Now, I admit, I made this a bigger deal than perhaps it warranted. On the other hand, why start a company if you don’t aspire to be the best: if you aspire to mediocrity, you will likely achieve poorly, its by aspiring to greatness that you at least achieve mediocrity.
It all began with the design of the logo. You see, the complication with design projects where you are a not a designer, is that you know when something isn’t right, but you cannot communicate what would make it better.
I knew I wanted my logo to be meaningful but not obviously so; I didn’t want it to use overly recognisable symbols (like hands, arrows, stars of humans); and I wanted it to convey the essence of my brand. Sounds fair enough, right?
So, to find a designer. In my effort to stay cost-effective (I am financing this all on my own after all) I decided to source the designer using Elance. I had successfully used this service in the past on other projects, and found the experience on the whole very satisfactory. You got an excellent choice of providers, you had excellent evidence of their past efforts, and were able to view their full portfolios ahead of time.
I chose an Argentinian firm. This decision was based largely on their portfolio, visible both on Elance and on their own website, which showed they had extensive experience in web site logos, and also – I shamefully admit – because being an Latino woman, I quite liked the fact that I would be dealing with a firm staffed by Latino women. They were more expensive than other providers who bid for my project in Elance, but I had the best feeling about this company. Isn’t it fascinating the degree to which intuition forms the basis of business decisions for a woman?
The other reason I chose this firm (and yes, there were sensible reasons as well) was they offered unlimited number of concepts, and that I wouldn’t have to pay until I was 100% satisfied. Considering I had never designed a logo before, it felt a safe option. In the end, this was a brilliant decision! The company was good, but it certainly took a lot of rounds of concept designs before I was vaguely satisfied. The process was actually quite frustrating… I had a vision, but it wasn’t visually articulated in my head, which made it difficult for all parties. I kept coming up with ideas on new directions, and bless their little hearts, this design firm were constantly patient, and were constantly reminding me that they sought to ensure I was 100% happy with the logo, and duly kept coming back with new concepts.
In the end, I was frustrated by the difficulty of matching my vision with reality. So I found the pre-designed logos on Biz-Logo. This site was absolutely brilliant: it has a vast collection of different logos, each unique and offered for sale with the ability to make minor enhancements to colours, fonts and company name. Looking back, if I had known about this site beforehand, I might have used them instead. I found the quality of the logos on this site excellent, and once you bought a logo, it was removed from sale, so you were assured a unique logo. They have a huge variety of options, within the categories of abstract squares/cubes, abstract circles, swooshes, freeform abstract, and so on. In the end, what I did go, is have a thorough browse, identified the logos that came close to what my mind intimated bu could not express, and then used them as inspiration for the updated brief for my own logo.
My design firm finally delivered my vision, and I am really pleased with the result. The logo (seen here on this page) is meaningful, represents the brand essence, and does not use overly recognisable shapes. I will of course, keep the significance of the logo from you for now… I gotta keep you all coming back and reading my blog, so perhaps the curiousity and anticipation will keep you gagging for more!
My lesson learnt from all this? I think its to go with your gut, and don’t be ashamed if you cause difficulty. I asked my friends for feedback during the design process, and every single person favoured a totally different logo concept. Some friends were quite vociferous in denouncing my favoured designs, and I was torn between what I thought was right versus what other people said they hated (I mean, didn’t 37signals teach us all about the importance of listening to our customers?). But this project is my dream, and I feel quite passionately that I need to listen to my gut, particularly when it comes to something as integral to what I am building as brand essence.
So, there you have it, folks. What do you think of the logo? What do you think it says to you?