Why Your Logo SUCKS and How to Fix It!

by Chris C. Ducker · 42 comments

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While I was in San Francisco last April I didn’t get as much time as I normally do to shoot video for the blog. My schedule was simply very hectic… However, I did shoot this one clip on my iPhone4 (along with all the B-Roll footage that goes with it), on the importance of logo design and implementation for branding and business growth.

In the short video I discuss and show you:

  • Why its important to keep your logo clean, and not too busy looking.
  • The original design for my company logo, and why I made several changes to it.
  • How making the changes enabled us (my company) to be seen as a ‘bigger’ fish in the ever-growing world of the outsourcing industry.
  • The ideology behind the logo for my Virtual Staff Finder service.
  • Why so many big brands spend so much time focusing on their logos.
  • Much more…!

Smart Logo = Big Business!

To enable yourself to be seen as a serious business entity, you simply cannot underestimate the power of a strong logo design for your company, and even your personal brand.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours going over logo designs for everything from business cards to letterheads; websites to online products; retail packaging to TV presentations – and every one of them has been priceless in the search for the perfect logo design that ‘says it all’.

I’d love to know what your ideas and ‘rules’ are when it comes to designing logos and branding your businesses and products. Leave a comment below to help everyone out, and look incredibly sexy in the process – a bit like me, in the video! :-)

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Cubbon June 27, 2011 at 20:38

I would say logos need to be simple, recognisable and scalable (work well when very big and very small). I’m on my 3rd or 4th logo now for Rob Cubbon and, although I’ll never be 100% happy with it, I’m more content with my current logo that I’ve ever been. I’ve got two colors (both gradients) which helps with site design and a “symbol” to go along with the words.

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Chris C. Ducker June 27, 2011 at 23:00

Great insight on the scalable side of things, buddy. Absolutely true. I like your current logo better than your last…

The minimal amount of colors is also a good idea, too. Don’t need it looking like a rainbow… Unless of course your company name is ‘Rainbow Products, Inc.!’.

C

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Steve Wyman June 27, 2011 at 20:47

Agreed Logo’s are one of the most difficult things to agree on in most start ups/ Once established its also very dificult to change as there alwasy and issue with wether the existing customers wil like teh change.

The Mian thing is to brain storm as many design ideas before you talk to a designer and then have them produce as many varations as possible.

Then give it time and “live” with the logo before you commit.

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Trent Dyrsmid June 27, 2011 at 23:00

Hey Steve,

I agree with Chris that having a professional looking logo is critical. After all, you only get once chance to make a first impression.

In my case, my blog is about making money online and as I have a large number of sites, I’m always experimenting (split testing) with ways to improve my monetization. Hence why I have a laboratory professor in my logo.

If you are looking for a way to get a bunch of designers working on your logo at once, 99designs is a great resources. It definitely beats the heck out of just 2-3 designers working on your job.

The other key thing about the first impression that I talked about earlier is that your brand should also be consistent across your various web properties (site, facebook page, twitter, youtube, etc…).

@ Chris: you still looked like a gangster :)

Trent

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Steve Wyman June 28, 2011 at 00:22

Hey Trent

cool.

love your website and agree the Logo is excellent. Signed up to be a subscriver whilst pasing through as well.

Love you bout page that puts most questions to bed :-) Very nice

regards

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Chris C. Ducker June 28, 2011 at 00:54

I agree, Steve. Nice ‘About’ page. I need to re-look at mine here, too.

Complete with THREE sign-up CTA’s, too… :-)

Trent – any ideas?

C

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Trent Dyrsmid June 28, 2011 at 02:59

I think the most important thing to do with the About page is to FIRST make it about your visitor. Prior to engagement, they dont’ give a rats ass about you. After you have spelled out who your site is for, they ‘might’ start to wonder about who you are, and that is when you can tell ‘em.

