You’ve got this amazing idea for a new business, you’re bubbling with excitement and you can’t wait to get started. You’re thinking that the first thing you need is a logo, right? “Yes, I need a logo, I need it quick and I don’t really have much cash to splash on getting a designer to do it for me. So, I’m just going to do it myself. After all, I have a creative bent, I have good taste and I know what I want – so why not?”

I’ll tell you why not. A logo, especially a good logo, is symbolically potent and creates the hugely valuable first impression for your business. Your logo should sum up your brand in one commanding, punchy little package – and if you get it wrong, it will reflect on your brand poorly. The risks of DIY’ing your logo design are many, but here’s a little list of some key reasons to avoid jumping on the DIY bandwagon.

  1. Amateur hour

There’s a reason pro designers charge for their services. They have studied design’s in-and-outs; they know the critical principles and have a finely trained eye.

When non-designers DIY, they often end up with something that may not end up in the top 10 logo fails but it just doesn’t look quite right.

Maybe it’s unbalanced, maybe the font choice isn’t right (more on this below) and maybe, heaven forbid, they’ve used clip-art. Somehow it’s just not professional, and that’s not a good thing. Your logo should be sleek, unified and drop-dead gorgeous.

  1. Bad font choices

This is a frequent error made by DIY-ers, and man, can it have a negative impact. Those cute little quirky, playful fonts might have looked awesome on your 5-year old daughters birthday invitation that you whipped up, but they are so not the right choice for your logo.

What impression do you want to make? Serious and professional, or juvenile and whimsical? Do you want to be taken seriously? If the answer is yes, then do yourself a favour and go with a timeless, classic font that conveys your brands personality (Here’s a post we wrote about font selection). It’s got to be something that will work across print and digital, and give your identity real impact.

  1. Bad colour choices

Like the wrong font choices, choosing the wrong colours for your logo can be a critical mistake. Colour has very strong psychological associations and if we choose the wrong ones, we can convey a totally different message than what we intended. DIYers might simply choose colours that they like (“my favourite colour is red so let’s make it red!”), but fail to realize that colour selection should be a well-considered and calculated decision (more about colour theory). If your business is a family law-firm, customers may not take you seriously if you’ve used bright pink and orange in your logo. You’ll wish you had checked out the psychology and emotional effects of colour before you started.

  1. Uh oh, my logo looks exactly like someone else’s

But those logos your saw on the internet looked so nice, you wanted yours to look just the same. Right? Wrong. Copying someone else’s logo can not only infringe on copyright laws and get you in a real pickle, but it makes you look like a carbon-copy of another business. Don’t you want to be original, stand out from the crowd a bit? Don’t you deserve your own identity? The answers are yes, you should, and yes you do. So, here’s a tip – certainly let other logos inspire you, but use them as just that, inspiration. Your logo should be created entirely for you, from scratch, no buts about it.

  1. Your logo isn’t versatile

You thought you were so clever coming up with your logo that you failed to consider how it will be used. Is that tall, lanky design of yours going to work on your website? What about on a business card? How will people read it once it’s reduced to fit? Oh dear, now you’re in trouble. And what about this realization? You designed it in Word, and now your printer/embroiderer/screen printer wants a vector file. What is that?! Mmmmm….maybe you shouldn’t have DIY’d.

  1. Your logo is too busy

So, in your logo you decided to use your kid’s favourite colours (and you have 4 kids), you couldn’t pick out of these two really cool fonts you found, you added a little clip-art picture, and you love a bit of special effects so you added a drop shadow as well. Oh good lord, what have you done? Overdoing your logo is a massive no-no, people are going to be so bamboozled by everything that’s going on they’re not going to know where to look. They probably won’t even be able to work out what your business is at a glance. Our words of advice? Keep. It. Simple.

  1. Conveying the wrong message

As mentioned your logo should sum up your brand in one commanding, punchy little package. It should portray at first glance who your business is, what it does and what it represents. Think of the associations and perceptions that your industry has – the fitness industry will be wildly different to the professional and conservative world of GPs or insurance brokers. Experienced designers know how to match these perceptions with your business to create a bang-on logo. Unfortunately, DIY-ers can get it all wrong and end up missing the mark entirely. Whoops.

Ultimately, your logo should be something you’re proud of and something that represents that brilliant business idea of yours perfectly. Investing a little time and cashola into this most important element of your brand identity is something to seriously consider. After all, getting it wrong is just not worth the risk. Our talented team of graphic artists and marketing strategists would love to help you bring your new brand to life or reinvigorate a tired one.

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