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Beginner Logo Design Blues

Bill Jones needs a logo designed for his auto-body shop. Today is his day off so he decides to devote it completely to getting his logo done. First, he makes a list of what he wants in a logo, it takes only about fifteen minutes. Pretty easy, now all he has to do is search and find a good logo designer, simple huh?

He sits down at the computer and hits the power button.

Bill isn’t too fond of computers, mainly because he has little experience with them. His thick calloused fingers are accustomed to working on cars, not typing on a keyboard.
As the computer warms up, Bill tries to imagine what it would be like to be a full-time logo designer; sitting in a stuffy office all day, trying to come up with good ideas, when… when one could be out working on a car or something.

Maybe, Bill ponders, that’s why logo designers charge so much for their services…because it’s such a horrific job…

His thoughts are interrupted when the Google homepage finely comes up. Bill simply types “logo design” into the search bar and hits enter.

It takes only a few seconds to load but when it does Bill is shocked at what he sees. The results show about 298,000,000, way more sites than Bill wants to flip through. He took a day off to spend getting his logo done, not a month. And to make matters even worse, they all proclaim that they are “The best logo design on the market”.

“Put the coffee on, it’s gonna be a long night.”

After about half an hour of flipping through firms, Bill gets used to the process of going through websites quickly. He goes to one website and sees how it looks. If it seems promising, he bookmarks it. If not, he simply goes to the next. The cycle continues until he stumbles upon your logo design website. The exact circumstances in which he came across your site I‘ll just leave up to you to imagine.

The homepage reveals a picture of a smiling man in a sharp business suit; the look on his face almost says, “Give us a try, you won’t be disappointed”. And that is, in fact exactly what the text below the photo reads.

Almost convinced already that you’re the answer to his prayers, Bill navigates to the page entitled “testimonials”, He is impressed but not surprised by the good reports that he sees, after all a company that has such a professional-looking website must do an equally good job designing for there clients, right?

He, of course, doesn’t stop to think that perhaps you made sure to post on your website only the “good” feedback, of which were few and far between while keeping the rather negative comments from the eyes of the public.

Convinced now that you can do anything, he places the order with confidence that won’t be short-lived. After all, you can do anything… Can’t you?

I think there is nothing more frustrating for a client than committing money and time to a designer only to find out that the “Professional Designer “ they thought would make them the logo of their dreams is just another idiot who seems to know little more than them about logo designing.

Often such clients walk away with a bad impression of freelancers.

Many designers feel the important part of logo design is bringing in the clients by looking professional. After that, they say, “It’s a piece of cake”, when in fact it is quite the other way around.
As Grandpa used to say, “quality is better than quantity” and really that is true. But many designers shun Grandpa’s good advice, pocketing it for “better alternatives“.

Am I saying that all freelance logo designers are greedy, money-grasping jerks? Absolutely not. I’m saying that there are many designers out there that seem to think looks are more important than getting the job done right.
They boast about how great their concepts are when really most of their designs are just copies of some other logo in a different form, or worse, clipart. True, there may be some “original designs” in their name, but those are rare at best.

In short, It would be better to only have a small number of clients to work with and truly do a good job, then numerous customers and do poorly at your work.

Now you might be saying, “I still don’t see how what your saying applies to beginner designers.”  or “Are you calling me an idiot then?”

Slow down, hold your horses…

…Thanks for the breather, now let me explain:

Beginners are often tempted to try and overcome their “not so good” skills by making themselves look like their pros when they’re not. Oh sure, you’ll probably get a lot of customers, but you will find that many of your numerous clients will walk away feeling like they’ve been ripped off. And is it really that far from the truth?

Please don’t get me wrong. Of course, looks are important to some extent. You obviously need to look good to get any clients at all. What you don’t want to do is to try to make yourself look like someone you’re not.

For instance, if you said that you would provide 4 concepts, don’t try to “weasel” your way out of the deal by saying “well, I only meant up to 4 designs”.

Also, make sure that your description depicts your services. If you can’t do it, there’s no reason you should say you can.

When all else fails, crowdsourcing may be your best bet. It’s one of the best ways for a beginner to build a portfolio. It’s also a great way to learn from more experienced designers. The disadvantage of crowdsourcing is competition. Since there will be so many designers competing over the same project, you never know when you will lose favor in the eyes of a contest holder. They might love your design one minute and then ditch it for a superior concept the next.

The thing to do is just don’t give up. Try focusing all your efforts on one project until you’ve either won the contest or it has ended, instead of trying to do many projects a once.

As well as crowdsourcing, there’s also the option of advertising on online market places such as eBay. But like I said before, there will be competition. Keeping your ads simple, easy to understand, and just being straightforward will give you the jump on your competitors. Clearly explain the logo design process, payments, policies, and so forth.

I suppose the best piece of advice I can give to beginner logo designers is just to get out there and design. After all, there’s no better teacher than a good old experience.

And who knows? Maybe you will become a millionaire some day.

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