The Wrong Logo Design Will Hurt Your Brand

Last post we talked about how your logo is not a brand. You’re probably wondering why then I am saying that the wrong logo will hurt your brand.

Let’s go back to our metaphor of your business’ voice being more like a choir. Think of the wrong logo as that guy that just rolled out of bed, showed up late, forgot the words, sings the wrong song and isn’t even on key. On top of it, he’s got a solo right at the start of the performance that’s taking place during the Khatsalano street festival.

Based solely on this one person’s performance, within the first minute people are moving on to the next thing. They either don’t like their singing or have heard this song before performed better by someone else. Those that stick around for the rest of the choir, may enjoy it, but will have try to ignore this off-key wrong song guy just to enjoy the good stuff. He’ll continue singing along the entire performance bringing the whole choir down deterring other potential listeners.

Your business’ logo serves just as much importance. A professional logo designer will execute based on your message, elevating it and singing it in tune.

At first glance, sites like 99Designs and Logo Maker, serve this purpose. Their value proposition seems attractive. Either you get the pick of the litter or you create your own from pre-made elements. To top it off, the price is hard to beat. Let’s take a look a closer look at these.

Crowdsourcing negates the most important part of a successful logo: understanding the client’s message fully, and completely. The cursory design brief on these sites does not allow for the designers to be in tune with the choir. And how could it? They will likely get one or two pieces of information like the song, and perhaps the key. But what they are missing is which instrument to use, when to start playing, and the sheet music itself.

The attractive aspect of crowdsourcing is the options. So what if they aren’t quite the right fit for the band. You’ve got hundreds of options to choose from. One of them must be an alright fit, right?

Let’s cool it on the music metaphor for a second and try another gear.

What If you’re starting a food truck. You're thinking about things like your offerings, fridge size, and location. Looking at a bunch of options is like looking for shelving at IKEA. At first it’s exciting but eventually your decision fatigued and your time could be better spent focussing on your strengths. Something will serve the purpose though. It will, and it will be very budget friendly, but wouldn’t it be more effective if someone fully understood your goals and came back to you with the shelf that fit that random nook perfectly and had a built-in spice rack? No more thyme flying around while you drive. That’s not even a problem you knew you had, but the carpenter was able to deduce it after understanding your situation fully. We’re not even mentioning the fact that with an IKEA shelf you still need to do some assembly on your part and the longevity of it is limited.

What’s a little elbow grease?

I have nothing against IKEA— I’ve got plenty of IKEA furniture at home. It works for us and fits our budget. The difference is that I don’t make money from my kitchen table. At least with IKEA the pieces fit together. IKEA’s options are professionally designed. With crowdsourcing it could be anybody’s guess.

It may come to you as no surprise, but I wholly do not recommend using a crowdsourcing platform for your business’ logo. It could be detrimental in the long run and cost you customers.

What will serve you best is a designer that puts the time in to understanding your situation.

Back to our choir metaphor, I mentioned our soloist that sings someone else’s song. I liken this to logo generating platforms like Logo Maker. However, this is a pitfall that any logo can find itself in without proper research and discovery from any designer.

Imagine you're selling hot dogs but there already is an established food truck in your target location, serving similar food. Maybe both your logo’s feature a dachshund with sunglasses. Seems reasonable, dachshunds are pretty cool.

When you first roll up, you may get some business from unsuspecting customers. But sooner or later, they will return to the established vendor when they don’t get what they’ve come to expect. On the flip side, what if your competitor’s truck had a major rat infestation and it began to reflect on your business’ brand by logo association. Customers began thinking you also have rats.

You decide to take a different approach with your logo. What if you featured a beaver because your dogs are 100% Canadian Beef. Suddenly, your business’ brand is local, patriotic, and sustainable. Your business is building its own customers independent of any other vendors because it is focussing on its unique selling proposition. This was always your overall business concept, but until the logo started singing in tune, customers didn’t know it.

The tune has got to be right though. You might be thinking that a hot dog truck with a beaver logo might lead people to believe there is beaver in your hot dogs. There is a good chance it will—unless the tune i.e. execution is right.

How do you get it right? When hiring a logo designer, they should be asking you a ton of questions. If they aren’t, they are either extremely intuitive and telepathic, or may do your brand a disservice. When in doubt, give them more than they ask for. They may not need to know that you have a goldfish named Alfred. Then again, maybe it’s useful for a FishCafé concept. Relay all of your business’ goals and messages and it will be well on its way to having an effective and unique logo design that attracts and retains customers.

September 5, 2016
Posted on 
Author photo in a circle
Kyle Lincoln

Kyle is a logo crafter, avid reader, and writer. His experience expands across a wide spectrum of clients such as Nandos, Shaw Business, and Destination Canada. Growing up, it didn’t take him long to go from doodles to design. Kyle’s previous work in identities for conferences and events left him longing for something more enduring. He’s got a vested interest in helping businesses thrive and an eye for brand incongruences. In Vancouver he can be found scoping out his client’s location and/or the nearest gelateria and is always up to discuss your project or favourite flavour.

