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4 Logo-Design Options to Boost Your Startup's or Small Business's Marketing Campaign

You may not have an artistic bone in your body, but rest easy: There are experts, freelancers and low-cost online tools to help.
4 Logo-Design Options to Boost Your Startup's or Small Business's Marketing Campaign
Image credit: Matthew Sperzel | Getty Images
Guest Writer
CEO of Integrity Marketing & Consulting
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We live in a logo-driven world. Think about those familiar logos for Coca-Cola, Nike, Starbucks, Google, Target (and more) ...

Related: What Is a Logo? Just the Beating Heart of Your Brand, That's All.

According to the experts at Red Crow Marketing, the average adult is exposed to over 4,000 advertisements every day, and often the only image in the ad is the sponsoring company’s logo. That's why, for a small business or startup, a logo is critical. It's the anchor of your brand, drawing attention to your company and representing its core values.

So, if you're considering designing this important aspect of your company's marketing presentation, here are four basic options you can choose from:

Do It yourself.

If you have a creative bent or are good with design software, creating your own logo can be a great choice. This option gives you the freedom to design exactly what you want so it is completely personalized.

Using free programs, such as Cavana, you can cut and paste images, select fonts from a large range of choices and use basic backgrounds and formats to create a design from scratch. There are also design-software systems, such as Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw, which can be expensive to purchase and will require time to learn, but are great options if you plan on doing other design work, like banners, brochures, stickers and more, for your company.

Related: Why Small Businesses Need Strong Logos

These programs have a learning curve, but there are many inexpensive online courses that can teach you how to use them.

Pros: Some choices are free, quick and easy to use. Others can be used to produce amazing unique logos that really capture the essence of your business.

Cons: For free programs, such as Cavana, the design will only be as good as you can manage, given your experience with the program and its limited tools ; the design may also look generic. Design software systems will also cost you in terms of the software and learning curve.  

Use automated software.

Several free or inexpensive sites are available to help you generate logos. Several, such as Logojoy, use algorithms to help you select the best logo design choices for your business. They provide a wealth of clip art, color and design choices so you can create the perfect logo to reflect your business.

The better you become at the program, the more detailed and personalized a logo you can create. Also, sites such as Designhill allow you to post a graphic design contest, inviting designers to submit options; you can then select and purchase the one you like best.

Pros: These programs are free or very inexpensive.

Cons: Unless you really dig deep or use a contest option, the designs often look generic. In addition, they may not have the best colors or features for your logo to truly stand out in the marketplace.

Hire a freelancer.

There are many websites that provide access to graphic designers who will create your logo for a price. These include Freelancer, DesignCrowd and Fivver, to name just a few. Some sites have a mixed reputation for quality, so before selecting a freelancer, check the site's online reviews and do research to learn:

  • How much control you have in selecting the freelancer
  • What the process is for requesting and receiving revisions
  • Whether there is a guarantee on the final cost of the logo design
  • Who owns the logo when it's completed
  • What the dispute resolution process is if you and the freelancer can’t agree on any part of the process

Pros: Hiring a freelancer through these sites can be inexpensive and result in a great logo.

Cons: This option can lead to disappointment since freelancers are often trying to work as fast as possible to get paid, and quality can suffer. While you can get your logo quickly, it may not be what you really want.  

Hire an expert.

The best way to assure you have an effective logo is to hire an expert who truly understands how to incorporate images, color and fonts to create an effective representation of your business.  

When the logo design is part of the branding process, this path can be expensive; and, according to the designers at Tungsten, have costs ranging from $3,000 to over $20,000.  However, companies such as LogoOribit match you directly with one of their employed design experts so you will receive personalized service and a unique, effective logo with no clip art or templates. This lower-cost expert can provide the quality logo you need at a fraction of the price a branding expert will charge.

Pros: When working with an expert, you get the skills and experience of people who truly understand how to use a visual image to create marketplace recognition and generate customer loyalty.

Cons: Depending on your expert, expenses will vary and in some instances will be higher than the other options'.

Related: What the Color of Your Logo Says About Your Company (Infographic)

Bottom line

Your logo is often the first experience consumers have of your business, so it needs to be perfect. Depending on your budget, skill set and time constraints, you have several options in logo design and just need to figure out which one is right for you.

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