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  1. Interesting post. True enough that logo builds a personal and emotional link between a company and its customers. A good logo is worth a thousand words. (Re-adapted from quote “a picture is worth a thousand words”) It’s THE first step to brand recognition. Some questions though. Do businesses usually come up with their logos on their own or they pay professionals who study and take requirements from the businesses to design the logos for them? If so, what are some people/businesses that you would recommend for a logo design?

    1. Hi Carrie, In answer to your first question, I think people do both. I know I have. I strongly believe that if you have any budget at all, you should try to find a designer to work with. Lots of designers understand the challenges of small businesses with modest budgets.

      A good designer will work with you to understand what your product/service is, who your ideal customer is and what your long range goals are. In my experience, the designer that I worked with (on a product launch unrelated to this blog) had ideas and asked questions that brought valuable insight into our marketing strategy. By tapping into her experience, she added value beyond her design expertise.

      The designer who I worked with (several years ago) has since retired. I now recommend Dennis Salvatier (the author of this post). You can check out his portfolio and contact him via his website: http://salvatierstudios.com/.

      1. Thank you for your explanatory response Sherryl. I appreciate your help. It’s comforting to know that designers will actually patiently listen to small businesses’ requests, including financial ones. I looked into Dennis Salvatier’s porforlio, all of the logos look amazing. Thank you for your help!

  2. Indeed Branding is as important as the products or services you offer. It’s what differentiate you from everyone else offering similar services etc. I really think that logos are the key for sure! You need a logo that is like none other and that people can relate to as well. Thanks for sharing the great post! I will be passing this on to my staff at Garage Doors Tampa.

    1. Thanks James. I’m glad that you liked Dennis’ guest post. I’ve been following him for over a year now. (We met online.) I know that he works very closely with his clients throughout the creative process. That’s so important.

  3. Great post.
    The good news is that getting a great logo on sites like 99 Designs is pretty cheap nowadays.

    However, I think if you’re just starting out, you’ll probably be better off getting a cheap logo on Fiverr. Once your website or business gets more popular, you can always invest more money.

    I know plenty of people who spent $2000 on getting a new site and logo designed and their new business never ended up taking off.

    1. Hi John,
      The risk that people take when they go for a “cheap” design is that they risk the opportunity to build brand recognition that truly reflects what their company is and what they stand for. What differentiates a good graphic designer from someone who is looking at your logo as a quick way to earn some cash is that a professional designer will take the time to understand your product/service and your target market. Using clipart or a generic graphic that is all over the web will not differentiate a business in any way. It’s true that an investment in hiring a professional does not guarantee your success but it certainly positions you better. You don’t have to spend $2000 for a graphic design. Many designers are open to working with small businesses with limited budgets.

  4. I still believe logos are important for starters as much as for established businesses. Like what you said, logos are there for brand relationship. Once you have created a logo that customers can easily associate with the kind of service or quality you deliver, it won’t be a trouble introducing new products and gathering as much interests.

    1. Hi Mae,
      That’s a good description about customers being able to associate your logo with the kind of service and quality that we deliver. That’s why I believe it’s so important to work with a professional who really invests the time into understanding our individual business needs. Thanks for joining the conversation.

  5. I think everyone that is interested in going into business for themselves one day should have a logo… a lot of bloggers do a great job of this. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Small business should use a logo because logo is a great tool in communicating your business’ message to your potential clients/customers. It represent your business and makes it more memorable than your competitors.

    1. Logos are important to our image. It’s equally important to not tarnish our image by using clip art of something that sends the message that our brand isn’t important. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Danica.

  7. I really like the new face of starbucks, although it doesn’t contain big changes, but it moved the brand profile in a positive way, I think. Logos are the most important and most markable sign of a brand, a good logo could sell the whole brand.

  8. Logo is super important not only for small businesses but also for us bloggers.
    Our avatar is one of our logos. Our face is our identity on the web. It’s unique and easily recognizable. It’s is like the swoosh for Nike.

    great post
    thanks for the share!

    Akos

    1. Akos, Thanks for mentioning how important it is to have our profile pics as our avatar. That plays such an important part in building recognition online.