Glad you liked mine. What did you think of the new theme? My weekend’s work…

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Chris C. Ducker June 28, 2011 at 03:42

Interesting… A little like what Derek said on the evaluation he did on Pat’s site a while ago. I am actually getting a ‘going over’ from him tomorrow, so it should be interesting to see what he says, too!

I think the new layout is MUCH better than, er… the old one. For obvious reasons! :-)

Keep rockin’.

C

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Justin November 3, 2011 at 01:16

Interesting, Chris…

Looking at having Derek go over our site as well. I really liked what he had to say about SPI with Pat and have implemented some of his suggestions. We’re design-poor on our site so far…we’ve been adding good content but our design…meh…basic WooThemes theme, hehe.

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Trent Dyrsmid June 28, 2011 at 02:59

Hey Steve,

Welcome aboard. Thanks for the kind words :)

T

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Chris C. Ducker June 28, 2011 at 00:42

Hi Trent!

Hahaha… Oh, well – there goes the Knighthood then.

Thanks for the additional insights on this topic, Trent.

You mention 99Designs. How many times have you used it? What was the work like? Costs? Curious…

Cheers,
C

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Trent Dyrsmid June 28, 2011 at 03:01

I must to admit that I’ve not used them yet (did my own logo), but my biz partner has and he’s very pleased. A logo costs about $300 and a website design is $400-500. Based upon my past experience of using just one designer, I can tell you that 99Designs model is FAR superior.

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Chris C. Ducker June 28, 2011 at 03:41

This is my feeling, too… Why settle for ONE bunch of ideas, when you can get several.

I dont really need this too much, however, as I have my own internal bunch of superstars. But, I might just give it a go in the future, just to experience the difference in concepts, ideas, etc.

C

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Chris Huntley February 13, 2013 at 14:32

Hey Chris,
I used 99designs a couple times and was thrilled both times.

The best part about it is when the designers submit their design, you can provide feedback, and THEY’LL GO MAKE THE CHANGES AT NO COST TO YOU.

I know I always feel like a jerk when working with a single designer asking him for dozen revisions, and “can you try adding this and changing that color”, etc.

99designs really solves this problem. Also, once you start providing a bit of feedback, the other designers will start to see which designs you like and start to copycat the best ones, but frequently make them even better, so it’s just a fantastic way to get exactly what you want fine-tuned in the most efficient way.

They did my header at http://www.highrisklifeinsuranceagency.com, which I love. In fact, I like it a hundred times better than my main site’s logo, Insurance Blog by Chris, which was designed by a single designer.

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TrafficColeman June 27, 2011 at 20:52

Make a log0 that stands out a catches the attention of peopel right off the back. Make it clean and easy on the eyes.

“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

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Chris C. Ducker June 27, 2011 at 22:58

‘Clean’ being the operative word here…

Anything too ‘busy’ or ‘messy’ is a HUGE turn-off.

Thanks for dropping by, dude.

C

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Karl Walinskas June 27, 2011 at 21:31

Chris:
Timely post. On my Smart Company Growth logo I tried to keep it simple with the letter showing growth or expansion. Don’t know if I pulled that off. Right now I have a designer working on a logo for Virtual Mastermind site and one of my services where I do video interviews for clients. Your video was helpful m’man.

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Chris C. Ducker June 27, 2011 at 22:57

Glad to be of service, buddy.

Logo’s are greatly underestimated in the grand scale of things. I would have focused on the ‘Growth’ word a little more. Rather than the ‘Smart’. But, that’s just one idea. It’s still a nice corporate looking logo, nonetheless.

Thanks for dropping by, and commenting.

C

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Bojan June 27, 2011 at 21:53

I am just rethinking my logo. I ended up changing the domain for better branding and now I want to change my logo as well….

Is there some good recommendation when we end up choosing some designer for a logo? And do you have any idea of logo for my website? Adress is http://alphaefficiency.com

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Chris C. Ducker June 27, 2011 at 22:55

Hi Bojan

Thanks for the comment.

