Your logo is the true first impression of your brand. Logos have been used for thousands of years to help people identify and trust groups by viewing a simple emblem. One of the most recognized logos throughout history is the cross that symbolizes Christianity. Pirates raised a Jolly Roger logo on a black flag to signal that they were going to attack. The confederate flag is a recent logo that has come to evoke great emotion and controversy in our society. Do you need to update your branding and get a new logo?
Logos are powerful and deeply rooted in human culture. A bad logo creates a visceral response to doubt the credibility or reputation of a firm. A great logo can inspire trust and create positive associations. It’s easy to think of a few logos that inspire positive feelings such as the Geico Gecko, the Apple logo, or the Ritz Carlton lion and crown.
Not only should your logo be well designed, it also needs to stay current. Most modern brands update their logo every 3-7 years, whether it’s a complete redesign or small updates, such as a typography or color change. Did you see the new LPL Financial logo, released this month? The changes may be almost imperceptible, but they serve to keep the look and feel of the brand relevant and modern.
New Logo Design Guidelines
When designing your new logo, it’s important to keep a few rules in mind to make sure your design will meet your marketing needs.
- Simple design is best. Research shows that the most memorable logos are simple and easy to identify from afar.
- Keep the lines clear. Be sure your logo is clear enough to be displayed on everything from a website to a coffee mug to a pen. Designs with too much detail become unclear in smaller sizes.
- Two colors max. In order to keep the aesthetic of your website and marketing materials uncluttered, limit your logo to one or two colors. Since a website will also have a light or dark background color, the visitor will be hit with three colors at any one time, which can feel visually overwhelming.
- Be sure the design looks great on both a light and dark background. A versatile logo can be used on light or dark context and still retain its clarity.
- Get a one color version. To use your logo on certain collateral, such as a metal name plate or apparel, one color printability comes in handy.
Using a Logo Design Marketplace
Luckily, updating your logo can be inexpensive and fun with online logo design marketplaces. The first logo design marketplace of its kind was 99Designs.com, founded in Melbourne, Australia in 2008. Several others followed, including LogoBids.com out of San Diego, and CrowdSpring, based in Chicago. One new marketplace, Fiverr, offers logos for just $5.
Each of these logo design marketplaces rely on a group of freelance designers who compete to win individual logo contests. The logo buyer typically sets the price for the total contest, reviews submissions, then chooses the winner and awards the prize money to the top designer. LogoBids and Crowdspring offer money back guarantees if none of the designs are chosen.
I have used a few of these platforms, including 99 Designs, LogoBids, and Fiverr. From my experience, I found the highest design quality for the money with LogoBids. For the LogoBids contest we ran to revamp the logo below, I set the prize to $300 and ran the contest for one week.
We received over 30 total submissions. About 10 were strong contenders. By communicating often with the designers throughout the contest, I was able to improve upon the initial design submission to get exactly what the advisor was looking for. LogoBids’ designers typically create a version of the logo to use on light and dark backgrounds, as well as a one color version so the advisor will have all he needs for his website, printed materials and promotional items. Once the prize money is awarded to the designer, the logo files become property of the purchaser. Check out the variations of the new logo below.
Tips for Running a Successful New Logo Contest:
- Up the ante. Set the prize to at least $300 to attract talented designers.
- Ask for what you want. Be detailed and clear about what you are looking for in your listing. Include examples of logos you like and the colors you’d like to use.
- Keep your website in mind. Unless you’re going to rebuild your site, keep the layout and colors in mind to be sure your logo will create a cohesive brand when used on your site.
- Provide ongoing feedback. Communicate early and often to the designers for each logo you like to help them create new designs that match what you are looking for.
Do you have an outdated logo? Have you recently given your logo a makeover? I want to see them! Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.