      (For those of you reading this and you don’t have a profile pic that automatically pops up when you leave a comment, I strongly recommend going to Gravatar.com and registering for a free globally recognized avatar. All you need is your email address, your website URL and a profile pic to upload.)

  9. Indeed having a logo is very helpful to promote business. Like nestley, pepsi and many more they become more famous because of their catchy log and I think having a logo nowadays is not hard and expensive because of the technology we have right now. I thinks you can even make your own if you know how to photoshop. 🙂

  10. Indeed Branding is as important as the products or services you offer. It’s what differentiate you from everyone else offering similar services etc.

  11. Hey Dennis,

    You are absolutely right. Till now I used Fiverr designers to design my logos for me (Some of them were great, but they weren’t “awesome” and memorable). Right now, I am spending any money on professional designing, as I have planned to change my domain name, but once I have done that, I will surely spend some time on hiring a professional designer.

    I will keep your name in mind 😀

    Thanks for the awesome post!

    1. I welcome the opportunity, my friend. If anything, I can help guide you in the right direction. I don’t just design and handle my clients, I also educate people on what design is and the things to watch out for. There are many websites out there that present themselves as something they’re not and sell you service. Best of luck!

    2. Thanks for weighing in on this Jeevan. One of my clients purchased a logo from Fiverr and it’s simply standard clip art with her business name. There is nothing special or identifying about it. Actually, I often see that same graphic used on blog posts. Professionally designed logos can really help a business stand out. Good luck with your business!

  12. Hi Sherryl, have you ever used Guru before? You’re given the opportunity to look at past work to get a clear understanding of what kind of logo you’re going to receive and at the price point offered by the freelancer. Meaning if you just spend a little time you’ll be able to find someone whose work fits perfectly with what you’re trying to accomplish. It also means you might find someone who is in a niche that does work like what you’re looking for all the time. Which would mean creating said product for you wouldn’t take them all that long. Which means they would probably do it for you at a reasonable price. I’m not sure how this would be considered offensive to anyone at all…

    1. Hi Charles,
      No. I have not used Guru before. Can you tell what country the designer is from? I prefer to do business with people in the U.S. even if it means paying more. The graphic designer who I’ve worked with in the past is a member of our local chapter of the Chamber of Commerce and we were both members of BNI. I’m just a huge advocate of working with people who I have developed relationships with. Lots of professionals offer their services at affordable prices to small businesses. It’s just a matter of preference. I’m glad you’re happy with Guru.

      1. You absolutely can. Working with people you have relationships with is certainly a big plus. If you know someone who can do it, god bless. Sometimes it’s difficult for those starting out with no contacts who are bootstrapping their way through starting up. To those people I’d suggest a service like Guru, there are plenty of others, because it increases your options when you’re just beginning.

    2. Assuming that something shouldn’t take very long is a pet peeve of every designer of any level and US offensive. You’re saying that the work isn’t skilled so it should be easy to do.

      And I think you’re missing Sherryl’s point about this type of marketing strategy. This isn’t about price. Logo designers design based on the need of the brand not the need of the client and his/her budget, which is what you’re stuck on. And for the record, not all graphic designers are logo designers. And the ones you find on Guru, are looking for a quick buck to pay bills. They’re not concerned with your brand or it’s success. So if they’re low-balling themselves, they’re low-balling your brand. I hope that helps.

      1. If you want to have a pet peeve about people making assumptions about your work that’s certainly something you are entitled to. That doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen with 9 out of 10 clients. It’s business and they’re looking to get the best cost for their money. I don’t like it when it happens to me, but I don’t get offended. I try hard not to get offended by business. If they’re insufferable about it I tell them I’m sorry I can’t help them and tell them to have a nice day.

        I’m well aware of the difference in graphic designers. I’m not sure what you mean about the need of the brand. It’s also fairly judgmental to make a sweeping prejudice about every freelancer on Guru. I’ve worked with several and I’ve never had a bad experience. They were always polite, professional, and looking to do the work I requested.