Last post we talked about how your logo is not a brand. You’re probably wondering why then I am saying that the wrong logo will hurt your brand.

Let’s go back to our metaphor of your business’ voice being more like a choir. Think of the wrong logo as that guy that just rolled out of bed, showed up late, forgot the words, sings the wrong song and isn’t even on key. On top of it, he’s got a solo right at the start of the performance that’s taking place during the Khatsalano street festival.

Based solely on this one person’s performance, within the first minute people are moving on to the next thing. They either don’t like their singing or have heard this song before performed better by someone else. Those that stick around for the rest of the choir, may enjoy it, but will have try to ignore this off-key wrong song guy just to enjoy the good stuff. He’ll continue singing along the entire performance bringing the whole choir down deterring other potential listeners.

Your business’ logo serves just as much importance. A professional logo designer will execute based on your message, elevating it and singing it in tune.

At first glance, sites like 99Designs and Logo Maker, serve this purpose. Their value proposition seems attractive. Either you get the pick of the litter or you create your own from pre-made elements. To top it off, the price is hard to beat. Let’s take a look a closer look at these.

Crowdsourcing negates the most important part of a successful logo: understanding the client’s message fully, and completely. The cursory design brief on these sites does not allow for the designers to be in tune with the choir. And how could it? They will likely get one or two pieces of information like the song, and perhaps the key. But what they are missing is which instrument to use, when to start playing, and the sheet music itself.

The attractive aspect of crowdsourcing is the options. So what if they aren’t quite the right fit for the band. You’ve got hundreds of options to choose from. One of them must be an alright fit, right?

Let’s cool it on the music metaphor for a second and try another gear.

What If you’re starting a food truck. You're thinking about things like your offerings, fridge size, and location. Looking at a bunch of options is like looking for shelving at IKEA. At first it’s exciting but eventually your decision fatigued and your time could be better spent focussing on your strengths. Something will serve the purpose though. It will, and it will be very budget friendly, but wouldn’t it be more effective if someone fully understood your goals and came back to you with the shelf that fit that random nook perfectly and had a built-in spice rack? No more thyme flying around while you drive. That’s not even a problem you knew you had, but the carpenter was able to deduce it after understanding your situation fully. We’re not even mentioning the fact that with an IKEA shelf you still need to do some assembly on your part and the longevity of it is limited.

What’s a little elbow grease?

I have nothing against IKEA— I’ve got plenty of IKEA furniture at home. It works for us and fits our budget. The difference is that I don’t make money from my kitchen table. At least with IKEA the pieces fit together. IKEA’s options are professionally designed. With crowdsourcing it could be anybody’s guess.

It may come to you as no surprise, but I wholly do not recommend using a crowdsourcing platform for your business’ logo. It could be detrimental in the long run and cost you customers.

What will serve you best is a designer that puts the time in to understanding your situation.

Back to our choir metaphor, I mentioned our soloist that sings someone else’s song. I liken this to logo generating platforms like Logo Maker. However, this is a pitfall that any logo can find itself in without proper research and discovery from any designer.

Imagine you're selling hot dogs but there already is an established food truck in your target location, serving similar food. Maybe both your logo’s feature a dachshund with sunglasses. Seems reasonable, dachshunds are pretty cool.

When you first roll up, you may get some business from unsuspecting customers. But sooner or later, they will return to the established vendor when they don’t get what they’ve come to expect. On the flip side, what if your competitor’s truck had a major rat infestation and it began to reflect on your business’ brand by logo association. Customers began thinking you also have rats.

You decide to take a different approach with your logo. What if you featured a beaver because your dogs are 100% Canadian Beef. Suddenly, your business’ brand is local, patriotic, and sustainable. Your business is building its own customers independent of any other vendors because it is focussing on its unique selling proposition. This was always your overall business concept, but until the logo started singing in tune, customers didn’t know it.

The tune has got to be right though. You might be thinking that a hot dog truck with a beaver logo might lead people to believe there is beaver in your hot dogs. There is a good chance it will—unless the tune i.e. execution is right.

How do you get it right? When hiring a logo designer, they should be asking you a ton of questions. If they aren’t, they are either extremely intuitive and telepathic, or may do your brand a disservice. When in doubt, give them more than they ask for. They may not need to know that you have a goldfish named Alfred. Then again, maybe it’s useful for a FishCafé concept. Relay all of your business’ goals and messages and it will be well on its way to having an effective and unique logo design that attracts and retains customers.

September 5, 2016
Posted on 
Author photo in a circle
Kyle Lincoln

Kyle is a logo crafter, avid reader, and writer. His experience expands across a wide spectrum of clients such as Nandos, Shaw Business, and Destination Canada. Growing up, it didn’t take him long to go from doodles to design. Kyle’s previous work in identities for conferences and events left him longing for something more enduring. He’s got a vested interest in helping businesses thrive and an eye for brand incongruences. In Vancouver he can be found scoping out his client’s location and/or the nearest gelateria and is always up to discuss your project or favourite flavour.

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