When does it make sense to use a premade logo for your business? Is it ever a good idea, or should you invest in a custom logo from the start?
If you have just started a blog or business, or you’ve never put much thought into your logo and branding, grab a cup of tea – today’s for you!
Believe it or not, there is actually a time when it’s better to use a premade logo than to invest in a custom logo package.
When should you use a premade logo?
When you are just starting out with your blog or business, it makes sense to use a premade logo or a simple logo you create yourself. Unless you have a lot of previous experience, your first few months with a new blog are filled with creating content, testing out your direction, honing your niche, clarifying your target audience…
…Oh yeah, and making sure you want to stick with this idea in the first place!
When you’re in your first year, it’s ok to figure things out as you go. In fact, that’s encouraged! If you waited until everything was perfect before publishing your first blog post, you’d never start! Chances are good that you’ll shift direction (at least a little!) while your blog 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 in collaboration with a professional designer. Your logo is such an important part of your business identity, and you want to put significant thought and planning into your entire brand – when you have a clear direction that you can be reasonably certain won’t change anytime soon.
So, let’s assume that you’re still testing things out and you want a logo that looks good, but doesn’t break your budget.
First, let’s understand a few things about ALL premade logos:
You will 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, and again. Unless explicitly stated, expect that your logo will be sold again.
Your premade logo will be limited
When you work with a professional designer on a custom logo, you’ll be provided with several versions of your logo, in several different file types: Color, black & white, for print, for web, full logo, alternate logo, in vector format, and more. You will use your logo in countless ways, and you 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 color. Again, when you are just starting out, that’s ok. Your focus is elsewhere.
But as you build your business, your needs will change, and you’ll grow out of your premade logo.
Types of Premade Logos
There are a couple types of premade logos you may have seen: custom premade logos and DIY logo creators.
1 – 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 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.
2 – DIY Logo Creators / Logo Bundles
You purchase a bundle of templates that you use to create your own logo.
Word of warning here: 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. Often, the designer will tell you where you can download the free fonts used, but you may or may not have access to the same fonts you fell in love with in the product listing.
- You will most likely need Adobe Photoshop (and perhaps 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.
Bottom line: I recommend using a custom premade logo instead of a logo creator kit.
Traits of a well-designed premade logo
Ready to start shopping all the pretty logos? Keep this list of “Design Do’s & Don’ts” handy.
Horizontal or square
Typically, your logo will need to fit into a horizontal or a square space. A vertical logo is extremely difficult to use in everyday graphics.
Looks good small
Of course the logo looks good when it’s splashed nice and 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.
Must be legible
This sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people fall in love with logos you can’t read. Handwritten fonts are beautiful when they work, but your logo won’t do a bit of good if no one can read the name!
Be cautious of extra artwork
If you’re a photographer, do you really need a cute little camera in your logo? Simple wins with logos. I’m not saying you can’t choose a logo with extra graphics beyond text, but run it against our criteria above. Is it still legible, or does that gorgeous colored swoosh behind the name make it difficult to read? You may love the watercolor illustration of roses, pearls, and a lipstick tube, but how does it look when the logo is really small?
What your premade logo should include
At a minimum, your premade logo should include two files:
- A high-quality JPG file for printing
- A PNG with a transparent background for the web
- 1 revision round with the designer
Bonus if you also receive:
- A vector file (like an EPS or AI) 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
- Other colors, like black & white or grayscale
- An alternate 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, judge for yourself.
I am not a fan of Fiverr or crowd-sourcing sites (where people compete to design your project). From a design point of view, the work is often extremely poor. But more importantly, it’s a common enough practice for “designers” to copy from other logos (which opens you up to liability issues) that I recommend you steer clear when shopping for your logo.
When you’re just starting out it can make sense to use a premade logo. Your focus needs to be other areas, like producing fabulous content and validating your idea. Just follow these guidelines and you’ll have a logo that will serve you well during this season of your business. And by the way, congratulations on your new blog!
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