        This was merely an attempt to add to the conversation by suggesting an option for someone who didn’t have direct access to someone to do their logo work for them. And while I’m not sure why exactly that was offensive, I do apologize if it has caused duress to anyone. Just a suggestion.

        1. We’re just having a conversation here, Charles. You can relax. I’m simply stating that when I see people bidding $250 for a logo and a designer accepts that amount, he or she is not going to give you their best work. You get what you pay for. And when you pay $250 (for example), it will look like $250. http://twitpic.com/8sisa1

          I’m glad you enjoy Guru. Judging by your website, you use them a lot.

          1. Now we’re name calling, huh? Stay classy buddy. Judging by your blog you spend quite a bit of time despising the clients that put money in your pocket.

            Sum up: You’re a jerk and I don’t want to talk to you anymore. I won’t have that problem in the future, best of luck with all your endeavors. Godspeed.

    3. Oh, boy.. Are you wrong. I admit, I tried using Guru once, or twice. The experience was horrible. It’s like handing a 6 year old a crayon and say: “Draw me a logo and you’ll get a cookie”. Communication skills of most Guru users (especially the third-world “on the cheap” users) are poor to non-existant, let alone the work they deliver.

      It’s kindof a “shitty deal” if you’re marketing the crap out of your new logo that you got for $99, only to find out the logo has been used by someone else for years.

      Stay away from Guru!

      1. Firsthand experience that Guru is less than dependable. Thank you for chiming in, Mark. I only want to help steer people away from a possible bad experience. And your last point makes perfect sense.

      2. Mark,
        Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Hearing from others who have actually used a service or product is extremely helpful. You may have helped convince someone that Guru (and other similar services) may not be the best route to go. As Dennis pointed out in his article, your logo is a critical component in your brand. It needs to be treated as an investment, not an expense. I really appreciate your input.

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  14. Luckily now there are so many resources out there to get a logo made for you on the cheap. I’m a big fan of Guru as you can create the job and then have the people in the field you select come to you with examples/prices for what they can deliver. Excellent service.

    1. Charles, I’m a little surprised that you advocate outsourcing having a logo designed “on the cheap”. As Dennis pointed out in a previous reply, there is a huge difference between a designer who is working through sites like Guru and a designer who works from a small customer focused design firm.

      I caution people not only about creating their own logos but also outsourcing to sites where the designers are competing to provide their services at the lowest price. When we make business decisions based on price alone, we’re taking a risk. The least expensive solution may not be the best in the long run and branding is a critical component of a marketing plan. At best, outsourcing your graphic design to a low-cost company could be a short term solution for someone who is really cash strapped. (I certainly would not advise someone to not start their business because they can’t afford to invest in a logo.) If someone is investing in a new business, hiring a graphic designer should be taken into consideration.

  15. designing a Logo for your company is a great idea and it does not cost much because as a small business owner we can easily create a one for our business and identity. Logo is must these days to give a shape and name to your brand. great inspiring post.

  16. Well written Sherry. You can visit 99designs.com for a good deal when it comes to branding. You will find some of the best designers there and they are also affordable.

    1. 99 designs does charge $99 dollars for a logo, but to call it a logo would be like calling a Scion a luxury car. Not only are the designers not designers, but they have been known to plagiarize professional designer’s hard work. Their “designers” are from third world countries and get paid cents a day to use adobe software. That’s the equivalent of me saying I’m a professional carpenter and home builder simply because I have a garage full of tools.

      Many people end up receiving seize and desist letters from copyright holders who are angry that their logo is being used without permission. If you’re reading this, do not use them or any other Crowdsourcing company you get told will give you a deal. If it sounds to good to be true, it is.

    2. Eddie,
      What you get for $99 (or $5 on Fiverr) is not the same as a logo that is designed specifically for you. For $99, that “designer” is more interested in selling a graphic as a commodity. It’s more of a one-size fits all product to them. If they don’t sell that design to you, they can recycle it and try to sell it to the next potential customer.

      I have worked with a professional designer on a logo before. It took hours of communicating back and forth to ensure that she truly understood our product and our customers. The resulting design was unique to us. As Dennis mentioned, that logo was an investment in our business.

