Your opinion on logos

Frame Lady

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Oct 7, 2003
Seattle, Washington
I currently do not have a specific logo. I have remodeled the front of the building and the sign designer I am using says if I am going to have one designed now is the time. They normally charge $800-1400 to design one logo but since I am having signs installed on the building they will only charge the $800.

I know I am asking for your opinions and that is what is so great about this forum. But I am scared with the economy sucking air right now that maybe $800 is too much. Good golly I am sounding like a picture frame shopper with sticker shock! The only thing worse right now is gasoline !!!!!!!!!!!!

So help me out here. Is it important? Is it too much money?

Your opinions are greatly appreciated.
I'm a little hesitant to post since my opinions on branding, relationships and word of mouth marketing have all been shot at lately (not shot down, just shot at) - anyway, here goes...

I think a logo is a very important thing for a business to have. It is all part of your overall branding and recognition in the marketplace. If you don't have any experience in this area, it's always better to go to an expert. However, I still think you need to have some input to the design.

Sometimes a logo is a symbol, but sometimes it is just a distinctive way your name is designed or printed.

In this case, I would look at some of the other logos they've created and the companies to whom they belong and see if you feel the connection between the logo and the business. That will give you an idea of whether you think they can "define" your business better than you can.

Anyway, that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.
I had a logo designed last year. I bartered for some framing so it was not expensive, mostly my time involved.

My logo looks good but I don't think it says anything about my business. IMO
The designer was a PIA to work with...was more interested in what the logo said about her than in what it said about me.

Look at the designs the company does before contracting them! and try to get a feel for how big the designer's ego is!

As far as the amount of money they are asking you to spend...yes, it is reasonable if they do a good job.

By the way, even though I'm not entirely happy with my logo my new business cards that use it look a lot better than the old ones!
Lynn -
Why not contact the CAD/Drafting/Design/Art teacher(s) at your local high school or community college?
Consider having a contest w/ the students and offer a $100 savings bond as the prize. Not only could you get a terrific logo, but the publicity surrounding the project would be worth $$$ - Young minds can come up with some great ideas
I've never owned a store, but I've certainly driven by a good many whose signs I could not decipher. Clever-cutesy names and over-styled logoforms strike me as a waste of perhaps one's most potent marketing opportunity, assuming a great location.
Logos, like a web page, are a cool thing to have, that is pretty much it.

Unless you can afford to splash your new logo all over town, for a sustained length of time, it isn't going to make all that much difference to your bottom line. Actually, it won't make any difference to your bottom line.

Think of some logos that you are familiar with, like General Electric, or the Yellow page thing. Now think of some of the smaller companies in your town that have a logo. Having any luck yet?

The only thing a logo will do for you, is make your business appear more professional. It will enhance your sign painters bottom line though.

Save your money, your a picture framing shop for goodness sakes, nobody expects you to look like a mega corporation.

I have a logo that was designed years ago, it does look cool on my business cards. I know there is no way in he ll I would spend eight hundred dollars on one.

We use one, has no obvious connection with our business yet our customers love it. It's proved to be an important branding tool, check it out on our web site link above. The connection is on some of our in shop material and our paper work it says "Attention is Retention" The total logo is self designed in 'Corel" therefore cost zero bar some time.

Like Baer's idea. Might wanna check that out, give it a shot and, if you have a FastSigns in the 'hood, they can do a vinyl transfer of any size for your window, door, whatevdr. .
Our logo gives us an identity and people ask all the time if we're part of a larger operation. I'm a big fan of logos.

We used, and I think it was only about $100 for the logo design and an identity package (business card, letterhead, envelope design templates)

$800 isn't too bad, but the link baer posted and the one I posted will let you bid it out to hundreds of designers who will be competing for your project.

One thing that was important when we specced ours out: Make sure it's a logo that can print ok in color or Black and white. Something that will also be subject to use by a sign company. If you can get it in EPS format, it will scale to any size without any quality loss.

Good luck!

[ 08-15-2005, 09:08 AM: Message edited by: Mike-L@GTP ]
Coming up with a logo is difficult, just like coming up with a name for your business. Doing it right can be invaluable. It's all about triggering customers to think of your business. You really want to do your thinking about this before you decide to get a sign, because you don't want the time pressure to get it done by a certain time, but if you've got the time pressure you need to deal with it as best you can. My personal preference is for something understated and classy rather than brash and flashy, but you need to determine what image is most congruent with your business. Giving the general guidelines to the designer can help channel their efforts in the right direction.

It's somewhat amusing in a way that the $800 seems like a lot to you (considering recent price commentary in a different topic.) Price matters. But if you look at it as a thing that will last you at least 10 years, would it be worth it to you to get the right logo for $80 a year?
What ever you do don't let some unreadable little squiggly muck up your store sign. I see that lot.

