Firmology’s Techweek Series profiles tech startups & companies, products and services that small businesses can leverage to innovate and grow their business. Learn more about Techweek 12 and some of the small business-centric featured speakers.
What’s the first part of your small business that your customers see?
Your building? Maybe, if you have a physical location.
Your website? Probably, most people check out your business online nowadays.
Your business card? Sure, if you meet someone and pass it along.
What do all three have in common?
Your logo. Ding Ding Ding!
Good job, but it’s not just your logo.
It’s your entire small business identity, starting with your business name, slogan, logo, color scheme, business card, website, brochure, sign and everything in between.
Designing your small business’s identity should be the fun part, right?
It should be, but more than likely it’s going to be a stressful, painful and costly experience.
Here’s how the design process for a logo normally works.
1) Contact a Designer and Pay 50% Upfront. After spending hours or a few days searching through design portfolios online, on Craigslist, in the Yellow Pages or in your neighborhood, you have to pick just one designer. Just one! Then pay them 50% upfront!
2) Few Rounds of Revisions. After discussing your vision for the project, the designer usually presents you with 3 logos to narrow down your style and preferences. After one or two more rounds, the logo is “ready.”
3) Pay the Remaining 50%. Once the designer delivers the ready logo, you’re expected to pay the remainder of the 50%.
If you don’t like your logo (or other design project) at the end of the project because of a conflict in vision or mismatch with your designer’s style, you’re stuck with it and out thousands of dollars. The argument is that designers put in a lot of time and effort into each project, so they should get paid for their work, regardless of customer satisfaction. The small business is to blame for not properly conveying their vision.
This is exactly what happened to my father and I when we hired a local Chicago design shop several years ago to redesign our window company’s logo and corporate identity. Round after round, the designer just could not capture what we had in mind for the logo and other design elements. With both parties FRUSTRATED, it became increasingly harder to reach the designer in between rounds, until finally, we just sent him a check and walked away without a completed project.
This process is flawed, but the design industry is notoriously defensive about this business model.
Here’s how 99designs works:
ICEBREAKER: Have you used an online marketplace like 99designs for your small business design needs? Tell us about your experience.
-To contact the writer on this story: Philip Nowak in Chicago at [email protected]
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