  17. As you know Dennis I agree with your thoughts on brand identity and logos. Large companies spend time and money on their logos because they know it will be across many elements and media and helps to convey the brand’s positioning. It is not done on a whim and always by designers who specialise in this area.

    With today’s global market I think small businesses in this case need to think like larger companies regarding their logo.

    1. Susan,
      I agree with you completely that we need to think like larger companies. Serious businesses never present themselves with logos that consists of stock graphics or clip art. A brand should communicate the value that our business has to offer. If our first impression gives the perception that we don’t believe in our business enough to invest in our brand, we’re immediately putting ourselves at a disadvantage.

  18. Thanks for a motivating post, Dennis. I appreciate everything that you have shared here. I’m just starting off as a small business owner online and we don’t have a logo yet. I was planning to have one made later this year but I guess I should be doing it soon. True enough, anything that we spend for in a business should be treated as an investment because as owners we are expecting a good return in the long run.

    1. Great to hear! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ran into entrepreneurs who want to get as much as they can for free. I once told a guy that wanted to me to create his brand identity for free (and promised me a million referrals and connections) that if he thinks he’s ever going to conduct any business in his career, he’s doing it wrong. He didn’t appreciate it, but when I see his website he looks just as unprofessional as he presented himself in person. Best of luck!

      1. Attitude really plays a big part in handling a business – be it online or not. Before one can professionalize his/her business, he/she has to be professional too.

        1. Absolutely! Everything we do is either a relationship builder or a relationship destroyer. Both online and off, we need to remain professional.

          (Where did your gravatar go Mike? Did you comment using a different email address aother than the one that you registered with Gravatar?)

    2. Mike,
      Small businesses need to think strategically and implement some of the same practices that larger businesses practice if they have hopes of being truly successful. We all should start by having some sort of business plan. A business plan will help us to focus on key elements like who our target customer is and how our product/service meets their need/want. By having a plan and understanding our business, we can save ourselves time and money. As Dennis says, our brand depends upon being able to establish an emotional connection with our customers and clients.

      Thanks for taking the time to join our conversation. 🙂

  19. Dennis, you can compete with any big design firm in LA or NY — and I should know because I’ve worked for big agencies here in the Big Apple, where I live and work. My logo was designed by a wonderful designer that I’ve collaborated with on projects. Like you, for years he and a partner owned a small creative design firm and did wonderful work. Luis designed the ubiquitous Metro card used on NY subways and buses. I always tell people that because I think it’s such an accomplishment and he always responds that he would have tweaked it this way and that! Designers are never completely happy with the finished product, I’ve learned.

    I’d like to add another definition to the mix and that is Corporate Identity. Corporate identity is the visual expression of the organization’s name, logo, and tagline. All of these influence how a company is perceived in the marketplace. I’m very pleased with my logo and masthead. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. Nothing I did. I owe it to my designer. And every entrepreneur owes to himself or herself to have a professionally designed logo that represents who they are. It’s good for your business.

    1. Jeannette,
      You raise an excellent point when you mention Corporate Identity. Perception plays a critical part in how a business is received. That’s one of the reasons that it’s so important to have a professionally designed logo that reflects our brand. I’m amazed when people will invest time and money into a website and then use clip art or license a stock graphic that other people can use. That simply dilutes your brand and puts you at a disadvantage before you even begin. You invested in your identity and it’s serving you well.

  20. Great points in your article. However, lately I’m seeing a trend for business owners to use their face as their logo. I see it on websites, social media thumbnails etc. Even when they have business name (other than their own) and a great logo – they’re saying that it’s best to establish yourself as a brand.

    With a background in marketing this is bizarre to me unless your business name is YOUR name. To me it shows lack of professionalism but I’d love to hear everyone’s feedback. What are everyone’s thoughts on this?

    1. Most times I’d say that using yourself as a brand is not the way to go, but there are times people transcend traditional branding strategies and become something more personalized. For example Seth Godin or Tony Robbins. Their selling their expertise and ideas and are well established in the social conscious. That’s why it works.

      But if you’re selling services or a product, I’d say stick with more traditional strategies in the beginning.