Betty's suggestion to make your logo a distinctive way of printing your name is a good one.

When Kim and I first opened our shop 25 years ago we had a logo contest. Offered $50 to the winner. Got a great logo which we used until the feng shui consultant said it had too many "poison arrows" - but the winner of the contest never even bothered to collect his prize so all in all, not a bad investment for 20 years' worth of logo...

Now I need a new one...
Lynn, the $800 IMHO is way too much. Go with Baer's suggestion (gracious, that man does seem to have smarts!) and find one that 'sits good' with you. Only YOU can know how you want the world to recognize you through a particular design.

I've settled on a medieval lion to the left side with my info on the right side. I chose that because I work with old paper collectibles, and I want folks to think 'Victorian' and 'Classic' when they see my business cards, or whatever else I put it on.

Good luck!
We had a designer do a logo for us. I think we paid $300 or so, but that was a lot of years ago.

He submitted three ideas. I didn't understand any of them and chose one that included one of Raphael's little cherubs. The designer explained (a couple of times) what that had to do with my business.

A few months later, cherubs and angels started appearing on EVERYTHING. They became, perhaps, the dominant design element of the decade. I was sick-to-death of them six months after we had our new logo.

I still have about 90,000 very attractive labels. Sometimes I'll even use them.
Pay attention to what Mike said about printing! I had a nice design done for our signage and business cards. Then I wanted a single color design for our vehicles and advertisements. We "adapted" the original logo and did ok, but it was a PITA. Efentually I will switch everything to the style that works well in single color.

BTW, my logo is recognizable on the vehicle and people comment all the time that the see and recognize it. They wouldn't usually have time to read text, but a quick glance at the logo is enough.

How much business it truly drives I don't know, but it does help keep us on the frontal lobe of some of our existing customers.
There is a thing I wrote about called "mental market share". This is what branding really does for you.

For instance - there is one company that I get mailings from occasionally that uses a distinctive color/type of envelope for all their mailings. When I see that envelope, I know immediately who it is from before I ever look at the address.

When you use a determined set of colors, fonts, styles, and logos consistantly, it builds your "mental market share" in the customer's mind. Then, anytime they see that particular font or color etc, they think of you.

That's what I'm working for - when my customer thinks "art or antiques" I want my image so ingrained in their minds that they think of me first.
A logo can be an important element in your design. I feel that your name is the most important part of your business - so that is easily read and recognized. And the ability to use it in a single color/single stock printing process helps when you try to adapt it to other marketing.

Having been indoctrinated in the backyard of "Xerox" and working in the graphics industry for many years... there are a couple of schools of thought. One being the name "Xerox" is recognized all over the world whether it is in it's logotype or just typewritten, no matter what color or format.... that is true branding. Then there is the Nike "swoosh" or the Target "bullseye" - you don't even have to see the name to know what company it is. They have world wide attention. Most of us are in our regions or even smaller communities. If you intend to branch out and open numerous stores a logo is very important; if you are a single shop - I would put my money into the signage that promotes your name and what you do: Framing.

Choose, as Betty has mentioned, consisent colors and type faces to work with - mine happens to be teal/turquois, but I change fonts with the character of the advertising/marketing I am doing... I do use a logo but the name is what really carries my business....

To add some graphics to your signage - not necessarily a total logo design could enhance your look.

Hope this helps!
You gotta have a logo.

It is a one time investment of time (for sure)and money (maybe) that will give your business a recognizable face and credibillity. It makes you look professional.

Not to mention, it makes creating a consistant marketing camaign that much easier, because now it all at least looks the same. Again, professional and credible.

Look at how effective Target is with that red and white circle thing. Now everytime I see something red and white, I think Target. (**** them)

However, the greatest logo design in the world is not effectve if it is not used consistantly. Once you settle on one, get it out in front of people however you can.

Just don't make another on of those logos with a frame corner in it. UUUGGGGHHHHH! There are too many of those. (My appologies to those that have one.) You may try to play on your name somehow. "Lake City Picture Framing" you should be able to come up with something with that. Betty's idea of a distinguishable font and a creative way of setting the type may be the best way.

No matter what you decide, logo mark or logotext, get yourself a logo and a consistant look.
Oh, the other issue I wanted to mention.. having a logo designed is similar to custom framing - you don't really know what it will look like til it is done.

If you do have someone design it, ask for several "thumbnails" first - to establish a direction, to assure they are on the same page visually/graphically as you have envisioned (assuming you have an idea of what you want!)before the $$ adds up.

