Reposted from September 2015 when MLAB was a sole operator called Structure Marketing
It occured to me recently that my logo was awful. Not just bad but awful. It felt home-made (because it was) and really, as a marketing consultant, that was unacceptable! A logo is your public face. It communicates what you are about. My old logo was akin to turning up to a new business opportunity in stubbies and jandals.
But I'm a small business. A very simple small business. As the sole proprietor and the most valuable (ok, only) employee, I am also the brand. How I act, operate, appear and interact with clients and others, as regards my business, affects how they perceive the quality and value of my offering.
My logo however wasn't in tune with my brand. It didn't say strong yet playful. Experienced and knowledgeable. It didn't connote detailed yet flexible. It just went blagh. And blagh wasn't good enough.
At the same time as my epiphany I had just wrapped work with a couple of clients on their logos and brands.
For one, we engaged a very talented independent designer and designed a gorgeous logo and brand identity. For the other, we went online and crowd-sourced. The design method chosen for each client reflected their individual needs, the relative complexity of their brand and offering, and their business model
As I mentioned above, my offering is simple. So I thought, let's try the most simple, cost-effective otion on the market. Fiverr. What could I get for a Fiverr.
Just to add to the fun and the process though, I opted to do an experiment while I was there.
I searched and searched for two good designers (based on ratings, reviews and previous work). I briefed each, pointing them to my current website for further detail. And that's where the fair aspect of this experiment ended.
To the first designer, the brief was loose, poorly formed, utterly unconsidered and directionless. Somehow, possibly miraculously, this designer turned out a logo for a fiver. But it wasn't awesome. I didn't tingle. I didn't even do a small gulp. I just looked and said "thanks" and moved on.
Then I wrote a second brief to another designer. This time, I thought hard and formulated a sharp, snappy brief that talked about how I wanted to be perceived and what I wanted the logo to communicate (you could argue, I gave the designer my brand values!) I provided references to other logos that resonated with me. I gave colour cues and direction.
The second designer nailed it. For a fiver I got a new logo that I felt was a perfect visual representation for Structure Marketing, the brand, at this point.
This experiement gave me three very valuable insights.
- There is no excuse for having an awful, poorly designed logo when you can get something quite lovely, that is appropriate for your brand needs, for a fiver.
- It's ok to go for a cost-effective option when sourcing a logo - in fact it's great - but know your brand first. Even the best designers in the world can't deliver a great result if you don't know what you are about.
- Know when you need just a logo and when you need a fully fledged brand developed. Fiverr (or similar low value propositions will only give you a logo. A visual ID - a true brand position - that takes time and effort, and experience.
Working with an independent graphic designer will give you a more definitive understanding of your brand. Some products, services and offerings absolutely demand this. If you're not sure, engage an expert to help you decide.
When it comes to logos and brands, spend what you need and know what you need to spend.
This time I got mine for a Fiverr. Next time, the cards may be stacked differently and the stakes too high. Who knows. Watch this space.