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4 Ways a Templated Logo Can Harm Your Business

What is a “Templated Logo”?

A templated logo is any logo that is pre-made or assembled from stock elements. These can be easily found on “do-it-yourself” sites like Canva or Envato, and all over the “too-good-too-be-true” deal sites like fivver.comAs an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get lured down this path, but taking the cheap route can hurt your business’ reputation, lead generation and profitability.

1. Premade ‘clip art’ logos are lazy and can expose you to legal trouble down the road.

Remember impressing your school teachers by slapping clip art all over your bake sale posters or PowerPoint presentations? You’d browse through a library of pre-made images, find something that vaguely fit your purpose, and pop it onto the page. This is essentially the process behind a $5 logo.

When we design a logo, we work closely with a client, taking into account their brand positioning, service offerings, competition and ideal audience, then apply that to a cohesive brand identity that includes all the fonts, patterns, photography style and design hierarchy. We do this all while balancing the client’s subjective tastes with the tastes of the audience they want to attract.

How can someone do all of this for $5? The short answer is: they can’t.

So what do they do? They take existing graphics that they’ve found, purchased or plagiarized and write your business name under them.

Even if this isn’t something that bothers you, it’s something that could bother the original artist or the company with the actual rights to that image, and open your business up to legal troubles down the road.

2. Logos that look generic make your business look generic.

Generic "girl boss" feminine logo.

No two businesses are the same, so they shouldn’t look the same. Your logo should be custom designed for you with the goal of separating you from your competition, targeting your audience, and ensuring that your clients have a unique and memorable experience of your business.

A templated logo does the exact opposite. If your logo is partially completed before you’ve begun the branding process, then you’re:

  • Selecting a logo style you like the look of, not one that will attract the audience you want.
  • Selecting a logo style that many people already have and will continue to purchase, helping you blend into the market rather than stand out.
  • Selecting a logo style that your company name will have to “squish” into, rather than designing a logo around your company.

At the end of the day, good design involves understanding what your needs are, and producing a custom product to fulfill them. You want to push the boundaries of trends, not follow them blindly – which is what you’re doing when you select a $5 logo from a list.

3. You’re left with a logo, not a brand.

Michael Jordon Gatorade Ad Branding

We say this all the time, but a logo is not a brand. Of course, it’s a big part of a brand, but people should be able to immediately recognize your company even in times when your logo isn’t used.

A great example of memorable branding without a logo are the Gatorade ads. When a Gatorade ad begins, you see shots of athletes with vibrantly coloured sweat running down their faces. Even without seeing the logo, the audience recognizes that it’s a Gatorade ad right away based on the recurring visual motifs. The photography style and the bright artificial colouring of their sweat is all a part of their visual identity that will pop into your head when you see their bright, artificially flavoured drinks on the shelves of your grocery store.

4. Rebranding is a pain in the ass.
FinerChoice Real Estate print collateral rebrand.
Our print collateral rebranding for FinerChoice Real Estate

As a marketing agency, a lot of our business comes from clients who initially bought a generic logo, only to discover that it wasn’t enough to give their business a professional look – or ones that have run into legal trouble.  Of course, we’re happy to help, but it represents a larger cost for the client than it would have been if they’d just done it correctly the first time around – especially since their old logo has now been plastered across all their print material and advertising.

What we recommend:

If you are considering a $5 dollar logo, save yourself the hassle of having to rebrand later, and work on other aspects of your business first. It is far more valuable to spend your energy creating a business plan, building an audience, networking or securing a bank loan or grant until you can hire a professional to help you create a unique and memorable brand identity.

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