Although I have a design background and I have designed logos for others in the past, I decided to hire a designer to create a logo for me. My goal is to ramp up the company quickly, and it frankly takes me way too long to design a logo. Besides, I have other things I need to be working on!
I have been fretting over the idea of spending $100 to $300 to hire a designer. I am extremely low on cash so that would be a large investment. However, the brand, the image you convey significantly impacts a buyer’s willingness to take a risk and buy something from you after looking at pictures alone! Paying big bucks for a designer to create a quality logo can be considered a wise investment.
Fortunately, I have been doing research on starting businesses and the book Craft Business Power highly recommended using Fiverr.com to get a logo. The concept is that people will do things for you for just $5! It seems like such a tiny investment that it is worth the risk. I decided to go for it!
I went to the logo category on Fiverr.com and browsed the list of designers. I selected many that seemed promising and reviewed the portfolios they provided to further narrow down the selection. I used the following criteria when evaluating their design portfolio:
Must have several logos matching my desired aesthetic. It would just be dumb for me to expect that someone who tends towards one design direction would also be able to grok and execute upon the design direction that’s in my head! The designers I choose to work with should have several logo examples that match my expectations to increase the chance that they can execute on that aesthetic and are proud enough of that type of work that they will include it in their portfolio.
Must not depend upon shading, gradient colors, or fine details. This is a general logo design rule. A designer who seems to use these these design elements quite frequently is not a good logo designer. The reason why their profile may seem to be filled with gradients and drop shadows or finely crafted caricatures is because the designer is depending upon them. Drop shadows and gradients make bland logos pop. Sometimes an illustrator begins to apply a finely detailed drawing to everything because that is just how they think.
Those design crutches end up fatal because logos frequently need to appear in many different applications in many different sizes. When a logo appears an inch tall rendered on the company website, it could look GREAT. But once its printed on a business card or letterhead, the drop shadows, gradients, and tiny lines can get lost and make the entire logo look like a lump of mud. For Autumn Weaves, I knew that the logo would be embroidered, so there is no way it could possibly contain gradients or details.
I figured at 5 bucks a pop I should initiate a job with all three. I know that the chances a designer can totally satisfy me with one attempt are incredibly slim. I am not walking into this expecting that I will — without a doubt — get a great logo for just $5! I am spending a small amount of money in hopes that I could come across a great logo. Due to the incredibly cheap rates, each designer is only willing to give one option for a logo with MAYBE one or two revisions, if I’m lucky. I decided to hire all three candidates to see if one of these three separate artist’s brains could hit the jackpot.
I did end up spending more than $15. I shelled out $55. Two of the designers did not offer add-on options, while one designer charged extra for specific services in addition to the base $5 service. Since that designer was my favorite and had the highest chance of giving me exactly what I was looking for I decided to opt in for additional services: $20 to get an unflattened PSD, and another $20 to give me 2 additional logo designs. In the end, I’m going to receive 5 different logo designs for just $55.
After I hired each of these designers I had to give them my logo requirements. Of course, that also meant I had to write up the requirements. This seemingly daunting task actually turned out to be very easy due to my razor-thin targeted niche market. I will explain in another post details about having your business target a niche market. Having that niche market in mind made it incredibly easy to write up the logo requirements.
The hard part about drafting logo design requirements is figuring out what should be expressed in the requirements and how. I have designed logos for others in the past, so I tried to think about what is important while designing a logo. I came up with the following questions to answer for logo requirements: “What we do”, “Company Name”, “Design”, “Constraints”, “Color Options”.
What we do: A brief summary of the business boiled down to its bare essentials. For example, I did not say, “I am making duvet covers to start out my business and will eventually expand to bedding and general home decor.” That contains too much irrelevant information. The goal is to focus on the identity of the business. Choosing the name “Autumn Weaves” meant that I am reinforcing that my company uses textiles. The boiled down deliverable of the company is “products made of sewn material”, so that is all I told them about my services.
In addition to the services of your company, you should include your guiding principals. The guiding principal for Autumn Weaves is “sustainability.” The company written about in Craft Business Power used “trendy” and “exclusive”. If your guiding principal is supported by other concepts (such as imagery or emotion), include that as well. I’ll explain more about defining your businesses guiding principals in another post.
Company name: Don’t forget this one ;) Remember that most of the people you find will have English as a second language. If your company name is a play on words, you need to explain that to them. Since “Autumn Weaves” is a play on “autumn leaves”, I included that information to ensure they understood why a leaf should be in the logo.
Design: Describe the image or concepts that you envision when you think of your future logo. If you don’t have a vision for the logo, you should wait to contract with a cheap logo designer until you do, or consider hiring a more expensive designer who will sit and talk with you about your business.
Constraints: Make clear Whatever rules you have for the logo. State whether your logo will appear in special applications and any constraints on the quantity of colors. Remember, screen printing uses only blocks of colors and the more colors you use, the more expensive the print! I would recommend limiting your logo to 2 colors in order to maximize the usability of the logo in a wide array of applications.
Color options: If you have a palette in mind, describe it. If you have specific colors (actual hex values), be sure to include those along with where you’d like which colors to be used within the logo.
Using the above to guide me, these are the logo design requirements I gave to the designers I hired for Autumn Weaves’ logo:
WHAT WE DO: Sew products using either recycled or sustainable fabrics. Guiding word is “sustainability”. Supporting concepts: earth, nature, and warmth.
COMPANY NAME: Autumn Weaves Play on the phrase “autumn leaves” and that our products are made from woven materials.
DESIGN: Contain an image of a single leaf or multiple leaves. Elegant, appealing to women. Logo will appear on product and convey as a “stamp of quality” or “artist’s signature.” BONUS: Make multiple leaves appear woven together, not a requirement if it cannot look good.
CONSTRAINTS: Will be embroidered on fabric and rendered between 1/2 inch in height up to 5 inches in height. No fine details. Maximum of two colors. Must be effective when rendered in a single color.
COLOR OPTIONS: Leaf colors: red, orange or green. Must appear on both white and black backgrounds.
Text colors: dark brown, dark green or black on a white background.
I feel confident that one of these logos will work well for me. My design requirements create such a constraint that there are a very limited number of possibilities. The logo will be composed of a symbol of a leaf next to the company name. Effectively, a designer just has to decide upon how to render the leaf and text and where the leaf should be positioned next to the text.
Although that is “easier said than done”, it is a key aspect of what makes a good designer good. When you provide specific requirements, you free the designer to use the time allotted to you to focus on this critical part of the logo design and not waste any time on figuring out the bigger picture.
I just put in the orders today and won’t expect anything back for up to week. Commonly, people on Fiverr.com promise a 24 to 36 hour turn around time, but the expensive designer gave a week estimate. Even a week is an amazing turn around time.
What is great about this whole thing is that it barely took up any time.
- I am targeting a razor-thin niche market, which made defining the business’ guiding principals easy which subsequently made it very quick to write up the requirements for a logo.
- Fiverr.com has a streamlined workflow for choosing a designer, signing up, initiating a contract, paying, and defining requirements. I had my orders submitted in no time.
- I woke up at 4am for some crazy reason. By around 5am I realized I was not going to fall back to sleep, so I decided to check out Fiverr.com. With everything else being so streamlined, I had my orders in before my partner — and even my dog — woke up! By 9am I wrote the first draft for this blog post.
In just 4 hours, I have three logo orders and a blog post about the experience. Now that is definitely helping me to bootstrap this company quickly!