Have you just started up your business and you're low on the budget for branding it? Does it make sense to use a premade logo? Is it a good idea, or should you invest in a custom logo from the start?
If you have just started your business, or you’ve never put much thought into your logo and branding, grab a coffee and sit back – this one is for you!
Believe it or not, there is a time when it’s a good idea to use a premade logo instead of investing in a custom logo package. To start with anyway!
When should you use a Premade Logo?
When you are just starting out, it makes sense to use a premade logo or a simple logo you can create yourself (see my blog post on just how to do this). Unless you have a lot of experience, your first few months with a new business are filled with creating content, testing out your direction, honing your niche, and clarifying your target audience.
When you’re in your first year, it’s okay to figure things out as you go along. In fact, it's positively encouraged! If you waited until everything was perfect before publishing your first blog post, website, social media marketing, or developing your products and services, you’d never get going! Chances are that you’ll possibly shift direction while your business is still in its infancy.
Once you are clear on your direction, niche, and target audience, that’s the time to look into a custom brand and logo with a professional designer. Your logo and branding are such an important part of your business identity, and you want to put significant thought and planning into your brand.
Let’s assume that you’re still testing things out and you want a logo that looks good but doesn’t break your budget, especially if you have plans to evolve your business over time.
Word of warning – you may not be the only person using your Premade Logo
Premade logo designers are able to sell their logos at a lower price because they sell them again and again. Sometimes you will have the opportunity to 'retire' a premade logo if it hasn't been used by someone else previously, and often designers will allow this, for a price.
Your Premade Logo will be limited
When you work with a professional designer on a custom logo, you’ll be provided with several versions, in several different file types: Colour, black and white, for print, for web, full logo, alternate logo, submark, favicon, in vector format, and more. You will use your logo in many different ways, and you will need all of those options.
With a premade logo, you will usually receive only a couple of file types, and only one version, probably full colour. Again, when you are just starting out, so that’s okay.
But as you build your business, your needs will change, and you’ll probably grow out of your premade logo.
There are a couple of different types of premade logo.
Custom Premade Logos
It sounds strange to call a premade logo “custom”, but basically, it means that you will provide your business name and tagline/strapline to the designer, who will deliver your finished files to you. Read the description carefully to see what file types you’ll receive and if any revisions are included.
DIY Logo Creators / Logo Bundles
You can purchase a bundle of templates that you use to create your own logo.
These can be tempting because they are presented beautifully and have so many options. HOWEVER, there are some risks.
- Fonts are typically not included in these bundles, due to licensing restrictions. The designer will tell you where you can download or buy the fonts used, but you may or may not have access to the same fonts you fell in love with that were included in the product listing.
- You will most likely need Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator in order to use these templates.
- You are responsible for the end design – the spacing between the letters, the positioning of the lines, etc. This can be trickier than it looks and requires a lot of training and experience.
I recommend using a custom premade logo instead of a logo creator kit.
Properties of a well-designed Premade Logo
Typically, your logo will need to fit into a horizontal or square space. A vertical logo is extremely difficult to use in everyday graphics but can work in your website header.
Looks good small
The logo looks good when it’s big on your screen but does it still hold up as a little watermark on your graphic? Step back or adjust the zoom on your browser and see how the logo looks when it’s tiny. This is when a premade branding kit can be a good idea, as they generally include all the different logo types you will need.
It must be legible
This sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people fall in love with logos that are hard to read. 'Handwritten' style fonts can look beautiful when they work, but they won’t work if no one can read the name! Also, beware of handwritten – or script – styles as they can date very quickly. If they are truly written by hand, they will age better, and some designers will offer this service for an extra cost.
What your Premade Logo should include
Your premade logo should include two files:
- A high-resolution JPG file
- A PNG with a transparent background for web use
- 1 revision round with the designer
Bonus if you also receive:
- A vector file (like an EPS) If you have business cards made or do any other work with a professional designer or printer, you will likely need to supply your logo in a vector file that is optimised for print
- Other colours, like black & white or grayscale
- An alternative logo (like a square design if you purchased a horizontal logo)
Where to find Premade Logos
Etsy is a common place to buy premade logos, but be sure to choose your designer carefully. There are highly skilled designers, and people who just installed a graphics program on their computer yesterday. Look through their shop, read their reviews, and judge for yourself.
I have an Etsy store that is updated on a regular basis with premade logos and branding kits. I set this up to help newly formed businesses get launched without forking out for custom work when budgets are limited. I also supply the EPS files for print use.
Beware of using 'watercolour' styles that look pretty but they do date very quickly and probably won't work very well everywhere you need your logo. There are a lot of these to be found on Etsy and they are cute but not ideal for a long-term business brand strategy.
I am not a huge fan of Fiverr or crowd-sourcing sites (where people compete to design your project). From a design point of view, the work is often very poor. But more importantly, it’s a common practice there for 'designers' to copy other logos (which opens you up to liability issues) that I recommend you steer clear when shopping for your logo. Also, sites like these are damaging to the design industry and it can be like wading through treacle finding an experienced designer who knows how to best represent your business and who can stick to your deadlines.
When you’re just starting out it can make sense to use a premade logo. Your focus needs to be on other areas, such as producing fabulous content and validating your idea. While purchasing a premade logo is a great idea to start with, once you expand your business it's a better idea to start looking at custom design that best represents your brand.
And by the way, congratulations on your new business!