Wednesday, June 06, 2007

OK, Now I Don't Feel So Guilty

Cyber Data Solutions LogoWhen I was updating the Cyber Data Solutions website, I decided to "go cheap" and whip up my own logo. I thought that, maybe someday, I could afford to have a professional do a better job.

Then I read Seth Godin's post today.

Seth just wrote up a great piece about the nature of company logos. Some of the most powerful corporate images in history are among the simplest and cheapest and have no real inherent meaning to them (how does the Nike "swoop" represent athletic shoes?). His advice is that if you must come up with a company logo, don't try to make it mean anything, don't pay a ton of money, "Just Do It".

Then make the brand into something special.

So, I've decided to stop feeling guilty about my home-grown logo. Now maybe I'll just stick with what I have and make my company into the best in the world!

Thank you, Seth!

So, what do you think of my logo?

12 comments:

seth godin said...

What does it --feel-- like?

is it an empty vessel that can take the brand you pour into it, or does it have a shape and feel that already has a voice?

Emma said...

Seeing as I design logos for a living, I tend to lean toward the side of having a professional do what they do best. Logo designers aren't great bloggers, but they sure are good at what they do. There are exceptions of course.

Still, I have to say that the 2012 London Olympics logo isn't much to talk about. I've definitely seen much better icons used to depict the event. For some reason, each city feels compelled to make the Olympic logo their own which is assinine. It is what is.

I'd like to add that the only logo of the three that Seth mentioned, only one of those was cheap. :)

Greg Peters said...

@seth godin:
Thanks for the response. What does it feel like? Good question. For me it doesn't really feel like anything in particular -- other than perhaps a representation of my overly-analytical mind. I guess upon examining it, it does have a faint resemblance to a caduceus, but given my goal is to "rescue people from their own websites", that probably isn't completely out of line.

Greg Peters said...

@emma
Thank you for your comments.

Perhaps you could better help me understand the benefits of having a professional logo designer work with me. What sort of process would we go through? Would a designer try to generate symbols from scratch? Would they work with my existing image?

How would I measure the difference in the results?

Adriana said...

Unfortunately Seth Godin set the tone that you don't need a professional design your logo. I agree with the part that you build meaning around the image. But a difficult image to start with won't even have an opportunity or make it easy to build the brand 'values' around it.

The NIKE logo I am sure that if instead of 'drawing' a fast moving swoosh, the designer had chosen an image of the goodness of victory, Nike it would have not worked at all.

The same thing happens with the Starbucks logo... the first image was easy to find...accordingly with a couple of shops that only sold ground coffee. Later on as the brand grew and it was built around the idea of selling coffee cups, of a gathering place, the logo needed a re freshening and I bet some graphic firm got paid a lot of money to hide the mermaid's breasts.

A designer's job is to find a memorable image that may or may not refer literally to the product being sold/ service offered, but that it reflects core values by means of typography and images.

And I think the designer of the Nike logo was a bit unexperienced and didn't really know how much to charge.

Greg Peters said...

@Adriana
You make some interesting points. Obviously, I've never had a logo created for me, but given that 100% of my business comes from networking and word-of-mouth, how much more would a professionally designed logo buy me? Are there metrics on this anywhere? I'm truly curious about the ROI on this. How much does it cost to have someone design a logo for me?

I will agree that maybe I should consider getting a professionally designed logo at some point. Could you help me out and give me some basis for making that decision?

Slava said...

I always thought that the Nike "swoosh" was supposed to represent a wing that the Greek goddess 'Nike' is always portrayed with.

Anonymous said...

The logo reminds me of those shows on reproduction, where they show you the sperm that have no chance of making it, and there's always the one with a lumpy head and two tails.

Dani Nordin said...

I have to admit, as a professional designer, Godin's post peeved me ridiculously. The reason that the Nike, Starbucks and Apple logos were able to create powerful brands around them was because a) they were good images to BEGIN with, and b) they had teams of incredibly talented designers behind them that were able to not only refresh the original logo design, but take that logo and build solid brand identity and standards around the logo. To call a company's logo an "empty image" that any fool can throw together is shortsighted to say the least, ignorant to be completely blunt.

In terms of ROI on good logo/business cards vs. the more homegrown/amateur/VistaPrint variety, what I can say is that a strong logo and brand builds confidence in the business owner, and ultimately does get the owner more business. For example, at least three of my clients have started seeing new business coming into them within weeks of creating a solid logo/website/stationery system for them, and it was not only because the business seemed more "professional" because of the new brand, but it was because they FELT more professional.

Think of it from your perspective as a web designer; how would it feel if you had a client tell you that a website is just a couple of images thrown together in HTML and they were perfectly capable of doing it themselves? You and I both know what that site will end up looking like.

Greg Peters said...

@Dani
Wow! Thanks for your response. You make some great points. I have dealt with prospects who were recovering from the "we can do it ourselves" mistake. So I can really see what you mean.

I would still, however, like to have more than anecdotal evidence of ROI on a professional logo. Is there any research which shows correspondence between cost to develop a logo and increased revenue? Is any change due to the effect on the potential customer ("This company looks more professional so I would like to deal with them") or on the members of the company ("I feel more professional and so present myself in a more confident way and present myself more often")? Either are valid, but, depending on the specific motivation, are there more efficient and cost-effective ways to accomplish the same thing?

Besides that, what is a good price for a new logo? When should a company actually have this developed? Picking numbers out of the air, is it wise for me to pay $10,000 for a logo when my annual revenue is still only $20,000?

Is there a good rule of thumb for all this?

Anand said...

As is everyone else in the world, I am a designer...and I design icons. IMO, what the three mentioned logos have in common is that they are solid images that wouldn't sell well in text.

"Okay, for your computer company, we think an apple with a bite taken out of it will really carry you into the future..." BZZZ! Next!

They were also very adaptable designs for the environments in which they would be encountered. It is telling that both the Apple and Starbucks logos were simplified prior to mass-acceptance.

Good design does not require a professional designer. Cultures have been producing great design for eons without having professional tastemakers.

Also, very few clients see what can be done with a logo; they tend to view the symbol as a static item. The new Apple logo is far more adaptable than the rainbow even though it expresses much less.

The high fees charged cover the application of the new symbol to a variety of media. It works on a white card...what about a dark red video background?...How will it look on a dirty truck?

Finally, in response to the question, I believe that your logo is trying too hard to be clever and as such is confusing. I believe that a small organisation has to have a much clearer identity because they tend not to have the budgets to build visual brand identity.

imjeee said...

looking at a logo the first time is like going on a blind date and looking at your date for the first time. Her appearance doesn't say anything about how the date is going to go. If all goes well, she will become attractive to you no matter how she looks. A designer can make you look like brad pitt, your job is to act like one.