Logo Design or Cut-and-Paste?
This third article is a sequel to the previous discussion on design. This time round I would like to focus my attention on Logo Design, as I have researched data recently regarding logo design from some sites where you can freelance. What I discovered caused me to raise an eyebrow to say the least.
If you are not familiar with one of those sites, here it is briefly how it works: you can join for free or upgrade to premium by paying a fee; you then are allowed to bid on jobs posted by potential clients, competing with millions of other freelancers to be awarded the job. You can set how much you would like to charge and, finally, the client will decide based on your proposal, or submission of work, whom to award the job to. In theory, the above is a brilliant idea if only all the bidders and clients were playing under the same rules.
As you can easily guess this is not the case as I would not feel the need to write this article. What I am really adamant about is the cheating that goes on there as the majority of those freelance designers do not design at all and they build up a portfolio of fake work where all their clients are John Does.
What has happened to actual design? Why would a client be satisfied with 30 projects which use the same royalty free images and simply cut and paste them together?
Does it not look odd?
Design, by definition, is the "process and art of planning and making detailed drawings of something. It is a crafted idea as to work out the structure or form of (something), as by making a sketch, outline, pattern, or plans; to form or conceive in the mind; invent. It is a finished artistic or decorative creation, it is creating with a purpose." The above are just a few descriptions you can find in the dictionary to explain the meaning of the word design. (taken from online dictionary)
Now that we have establish what design is, as you have noticed there is no mention of cut-and paste in any description of design, as the idea of creation is in stark contrast with the idea of cut-and-paste. Our modern times require a job to be done fairly quickly and I guess design needs to evolve and adapt to this rushing feeling society seems to crave, but why would you pay no more than £30 for a logo design, which is done with a cut-and-paste arrangement of royalty free images?
What would you have to pay for real design is the time and the creative process behind working to client's requirements, the gathering of information and research and the sketching of ideas, better still the translation of those ideas into a concrete, tangible form. There is little or no design with cut-and-paste, therefore you could do the work yourself.
Why would you pay any money at all if the so-called designer use royalty free images and cut-and-paste them together?
As there is no real design involved your logo should be done for free or else you will end up paying for royalty free images which are free to download in the first place. Some might argue that you need a certain degree of skill to cut-and-paste to make it look pleasing on the eye. Whatever skill that is does not fit the concept of design.
If all the above was not alarming enough, the most alarming idea is that all the cut-and-paste culture is becoming the norm at the expenses of that beautiful creation which is design. A professional designer will never quote you £20/30 for a logo, they will work at a hourly rate or they will establish a flat rate depending on the project. How much a logo design is going to cost you depends on your requirements and how many hours of work it will take to produce a unique design tailored to a client business, where every colour, every line, and every design element have a clearly defined purpose.
Why would you invest so little in what is going to define your identity as a company, your product and/or services?
Your logo is embedding the meaning of the brand with its visual quality, it will make your brand identifiable and easy to recognize, and at the same time will build your reputation and customer loyalty, increasing your profit margins. Your logo needs to tell a story. I have always been fascinated by all arts and the powerful meaning behind a work of art, the meaning a picture, a drawing, a design carry through is sublime. There is a very interesting literature out there regarding the meaning behind famous logos and I would like to share some with you all. (All pictures below are loyalty free and used for explanatory purpose only and not for reproduction).
As Italian I will start with the picture of the "il cavallino rosso": Ferrari. the elegant prancing horse is such an iconic image and it has been on Ferrari logo for almost 100 of years. But how did it become part of the logo for the automotive brand in the first place? The story behind it is as fascinating as the longevity of the brand. The prancing horse was painted on the fuselage of an Italian fighter plane during WWI. The mother of the pilot asked Enzo Ferrari to put the prancing horse on all his cars as it will bring him luck and it did indeed. The yellow colour of the background is dedicated to Modena, Ferrari hometown.
Another famous brand Nike is actually named after the Greek winged goddess of victory, the swoosh symbol represents her flight. Once again used to bring luck and success.
I love the idea behind of Hyundai logo as the oval-shaped letter “H”, slanted and stylized, symbolizes the handshake of trust between the company and the customer. Its typeface was specifically designed for the company as well as the choice of colour silver to suggest sophistication. You can actually visualize the two bodies standing and shaking hands.
The above examples are not an exception, but the norm. I invite you to have a look at the meaning behind famous logos, and you will see what amazing stories lie behind the creation of those logos. As a result, logo design is not a two-day affair, it certainly takes longer as it is the visualization of a diverse arrangement of shapes and images related to the business and its owner.
As you need to put yourself in the client's shoes with a designer mind-set, interpreting and fusing all the elements together.
Cut-and-paste somebody else work, it is not an original creation, it might be a cheaper option, but think about it..
Are you really prepared to share your cut-and-pasted design logo with other companies, potentially your competitors? How would your customers differentiate you from those competitors as your cut-and pasted logos look similar if not identical? What would make you unique, then?
Logo design does not have to be a cut-and-paste job to be affordable, talk to your designer and you might be able to strike a deal especially if you have to refer back to him/her for stationery and corporate identity. Logo Design should be included in the start up budgeting of any company, although I understand how tight that budget can be, the logo design is one of those elements which inevitably gets neglected and its importance diminished to the extent that a £30 job will do, but any client will refer back to that logo and judge your company through a cheap representation at the expenses of your business reputation.
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