It Pays to be Original

The hidden costs of crowdsourcing logos

It’s a daunting endeavor to build your own business from the ground up. It is also an expensive one. We know that investing in your brand starts with your logo, and it’s an important investment. Logos give you a feeling about something much larger. It’s what brings your company’s name to life and humanizes your venture. For example, a simple swoosh can signal athletic energy and high quality design in a single gesture. And even the absence of a logo or visual identity communicates something to your audiences. Either way, it’s important to be intentional and own your identity.

So, where do you go to find this vital piece of brand language? You can find one online, right?  “Design your logo in 5 minutes,” “Make a logo in seconds,” -- you get the picture. Well, yes, but what you may end up with could be someone else’s logo slightly edited by, and then repurposed for you. While that $300 dollars spent now seems reasonable, having an unoriginal logo can really cost you down the road. And that price is not worth the risk.

Because a generic logo can’t be trademarked or registered, you could end up with a letter from an attorney telling you the logo you’ve been using is infringing and you have 30 days to destroy all uses of it. That will certainly cost you more than $300 -- it could cost you your brand and the trust you’ve built with your audiences.

Beyond legal trouble, there is a price to blending in with the crowd - missing your chance to distinguish yourself and find your core audience. This is a cost that is harder to define, but is very real. We know when a logo looks generic and when it doesn’t, and most of us appreciate the difference, even if it isn’t our cup of tea.

When making your brand building choices, above all else, be original. Truth be told, you are better off putting pencil to paper and making your own logo than you are ordering one online. Though it’s a process without a shortcut, it pales in comparison to taking the riskier, generic route on the internet. Originality is the secret sauce that makes your investment worth the trouble, protecting you from potential legal issues, while elevating your identity above the fray.

In an ideal world, your best option is to go to an experienced team, but if your only options are to go to the internet or make your own, you’re better off picking up the pencil and doing it yourself.

Allow us to underline that statement. Sketch your own logo before buying one online. At the very least, your stick figure is original.

About The Author

Emma Rotilie

I am one part artist, one part designer, full parts nerd. I love solving visual puzzles and finding new ways to express complex, human experiences. I am endlessly fascinated in why people do what they do and believe that human connection is real-life magic. Favorite past-times include drinking fancy coffee and discussing the weather with strangers.


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