Your Generic Logo
Here are 4 reasons why you might have a generic logo:
- You bought it on 99 designs. Or another similar contest-based logo design crowdfunding website. Yes, it’s cheap, and your results might even look trendy. However, poor communication between contest holders (that’s your designer) and contestants (that’s you… what a terrible way to be thought of!), language and cultural barriers, and low overall quality of work (at times even outright intellectual property theft) all play a role. So that logo you have that does not resonate with you? Yeah, it’s probably because it does not translate your business image needs into a well-positioned brand that will resonate with the right audience.
It’s old. Recently a new client emailed me about her logo and website. She said she had “a logo disaster.” She launched her business about 20 years ago. When she launched, she hired someone to quickly design a log. She didn’t love it; it was generic and lacked any story behind it. But she needed something and it was something to be used.
Her niche is so narrow there are not a lot of consultants who do her work, so she got busy as dependable resource for your clients. Over the years she never had time to update her branding and website. And that irked her. It was old. Stale. It did not reflect her current business model. We’re currently working on updating her brand identity that reflects the evolution of her business.
You may have a similar situation. You know your logo is old and is using design conventions from the 1990s. Although a great time for hip-hop music and flannel, that’s over 25 years of logo aging.
It uses stock imagery. When you decided to launch your business you were too busy getting clients, networking, working on your unique skills. When it came to your logo, you found a stock photo or icon to be your logo. You colored it blue because you love blue (and you didn’t consider the psychology of color, which we’ll get to in the future). You put it on your website and business cards. It worked well… for a little while. Then you started to see that icon in other applications. On an eco-building website and in a magazine advertisement for kids clothes. Since it’s stock, anyone can go and purchase that icon and use it. How’d it make you feel to see what you thought was distintive to your business used for businesses that were widely different from yours?
I know you did not feel like the unique business owner you are. I bet you have given away your business cards with that stock logo and said thought “Oh, god, I hope they don’t see how generic I am!”
It uses fonts from Microsoft Word. Let’s picture the scenario: you are looking to make new connections in your niche, so you’re attending a huge conference in your local city. Since you’re a busy, on demand creative professional, you haven’t quite had the time to create a first-class logo. But, you know how to use Microsoft Office. So you pick the custom business card template—you can print 10 per page!—and enter your name in the pre-chosen Century Gothic font. And it’s already red! Your name in red! It makes you passionate and dynamic! Even though your business is non-profit documentary video, and red feels a bit too aggressive… ah, oh, well. It’s red!
Does it feel like you? I’m guessing it doesn’t. Like the stock imagery, the font feels too generic. The beauty and usefullness of good fonts is often challenging to describe to non-designers. That’s not a dis. But you know when you see a beautifully designed piece. Well chosen fonts for your logo should make elevate your presence, not drown you out.
You’re not generic
Often prospective clients will reach out to me when they’ve fallen into one of these scenarios. When I meet with them, I ask them about their business. They light up when they tell me what they do, who they’ve worked with, where they have travelled to for work. These are engaging, interesting, and passionate business owners. They optimize the opposite of generic. They fracking glow with passion about their business.
I love this blog post by Sarah Lazarro, Senior Strategist at Kinesis. She says to think of your logo “like a favorite scarf … the at-a-glance, quickly identifiable mark that tells your customers it’s you. Your logo is that hat you wear every day, your glasses, those plaid socks that you love so much.” That’s a great way to feel about your business’s logo.
Get a logo you love
“At bottom every (person) knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
If you are a creative entrepreneur, I know you’re not generic. You merit a logo that makes you feel confident about your business and your offerings. There might be other people that offer your services, but not the way you do. You need to stand out from the crowd.
In this blog post, I show how to get on the path to loving your logo. What I said then is still true now: If you’re a creative entrepreneur who feels fearless about what you do, who is excited about your business and wants to share what you love with the world, then you need a good looking logo to match it. You want your business image to be as fresh and original as what you offer to your clients.
If you’re ready for the clear, identifying mark that you love, let’s work together.