At the watercooler

For a new business on a tight budget employing a graphic designer to create a custom logo may seem like an indulgent expense and out of their price range. Finding something quick and cheap online seems like an affordable solution but could end up costing you more than you think.

Logos can be expensive. Creating unique icons is time consuming. It can easily take upwards of 10 hours to complete. Research, idea development, typography and colour selection are just some of the stages. Designers will produce multiple sketches of every conceivable idea before creating digital files to present to the client. Remember that you are paying for the time, skill and experience of the designer.

A logo is an investment in your business and will play a key role in your business branding toolkit.

Many different factors have to be considered including your target audience, market position, competitors, and company vision.

No time, no budget? Things to look out for are:

1. Logo twins

The cheaper the logo, the less time the designer will want to spend on the project. To stay profitable a designer may use a logo template that they’ve purchased or created. It is likely to be something that you won’t have exclusive rights too. This means that you won’t be granted copyright of the logo, and it will be sold again (and again and again) to other businesses.

Logo twins
A selection of logos using the same symbol. Sourced from a Google image search.

2. Copycat

Idea generation can be a difficult process. Viewing other designs is common practice to seek inspiration. When cost is a factor, that inspiration can turn into copying another logo or piece of art, including images from stock libraries. Most stock libraries state in their user agreements that the license does not include use in “logos, trademark, or similar applications of images” ( standard license).
Example of copycat logo sourced from

3. Low resolution

It’s not uncommon for some online services to provide only web resolution JPGs or PNGs. Or vector files that contain embedded JPG files. Only pure vector files are scalable to any size. JPGs, PNGs or other raster files will become pixelated on signage or in print if they don’t contain the pixels to support the size they are being produced at.

As a general rule, you should receive a suite of logos in multiple formats. An example of the logo suite I typically send out contains

  • CMYK vector (ai, eps) in CMYK, Black and Reversed
  • RGB vector (emf) in RGB, Black and Reversed
  • RGB raster (jpg) in RGB and Black
  • RGB raster with a transparent background (png) in RGB, Black and Reversed
  • brief ‘how to use’ guidelines
iGen 1625 logo use guide
Example of brief guidelines for new logo.

That’s not to say that only very expensive logos are good and budget ones are bad. But experienced designers are not going to put in 10++ hours of work for a $100 logo. Make sure that you know what you are getting. Ask questions and ensure that you will have the copyright to use your logo on everything, including commercially.

Ask about our special packages for new businesses. If we don’t have a suitable package for your specific needs, let’s have a chat about what can be done within your budget.