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Graphic designer custom logo development process drawing sketch

Nov 9, 2016

What to Look for in a Custom Logo Design

Gini Queen headshot
by Gini Queen
Walk down any street, and you will be inundated by logos—whether you like it or not.
Custom logo design is easy to come by these days, but easy does not necessarily mean quality.
Understandably, it can be very tempting to a start-up business with a shoestring budget to get their shiny new logo designed by going to a website that touts “custom logo design starting at $50” or a site that offers “dozens of concepts” via a logo design “contest.” Unfortunately, the old adage of “you get what you pay for” applies in this case (and it’s not good).
There are individuals who devote their entire careers to perfecting the art of logo design. And, in a way, a logo should be viewed as valuable as a “work of art.” When you visit an art museum, there are certain pieces that are more memorable than others. Your company’s logo is an integral part of the brand that is going to stand out in someone’s mind when they see it amongst all the other visual clutter they’re subjected to on a daily basis. Something that important should not be treated with a “well, it’s not what I wanted, but I guess it’s good enough for what I paid” mentality.
There is much more that goes into quality logo design than providing a few descriptors—contemporary or conservative, playful or sophisticated—and getting a handful of designs with what the designer(s) “thought” you meant when you chose those descriptors.
A successful custom logo design is one that has gone through a rigorous discovery phase before pencil is even put to paper. The designer needs to “get inside” your head and understand the background and process of how and why you came to name your company what you did. Other considerations that tie back to reflecting your logo’s individual “personality” include:
  • Color
  • Shape
  • Icon or no icon
  • Font
A professional designer is well aware that sometimes it takes numerous rounds of iterations to arrive at the best logo for your company. It’s a team effort, with your ideas and opinions taken into serious consideration by the designer while they apply their expertise and knowledge to the process.
If you really like the color red, but your business is a day spa that’s all about comfort, a good designer worth their salt will not just give you a red logo because “that’s what you asked for”—rather, they will consider the psychology of color in the options they present, and hopefully explain to you why red would not be a good choice.
Bottom line—you can get a “great deal” on a custom logo design, but it can come with a very expensive lesson if, after you complete all the branding for your new company, it needs to be completely re-done because your logo doesn’t convey the right visual message to the right audience. Make the investment up front for a professional, custom logo from a designer who takes the time to get to know you and your company before putting pencil to paper. 

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