The $99 Logo: Why You Shouldn’t Cut Corners With A Cheap Logo Design

The importance of a logo design

Whether starting a new business or updating an established brand, having a logo to visually represent your company is an important business tool. Your logo is the first impression potential customers have – so make sure you are sending the right message.

Let’s take a moment to understand, what a logo is and what goes into creating a truly successful one. Your logo is an extension of your brand – it is mean to convey, quickly and succinctly, not only what your company does, but also the personality and values it holds. It is meant to appeal to a designated target market and leave a lasting, memorable impression that separates you from your competition.

There are many online companies that provide logos at a discounted rate, and it may be tempting to cut corners in attempt to save money. Selecting a “winning” design from a hosted logo contest or a trying a “DIY” logo website may seem appealing but I would urge strongly against the draw of “cheap and easy”. Your logo, the visual representation of your brand, is not the place to cut corners. Online forums and logo contests do not deliver logos that meet the criteria for a successful logo – original, memorable, meaningful, scalable.

“free” logo site that asks questions about industry and requested style.
“low cost” logo site that gives you a choice of icon, shape and font with options to adjust.

  1. Consulting – to get a real, first-hand understanding of who they are and how they want to be perceived, a designer works with each client to create a Design Brief
  2. Research – to understand the industry as well as the company’s competitors
  3. Reference – Researching existing successful logos from within the same industry as well as logos that fit the style and feel of what the client had specified in their initial conversations
  4. Concepting – The designer will create a number of thumbnail sketches, on paper, based on the design brief. This is a crucial part of the process. Going straight to the computer does not allow for solid exploration of the logo design, and it also is prohibitive in being able to create something truly unique when it comes to shapes and typography.
  5. Finalizing and presenting – the designer will usually come up with significantly more concepts than they will present. Often times we need to get through the expected to discover the unique and unexpected. The designer will go through the process and then at the end, select the top few to show the client.

Each of the five steps take time and expertise. Buying a logo online through a design contest-style website does not allow for the proper communication needed with a designer. Or even worse, you may be forced to select from a pre-existing library of images. Because these images are not unique, nor were they created specifically for your company’s needs, there is a very good chance that another company (in the same or totally different industry) will end up having the same mark. Probably not a detail highlighted in the fine print! Either way, you are missing out on the crucial parts of the process – really understanding what the logo needs to say and who it needs to say it to.

Think about some of the most famous company logos. Well defined brands understand that their visual presence, their logo, must communicate on multiple levels. Whether it’s the Golden Arches that cleverly mimic the shape of French fries, or the iconic mermaid of the Starbucks logo, or the subtle arrow within the FedEx logo, these marks are easily identifiable and they are timeless. They have lasted, in some cases, for decades. They may have received a facelift over the years, but their visual impact and meaning is the same.

While a “discount design” website may deliver a cheap logo file, it will not be able to deliver a logo that is truly memorable, unique, and an accurate representation of your organization. If you are looking to stand out from your competition, a thoughtfully created logo based on a thorough understanding of the industry, target market, and specific culture and values of your organization is what you need. If you are considering a rebrand, do yourself a favor and hire a professional who will consult with you, research and reference your competitors and your industry, create unique concepts and present your organization with a valuable marketing tool.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

About the Author