Getting a Logo
I was asked recently about how to go about getting a logo. When I was just starting out, I used a software program called LogoMaker for Windows to make my first logo. It had plenty of 'vectors', that is, graphics with unlimited ability to stretch, manipulate, etc. You'd start off with a logo and slowy stretch, type, shape, and make it your logo.
There were also some very talented people I knew who could go into programs like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, starting with nothing, and create masterpieces. So here's what I would say to people looking for logos:
1) "How much am I willing to pay?" - This is the quantitative question. If you have the budget to pay for a logo, then great, get the best logo designer you can. Be aware that many budget options are also very good. So let's look at the budget options first.
2) "Can I get an inexpensive logo?" - Yes. There are many 'one stop' companies and proprietors who will do a logo, website, and other design work for you. But for that price, what you may end up with is logo made in logomaking software. You can often tell becasue their logo will look similiar to someone else's logo or have some systematic similiarties.
The way the software works is there are a hundred or so preset logos and you start with one and manipulate it until your client is happy. There is nothing wrong with this, but some businesses try to pass it off as their original work. It is not. But it is a good place to start. Such software is "Logo Design Studio Pro" and "The Logo Creator". I have those and can do that but I wouldn't charge more than $250 to do that because honestly, it's about 4 hours work including back and forth communication with you. My first logos were like this in the late 1990's - just don't overpay.
3) "Can get a custom logo"? - Yes. I've found the best way to go about that is to look for someone that is a true graphic designer. They may run up to $120/hour. Show them 3 logos you like from other companies as well as a sketch or two of what you are looking for. Then stand back and prepare to be amazed. They will take the time to listen to your branding goals, company message, culture, external communications strategy and PR methods as well as your core audience / prospects / customer base before proceeding. You will pay for the time for them to listen.
A few key thoughts. First: think about your logo not only on a website, but stationary, cinch sacks (back packs), T-shirts, debit cards (yes, debit cards - some banks have online tools you can preview your logo with),, and other items. Your logo may need to be transparent, be able to look good on black, white, green, purple, light, dark, and other types of backgrounds or it may be a single use - white on green. It's important to think forward.
When we chose the logo for Lemur Technology we immediately had cinch sacks and a debit card produced. The results were amazing - but they could have gone the other way. Sometimes the only way to see is give it a try.
By reference, the Lemur Technology logo was a combination of public domain art and hand written text. I didn't use a logo generator, I did it myself. But I also put some thought into the messaging and the visual representation of "taking your business to the next level".
Consider consulting a branding expert. There are media companies out there in your own city or a nearby city that are experts at brand marketing and creation. If you can afford to, engage one of them, even briefly, to get some insight.