It’s a funny thing… the word free seems to really draw a crowd. And for good reason! There is a tremendous amount of perceived value in getting something for nothing. But not all freebies are free, and specifically I’m talking about company logos (we refer to these as brand identities).
It’s not hard to find a free logo. It could be clipart, a stock image you found on the internet, or maybe the guy who makes your vehicle decals offered to ‘do up a logo’ for your for free. Hey, even the IT guy knows a thing or 2 about graphic design right? While these may appear to have no cost associated, here is where you’ll pay:
An experienced brand strategist and seasoned creative team can create an image that captures more than just what your company ‘does’. They can weave in the personality, aspirations and felt sense that you want your company to stand for over time. This is what separates authentic brand images from ‘logo’s. If your strategic position as a business (value, premium, boutique etc.) isn’t carefully crafted into your logo, the cost could be eroded pricing, premiums and missed customer engagements. People often will feel a certain way triggering a physical action based on a quick 2-second first impression, so you need to ask yourself; is the identity is really ‘speaking’ for your business?
Branding companies have the background and experience to see the complete landscape of future use for your company’s brand identity. Whether this is outdoor use, stationery, signage, vehicle, golf balls or the Good Year Blimp’ message board, a logo should be designed to be practical, legible and simple. It’s amazing how many times we’ve seen logos designed with a single purpose in mind and then require significant modifications over time.
If you’ve been successful in your start-up, it may become evident very quickly that your logo is off the mark, it doesn’t stand for what the company is evolving into. This can trigger the need to re-design and re-launch the brand image far sooner than is normal resulting in confusion amongst your customers and prospects. It is certainly normal for companies to go through a systematic brand update from time to time, but these are often refreshes to sustain their growth rather than wholesale changes.
Ultimately, your brand should be authentic, unique, relevant and resilient. It’s unlikely that the source of the free logo was strategically engaged to a point of creating an identity that meets these criteria. We strongly encourage you to obtain the services of an experienced brand strategist or designer.
So, is a free logo really free? As my Dad used to tell me (at nauseam), “You get what you pay for, and you’ll pay for what you get!”.