My first piece of feedback on your current logo is that its too ‘busy’ looking, because of the typeface/font youve chosen.

Secondly, there is no real ‘logo’. Its just letters/words. I suggest you use at least one icon/image and focus on the word ‘Productivity’, like I have here, with ‘Lifestyle’.

Hope that helps, buddy.

C

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henri June 27, 2011 at 22:15

Spot on Chris !! KISS (keep it simple stupid)

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Chris C. Ducker June 27, 2011 at 22:51

Hi Henri

Absolutely… Less is, 9/10, always more.

Thanks for dropping by.

C

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William Wallace June 27, 2011 at 23:05

Chris, loved your piece on logos and branding… it’s what I do, therefore close to my heart. Wanted to sign up above, but got no emial, in regular mail or spam, that allowed me to confirm… Lemme know what i missed…

Blessings on your day. Keep up the good work.

William ‘Sandy’ Wallace
The Brand Architect

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Chris C. Ducker June 28, 2011 at 00:52

Hi William

Awesome – nice to hear that a REAL ‘expert’ on the subject enjoyed the clip.

Sorry you had trouble subscribing. I’ve checked the form at the botom of the post, and on the sidebar and they are both working fine. Please give it another go. If you still have trouble, let me know, and I will have my VA add you personally, buddy!

Thanks again,

C

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Annie Andre June 27, 2011 at 23:57

Loved this piece too.. I worked in the semiconductor industry for several years. I remember working for a company that was a spinoff from Motorola. They spend 10 Grand on the logo design ALONE. It’s big business. And it’s important…
ps i thnk that little magnifying glass with the little guy in it is so clever..

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Benny June 28, 2011 at 00:35

10K on a logo? Wow! I can understand for a website but a logo. I hope it was good!

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Chris C. Ducker June 28, 2011 at 00:56

Hi Annie

Glad you liked the video and the Virtual Staff Finder logo, too! :-) <—- BIG Smile!

Yep, its huge business. Branding a product or service in a bad way can, literally, end it all before its even begun. I know, I've seen it happen on numerous occasions.

Thanks for dropping by, Annie. Really appreciate your input.

C

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Benny June 28, 2011 at 00:34

I think one rule and this is for new bloggers or small businesses is don’t go to Fiverr to get logos done!! They’re cheap and probably stock images they use. That’s just my experience.

A serious designers takes the logo process very seriously. That’s what I’ve learned when reading some blogs and their process behind designing a logo.

A great logo describes what your business does immediately. It conveys a certain message too.

Loved the video! You look like the evil Sith Lord in Star Wars with the way you wear that hoodie!

Man I miss some cooler weather. Been brutally hot here in Florida!

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Chris C. Ducker June 28, 2011 at 01:00

Hi Benny

Fiverr is what it is… cheap. Period.

I’ve had one designer take 3 weeks to design a logo – one a first draft!!! It’s a seriously, seriously big deal to some designers. But, it is business that should be taken seriously, as I mentioned in the video.

Evil Sith Lord, wasn’t really what I was going for… But, I can tell you – my ears were kept warm, and thats all that matters! That ‘sun’ is very, very misleading… :-)

Thanks for dropping by, buddy.

C

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Stuart Bell June 28, 2011 at 04:49

Agree Chris. Fiverr is great if it allows you to move on & get something out there. You can always refine it later.

Just developing the points from the video will give you a good understanding of what you want. Once you’ve refined it in you mind, you can then spend on a more professional job.

The important thing is to get something out there.

Cheers
Stuart

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Chris C. Ducker June 28, 2011 at 14:09

Hi Stuart

I agree – a lot of first timers are stuck in ‘thought’ mode, because they dont have someone to just simply ‘help’. Fiverr (or something similar) is great for that, because, as you state, it will enable you to get something done, finished and out for the world to see.