    2. Elizabeth,
      I think brands can be built around a person. Martha Stewart and Kathy Ireland immediately come to mind. However, those examples are where product lines have been branded. For those of us who are branding services, we run the risk of being identified as the service.

      It’s good to be recognized as an authority but if we tie our business too closely to ourselves, it makes it extremely difficult to have an exit strategy. I want Keep Up With the Web to be recognized as a resource without my always having to be the sole provider. I’m connecting with people and building relationships on an individual level while at the same time establishing the KeepUpWeb brand. So, my social media user ID is KeepUpWeb and my profile pic is of me.

      This is a great discussion. I hope other people weigh in on this as well.

  21. Agree with your point Dennis…Every small business has the potential to grow big and become another Starbucks…And brand identity is crucial whether you are a small business or growing into a big corporate. And its easier and perhaps could be a bit more economical when you have done your re-branding while the business is small than when you grow big…What do you think!?

    1. Great question, Raj. Salvatier Studios is an independent creative services company. We are nowhere near the size of the major agencies in LA or New York, and we like it that way. But our fundamentals and quality are the same and at a fraction of the price. So I advise small business owners to create a relationship with a design boutique like mine, and continue that relationship as their company grows. It’s cost effective during those first 5 years and you’ll get more personalized service.

  22. Dennis-

    A logo is a great idea for small business owner. I think it’s imperative. Number one it doesn’t cost much and you can even design it yourself but it offers branding to your name or product and that can be invaluable.

    Thanks for the great read.

    sean

    1. Sean,

      Doing your own logo might seem like a good idea, but I advise everyone against it. That’s like me fixing my own transmission or doing my own triple bypass. Your brand is a serious tool that will represent you for years to come. Don’t leave it up to yourself and a crack copy or Photoshop. Hire a pro and reap the rewards.

  23. No doubt that a brand is an investment. I love what it does to convey professionalism and imply a message. What I appreciate most about this post is the connection of a brand to emotion. Emotions sell and are worth hooking.

    1. Keyuri,
      Years ago, I worked with a professional designer for a new business that we were launching. Before she even agreed to work with us, she ensured that we understood the key concepts behind our business, most importantly who was our customer and what were the benefits that we were trying to convey to them. True professionals like Dennis go way beyond their design skills to ensure that the brand fits with our overall marketing strategies. Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know that you enjoyed Dennis’ article.

  24. I think logos and branding are important to make your website/business recognizable and serious.
    I have not been the best in branding my own sites, but I have sketched down a draft for a logo on the WordPress Blog Magazine.
    Next week I plan to do the graphical design in 3d for the logo.
    I will probably also make a tutorial where I show the process from draft to final logo.

    1. Bjorn,
      Dennis has posted articles where he has walked us through the entire process of creating a brand starting with his initial talks with the business owner. He’s even solicited our opinions before and we’ve had a chance to vote on the logo that resonated the best with us. It’s enlightening to see what goes into the thought process and strategy that unfolds behind the scenes. Good luck with your logo!

    2. Actually, Bjorn, a website is just another tool in an overall marketing strategy, so the logo doesn’t serve the website, it serves the entire brand.

      Many small business owners think they’re saving money by “designing” a logo (or any collateral, for that matter) themselves, but they’re actually costing themselves future sales, because customers can automatically tell when something is professionally done or not. When designing a logo, it’s a lot like raising a child. You want to do right by them and help them to stand strong on their own, not live vicariously through them and impose your likes and dislikes.

  25. Agree with you Dennis. Branding is a must no matter how small your company is. And a logo enabling instant recognition is essential.

    What would McDonalds and Coca Cola be without their logos? Obviously when you are a small company it will take a long time before your logo is as famous as those two. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. Once upon a time they were also small and nobody knew what their logo stood for.

    GAP is a great example of how important a logo is and that you may try to change it at your perill.

    1. Hi Catarina,
      I like how Dennis talks about brand “relationships” as well as brand awareness. I’m always impressed by companies that have incorporated their tag lines into their marketing campaigns as well. “Good to the last drop” and the “quicker picker upper” pop into my mind along with the logo for the brand. The total package is so important.