Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Paying For Logo Design: Investment or Sacrifice

One thing I really like about logo design is doing the research. I enjoy seeing connections between an organization, its constituents, and its mission. And I love crystallizing an organization's message and personality into a single mark.

But it takes work. It takes time that is outside the creative process — yet informs the creative process. It's beautiful when a client understands this, and desires this. However, all too often in these days of computers and internet access, clients don't want a well-thought design process. They want something pretty, cheap, and quick.

It's hard to convince a small child to give up a shiny penny for a dime. It's also hard for a beer-lover to give up six-packs for 3 years to purchase a painting by an established artist. Even though giving these things up for a time will gain them many times more, they just don't believe it is worth it. They see it as a sacrifice rather than an investment.

Not all clients these days are like this. Only the ones that see their logo as a necessary commodity, rather than a vital part of their reputation. They may be people who are just starting out in business or who are competing based on price. Either way, they don't value brand-building. In fact, they tend to think brand-building is acquiring a pretty logo. Of course building a brand is so much more than this.

Fortunately, there are non-designer people who get this. They see their reputations as more than customer service and selling. They view it comprehensively — from carefully crafted customer touch-points to how their company presents itself. A logo is seen as vital part, because it carries the company name, and that name means something. People who get this understand the investment.

Look at companies who get it. Companies like Nike, Adobe, Apple, GE, and Disney protect and maintain their brand and logos with a fierce vigilance. Even not-for-profits get it, such as Amnesty International, Salvation Army, American Heart Association, and United Way to name a few. They all understand the importance of the public's trust, and the impact their logo and reputation has on that trust. They all understand it is no small investment in money, time, and effort to build their brands. And they realize the public trust is a return that can't be gained without such an investment.

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