Friday, December 17, 2010

When Free Is Bad ...

Going into the new year, I begin to look at my budget and see what catagories I can save in and which ones I could spend a little more on. These are some areas of your marketing that you definitely do not want to skimp on....

Logo Design
I don't disagree, there are a TON of logo sites out there that offer deep discounted logo ideas. What I do disagree with, it that by purchasing a stock logo OR using a logo template, the logo is generic! Templated logos are completely impersonal to you and your business. Also, keep in mind that if you are considering purchasing a stock or deeply discounted logo, they are not exclusive to you and your business, anyone can by them.

I have seen two different businesses, who are part of the same industry, use the exact same logo; color and all and they are only two towns apart.... how sad is that? You will also likely run into the problem of not having correct file types when you want it professionally printed through resources such as: commercial printers, sign companies and promotional items.

With a custom logo design, the designer [perhaps Tasha Lee Design :)] will sit down with you, walk you through a creative brief, do some research and get a well rounded idea of what you want your identity to say about your business. A good designer will work with you until you are 110% satisfied with your new identity and then help you plaster it all over town so your community starts recognizing you! They will provide you with the correct file versions to be used in a multitude situations and will be able to explain when it is best to use each file type. Be unique. Be different. Don't Be a Stock Image.

Clip Art
You know what I am talking about.... the cheap, cheesy looking X, that you placed into your flyer because that is what was available. There are nice clip art out there, but most of the time.... it would be a good idea to stay away from it. Clip art cheapens your business image and comes across unprofessional.

Although sites such as and seem like a really great resource, these fonts are designed by amateurs. Many of the letter spacing and special characters look awkward. There is a complete science to choosing a font for your printed materials and my suggestion would be to leave this to the professional! They will know when to choose a font and how best to make that font get your materials noticed. A designer's rule of thumb: NEVER use more than 3 typefaces on the same printed material. It becomes confusing to the eye and looks unorganized and sloppy.

Templates ... through websites, blogs and other design stuff. As with any template, remember that they are not exclusive to you. So anyone who has a connection to the internet, has the power to purchase your design that you may or may not have been using for years. My suggestion is to be very careful and limit the use of these resources. I can not tell you how many times I walk into a networking event and chat with specialty businesses such as handmade jewelry, make-up artists, hair stylist, computer techs, etc. and they are passing out the exact same card as someone else at the event.

It breaks my heart knowing that these individuals are working so hard to grow their business and will become confused with someone else, who is working just as hard, because they are using the same logo, business card layout or brochure template.

If you are to invest in one thing and one thing only for you business, INVEST IN YOUR LOGO! The logo may be a larger investment that you want to take on right now, but remember, it is a one time investment that will be used in every part of your marketing; from business cards, websites, invoices, fax sheets, flyers, advertising, etc. Your logo will be with you for the duration of you running your business. Your logo will be the backbone to you building a strong brand recognition.

Tasha Lee Design, Chicagoland Graphic Designer
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