middle man” when you choose not to work with an agency. In reality, you're cutting out the “quality control man”.

According to reviews on freelance marketplaces, here are the most common complaints clients have regarding freelance designers:

They are great at starting but never finishing - Designers have a very limited capacity dictated by how underpriced their service is. A freelancer charging $5/logo is not going to spend more than 15 minutes on that logo. This creates a dichotomy of rushed logos or logos that never get delivered. And neither option is worth the advantage of a $5 price tag.

They make you feel bad for wanting a revision - Most freelancers offer 'free revisions' out of desperation and then try their best to convince you that their first attempt is the masterpiece that should represent your legacy. When they do agree to a revision, your request gets moved to revision purgatory.

They can take feedback too personally - Finally, you have to walk on eggshells when you talk to a designer about their work. With an agency, you talk to an expert who gets feedback and communicates it in an artist-friendly way to the designer. You have the freedom to be blunt and honest with an agency.

Comparing the above to an agency seems absurd because an agency doesn't have the drawbacks listed above and can offer plenty that individual designers can't. Here are a few such things:

Scalable brand-building - Freelance designers who understand brand-building create their own agencies. The ones you get working solo may churn out pretty pictures only. An agency can help you build a brand that will be scalable.

Online presence optimization - Agencies are very rarely one-trick-ponies, and freelancers are rarely specialist polymaths. You can also get online presence optimization services from design agencies. In contrast, you need to juggle multiple freelancers for your marketing, design, and branding needs.

A background in improving engagement - Finally, most design agencies have enough of a background in online marketing and presence management that their design choices are far more effective.

Best practices for hiring a design agency for your logo: