Why Buying A Premade Logo is A Bad Move for Your Brand

Before I get all hot and bothered about why purchasing premade logos aren’t a smart move for your brand, let’s talk first about where the term ‘branding’ originally came from. I’m no history buff, but for the sake of this topic, let’s pretend you’re happy to humor me and my short history lesson: Back in the day, branding literally meant taking a hot iron to something - in this case, let’s say cattle - and burning it with the mark of your house to distinguish ownership. If Farmer Ted’s cattle herd decided to mix and mingle with Farmer Joe’s, the two could sort their cattle lickety-split!

Now, what’s branding today? It’s an evolved version of the same exact concept: We brand our businesses with a distinguishing mark and visual aesthetic in order to create a unique identity that stands out against the competition. If we’re especially driven, we may even do so with the goal of establishing something iconic, like Nike or Kate Spade's brands. Regardless, my point is that the overarching end-goal of branding is the same today as it was in the early 1800’s: to create a mark that is so easily distinguished that no one else would ever in a million years confuse your “cow” with someone else’s.

So. If the goal is to create a mark that is unique to your business, why purchase a logo design that someone else is also using?

I could sugar coat this, but that’s not what I’m here to do. I’m here to be honest with you about why premade logos are a bad move for your brand, right? So let’s talk candidly for a minute instead. When you buy a premade logo or branding package, here’s what you get:

  • A Mass-Produced Logomark: Your suite of logo designs are being actively used by other business owners within your industry. Even with customizable logo templates, we're still talking hundreds -- and in some case, THOUSANDS -- of other businesses using a logo or brand identity almost identical to yours, with the SAME concepting. Think I'm bluffing? Take a look at Etsy. You'll see.
  • A Logo You Like: … But that isn’t necessarily a good reflection of your brand. I know it’s hard, but this isn’t the time to be subjective: Unless YOU are the archetype for your own ideal client, your personal preferences should play the teensiest role in determining the ultimate look and feel of your brand. They shouldn't be the driving force behind your choice. 
  • A Forgettable Visual Brand: That run-of-the-mill, seen-it-before logo is going to make it pretty impossible for your brand to stand out from the crowd. It’s also about as memorable as that one pigeon… that looks like all the other pigeons... in a flock of pigeons... at the park. In other words, not memorable at all.
  • A Haphazard and Cheap ‘Brand Identity’: I’ll just say this: I know your business -- and your brand -- is worth more than $10. Way, WAY more. And if you’re serious about your business, you know it too. When it comes to starting a business, presentation is paramount to success. That means there are two investments you should never cut corners on: your branding and your website design. Take these investments seriously. You’ll be glad you did.

...And here’s what’s missing.

  • A One-Of-A-Kind Logomark: Like I said before -- it should be so easily distinguished that no one else would ever in a million years confuse your “cow” with someone else’s!

  • Design Driven by Objectivity: Instead of allowing brand design to be driven by your personal preferences, a professional brand designer will guide you through the process of viewing your identity objectively through the eyes of your ideal client and their preferences. 

  • A Visual Brand Designed to Appeal to Your Ideal Client: If you hear nothing else, please hear this: Your logo is not just an image that represents your business! True branding is like a science, and it takes market research, strategy and a deep understanding of consumer psychology to package your business into a single distinguishing mark that is going to actively attract your ideal client or customer. Also, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m not just talking about your logo. Your visual brand identity also includes:

    • A Strategically Selected Color Palette: Remember what I said about consumer psychology? Colors play a powerful role here too: They have an impressive effect on our emotions and moods, and, when used strategically, the power to influence consumer perception.

    • Typography Selections: Typography is the style and appearance of fonts selected to be paired exclusively with your brand. Like color, typography has the ability to manipulate the context, significance and perception of what is being communicated by your brand.

    • Imagery Guidelines: To create a cohesive visual brand identity, it’s important that -- surprise! -- all of the visual elements of your brand align. This includes one often-overlooked component: The images you use on your website and social media, in your newsletters and on print collateral. Any good brand designer will provide you with the framework you need (typically presented in the form of a mood board) to understand the types of imagery that properly reflect your brand.

So here’s the bottom line, along with my wish for you: Please, for the love of doing smart business, do not do yourself the disservice of purchasing a premade logo and approaching your branding haphazardly. If this means you need to wait a little longer to invest in and launch your new brand, by all means, wait! Cutting corners to expedite the process won’t do your business any favors in the long run, so give yourself permission to slow down and take the time to get this part right. You won’t regret it.

In the meantime...

Want to get a head start on defining the foundation of your brand so that you can knock the socks off your brand designer when you're finally ready to hire a professional? I've created a free workbook to help you with five important questions you must be able to answer BEFORE you brand your business. Hop to it here! ;) 

Peace, love & puppy hugs, 

Jess

Brand DesignJessica Strohm