Five reasons you shouldn’t design your own logo

By: Fiona Humberstone

Date: 18 February 2010

I feel very qualified to write this post at the moment. As the owner of a brand and marketing agency, I work with a lot of small business owners who are missing opportunities because their logo (and brand image as a whole) isn’t sending out the right signals.

And as someone who has just been client, creative director and designer (along with my other fabulous designers in the studio) for her own business, I can see things from the other side, too.

The fact is you really shouldn’t design your own logo. Here’s why.

1 You need outside perspective. Our clients tell us one of the most valuable things we bring to the table, aside from design, is the perspective we help them gain on their business. Working with a branding agency on your corporate identity forces you to think about the way your business is structured and who your most profitable clients really are. Working with someone who is not as close to your business provides a different – and important – perspective.

2 It’ll cost more than you think. You think design agencies get their design for free? Think again. I’ve spent thousands of pounds on developing the identity for Flourish, my new branding, graphic design and marketing services business. The staff cost and the opportunity cost of both my designers and I working on our own stuff rather than billable client work has been significant. And if you’re not a designer I recommend you focus on what you do best and let us get on with what we do best. More profitable all round – and the end result will be better.

3 Unless you’re a graphic designer, you’re unlikely choose the right fonts or colours. I’ve studied typography, colour psychology and logo design for years, as have my graphic designers. We understand how to evoke an emotion through a colour or a font.

4 You won’t add the creative flair your business deserves. Great logos have wow factor. Usually, they’re simple, but clever. And I don’t mean a Photoshop drop shadow (sooo nineties!) or a web 2.0 glassy reflection (oh so naughties!). I’m talking about a clever icon or creative treatment that will get your clients taking you seriously.

5 You’re too close to it. Being so involved in the design process makes it incredibly difficult to make objective decisions. In the end, the only way we broke through our creative block was for me to completely disassociate myself from the design and act as creative director only.

I see now why other design agencies commission someone else to design their logos. In the end, we managed to crack it ourselves and I have to say, I’m delighted with the end result. But if you’re not a graphic designer I urge you to invest in a professionally designed brand identity. It’ll be one of the best decisions you ever make.

Fiona Humberstone, Flourish design & marketing

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