For that more ‘pro’ look, a little more time and money needs to be spent, I feel. And no doubt, you’ll agree.

GETTING SOMETHING OUT THERE, PEOPLE!!!

Thanks for the comment, buddy – nice to see you back on the blog. Its been a while…

C

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Stuart Bell June 29, 2011 at 06:27

Good to be back mate ;) I’ll blame it on a satellite delay between brain & fingers! Normal service should resume shortly.
Hopefully going to catch up with Glenn Bridges again soon. Will say hi. The banter on the webinar you two did still make me chuckle.
Speak soon mate.
Stuart

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Chris C. Ducker June 29, 2011 at 14:51

Hi Mate!

Good man… Yes, I remember that webinar well. All good fun.

Nice to see you back on the blog, and looking forward to seeing more of your insights feedback and comments in the coming weeks and months. I have a SHEDLOAD of stuff planned…!!!

C

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Wasim Ismail June 28, 2011 at 05:55

Your logo is your identity so it does need to be attractive, and simple at the same time, making use of colours effectively can improve your logo allot.

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Chris C. Ducker June 28, 2011 at 14:06

Amen to THAT, Wasim.

It IS your identity. Incidentally, I checked out your blog – loved the simple ‘thought bubble’ image on YOUR logo. Rockin’, dude.

Thanks for the comment.

C

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Sheila June 28, 2011 at 09:59

Thanks Chris!
Your video and all the posts have been a big help as I’m clarifying my brand/message, looking forward to being inspired :)

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Chris C. Ducker June 28, 2011 at 14:05

That’s awesome Sheila. Thanks for the kind words, too.

Perhaps you should check out the following, too, if you haven’t already:

http://www.virtualbusinesslifestyle.com/2011/01/social-media-trevor-turnbull/
http://www.virtualbusinesslifestyle.com/2010/12/10-steps-to-thought-leader-niche-status/
http://www.virtualbusinesslifestyle.com/2010/07/personal-branding-and-the-art-of-self-promotion/

Hope they help out. Sometimes going back, way back, into the archives helps!

Regards,
C

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Sheila June 29, 2011 at 01:52

Wow, Chris, thanks for the link! The article was chock full of good info/specific steps and just what I needed to read to turn my ‘flashlight’ of passion/focus into a ‘laser beam’ :)

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Chris C. Ducker June 29, 2011 at 02:05

Happy to have helped, Sheila.

Good luck on your continued passions and journey. Keep tuned into the VBL, there is a TON of great stuff coming up soon, if I may so say myself!

C

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KC Truby July 1, 2011 at 14:31

Well I hate to be the hard case here, but if you have under 100 employees and your worrying about a logo – I’m glad your not my boss. What a WASTE of time – a small business grows because of the vision of the owner. The OWNER is the logo. Any cheap FIVERR or clip art slap on will do. This is like worrying about the color of your stationairy or business card design.

98% of all small business fail, or work themselves to death because they don’t work on the right thing. LOGO should be at the top of any list for TIME WASTED.

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Chris C. Ducker July 1, 2011 at 16:39

Hi KC

I have to agree, and disagree.

I agree that the owner of any small business, IS the business. I know that from nothing but per, unadulterated experience. Period.

However (this is the part I do not agree with!), in this day and age, where perception is more key than at anytime before, and where people are programmed to be more visually ‘pleased’ than ever before, I still think that a certain about of time, effort and a little cash, should go into making sure you have a solid corporate brand, by getting a great logo together.

This is one of the best things about being your own boss, an entrepreneur and being in business, period. Your opinion is your opinion. And, I thank you for showing us yours, here. Sincerely.

I look forward to more honest and insightful comments from you in the future.

Regards,
C

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Joseph July 18, 2011 at 01:44

A logo is very important for your business, i have been trying to create a unique and cute logo for my site but av not gotten one.
Hope to find one soon.

Reply

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