Do you need a logo? Like, really need one? Go ahead and mull it over for a minute. What do you think?
The answer is yes. And no. Well, actually, maybe.
Nobody wants to be boring. Especially if you’re operating online where the game is eye candy.
You want to stand out. Get noticed.
You want to look like a legitimate professional and be the envy of all your friends and competitors.
You want to be the one with the fancy logo.
Sure, a fancy logo is nice, but is it necessary?
Me thinks not.
What does a logo actually do, anyway?
In its simplest form, a logo identifies something. But remember, your logo is not your brand; it’s merely a visual element used to identify it.
A logo can help:
- you look professional
- customers remember you
- you stand out amongst your competitors
Yes, all of the above is true, a logo can do those things. But who’s to say you can’t do them without one?
Let’s consider some real life examples.
Think about a few well-known people. Can you picture what their logos look like? Is that why they’re well known to you?
Do you know what Tony Robbins’ logo looks like?
How about Suzanne Somers (assuming you’re old enough to know who she is)?
How about Annie Liebovitz?
By now you’ve likely clicked on all those people and noticed that none of them have a fancy logo. Hell, Annie Liebovitz doesn’t even have a website!
All three of them are quite well known in their own right, and also quite successful. And though they are individual people, they are also businesses, both service and product based. And none of them have a “logo”.
Think of three more well-known businesses who’s logos instantly come to mind.
Why do these logos instantly come to mind? And what’s the difference from the previous example?
This latter group are not individuals, but rather, companies; comprised of many, many people. Corporations, with large numbers, complicated organizational charts, and often multiple locations both online and off.
For these kinds of large entities, having a single mark that represents them makes sense. It allows changes to be made internally, such as taking on a new CFO or restructuring positions and titles, without affecting outward perception. But though these companies have highly recognizable logos, that’s not usually the reason a consumer chooses to purchase from them.
So how do you know if you need a logo?
It’s not quite as simple as “I have a new business idea.”
You probably don’t need a logo if…
- your business is more of a hobby. Most of your customers are friends and family and you’re still working a full-time job.
- you’re just starting out and are still experimenting, figuring out exactly what you do and for whom. In my experience, the first 1-3 years is a big crap shoot and FULL of change. You’re better off solidifying your business idea and customer base first, then exploring design.
- your products or services are very tied to you personally and your name is what you’re known by; like a life coach or chef.
- you’re strapped for cash and don’t have money or time to invest in logo development.
You probably could use a logo if you…
- want your business to be bigger than just yourself and want to position it as a brand represented by a collection of people. You might even consider selling it one day.
- are investigating a website design and development but don’t have a logo. The logo should really come before (or in conjunction) with the website as it helps define the full breath of your brand’s visual identity (colors, fonts, etc.).
- have a business that is successfully serving customers and you are ready to up-level, investing both time and money.
A good logo should be simple, timeless, and memorable (as well as versatile and appropriate for the business), taking into account the values and personality of the business, as well as the intended message it’s trying to communicate and products or services it signifies.
With that, there’s a lot more that goes into creating an effective logo than many people think. Good logo design, from a professional designer, takes time (on both the part of the designer and the business owner) and is often a significant financial investment.
So what do you do if you’re in the ‘probably don’t need a logo’ camp?
Your business is something you want to feel proud of and confident in how you’re being represented. Luckily for you, there’s a whole slew of tools out there for non-designers to help you look—and feel—legit.
A simple, clean typeface treatment for your business name (as seen with the examples above) is possibly all you need and something that can tied you over until you’re ready to make a bigger investment. While it may not have the impact of a professionally designed logo, it’s a much more preferable solution to a design job that you end up regretting in a year’s time.
Here’s a few options to create a simple, good-enough-for-now logo; best part is they’re super low cost or free (my second favorite word).
- DIY with Google Drawings (brilliance from Caroline at Made Vibrant)
- Tailor Brands
- Squarespace Logo
Now before I get crucified, I know that most designers hate these tools as they think it cheapens the industry and gives the impression that good design is like a Staples easy button. But I disagree. I think there are options of all kinds, all sizes, and all price points and these are great for people in the very early stages or who just want to dick around for a while. They’re not for everyone, nor should they be. And they don’t replace working one-on-one with a professional designer.
If you find yourself in the latter camp and want/need a professionally designed logo, contact me.
No, like seriously: CONTACT ME.
I’m great at guiding people in the right direction and reading between the lines of what you’re saying to get to the heart of what’s really important. And I happily customize every project to suit your specific needs.
Have other questions about whether or not you need a logo? Let’s have a drink and talk about it.
Disagree with my perspective? Hit me up on Twitter and tell me why! While I often claim to be right with my husband (happy wife, happy life), I love to hear different perspectives when it comes to design.