Having worked with graphic designers for many years and playing with it myself - there are many solutions to it... sometimes a designer will get "stuck" with an idea of his or hers and not really move past that to get to other options... do a little research before you contract for the work. Clip some graphics that you have seen and liked and go from there...

Good luck.
$800.00 ?!? :eek:

That ain't nothin' for a well designed logo, included in a well planned package of visual design standards, or otherwise known as your corporate identity.

For some of us, it may well be overkill. Find a less costly alternatives. But remember we get what we pay for.

It's NOT the logo you should be paying for, it is the service of a person that will provide you with a valuable product that works for all your needs, now and in the future. (ie - Cliff's problem) If the designer does not sit down and interview you at great length about what you want to say, to whom you are saying it, AND every possible place you want to stick the logo (on the web, vinyl for window, backlit sign, shopping bags, embroidered shirts, . . . . . . ) then they are, IMHO, not a logo designer.

I wonder what the conversations are like on the "Graphic Designer's Grumble" when it come to people complaining about prices. ;)

Lynn - IMO only pay a sign painter to design your logo if, and only if, that is the only place you intend to use it. Otherwise, just let him make the best possible sign for the best price you can get. You might do very well.

I do think that many sign guys are great at designing, even brilliant. Thay can be a good resource, but they are not printers! I have seen great signs that turn into awful business cards.

I think 800 bucks is a lot of money for a small business like ours. Even if you are not an artist, as framers we’ve got to have a few creative strands of amino acids floating around in our genes.

My suggestion would be to rough out a few ideas (ignoring details for the time being). Once you’ve got it narrowed down to some potential keepers, contact one of your graphic artist customers and see if he/she won’t fine tune your ideas in exchange for some framing.

Once it’s done, though, make sure that you have exclusive rights to it.
I find it interesting in that the majority of posters to this thread recognize some value in having a logo........a few described theirs.....Mike was the only person who posted his logo image to view.

It's in the repetition of usage that a logo has value...


Our "log" is actually nothing more than a font style, Lubalin Graph Bold used in different configurations.

One of the strength of the Grumble as a forum is that images can be easily posted. I think posting ideas here could be educational and enlightening.

Federal Express, the cross town rival of Unlimited Pounding Specialist... years ago wanted a logo.

They paid $50,000 for two years... and if it worked they would pay the remaining $950,000.

Can you see the "arrow" in FedEx? Your subconsious does... and by doing nothing else but changing their signage... they captured 4% more of the market share. Now that's real money.

The UPS "Badge" is to make it look "official".

They also NEVER sell thier trucks... The bodys get a new undercarriage, or are destroyed. The body is THEIR design and part of their Branding.

The guy who designed the USPS (Snail Mail) logo, also designed the little Jeep, the 1/2Ton truck, and the Studibaker Avante which is still being made in limited run.... 33 years later.
My logo can be seen on the home page of my website. An "N" set within the "V" of Valley.

We own a 65 acre farm of which the property line goes from the top of one hill, down through the valley, and to the top of the opposite hill - hence "Newman Valley."

We use this N/V logo in all our businesses - Newman Valley Studio, Newman Valley Publications, Newman Valley Farm. Someday, I hope to design a logo for Newman Valley, Inc...
A good logo is one of the main visual assets that your business has or can have (as Betty said work out how to use it and then use it on everything…….take an in your face approach to use it)…….I would even put it ahead or at the very least on par with the name of the business……

I would also say that a logo is possible more important for a small business than a big one…….a small business needs to use all and every means that it can to identify it’s self to it’s potential audience……………

And with no disrespect to JRB a business without some sort of web presence nowadays is very silly……….the whole position of how the web is now used has dramatically changed over the last year or two……the rate that inter net business is now growing is astounding…

…….the internet is now where the biggest majority of people will now start their search for a service or product……….my mother who is 82 will give my brothers or myself a call to check on the internet if she need something……before she looks anywhere else…….she just knows that the information she will get from the internet is more accurate ………

And at the risk of boaring people I will repeat I’m astonished as to how well my web site is working for me I’m getting about 3 to 4 calls a week from the site and on average I get one order a week from it……………and do bear in mind I have always been a big advocator of the internet…….

John Ranes ……..sorry I cannot post a logo for Matting Systems as it is only been designed at present……

At the risk of pissing off some people……………… the Dell logo is now in the top 10 world wide for reorganisation ……….not bad for a business that was started with US$1000 just about 21 years ago………and if you look at the computer business and in particular Dell and how their products are made you will be astonished as to the similarities to how the custom picture framing business operates……..John Ranes business is a very good example of the similarities of the computer business and framing business even down to how he is adding non framing products to his business…..

Thank you John. (by the way - hope to see you Friday...

Posting pictures is like learning to drive a stick shift - I could if I just took the time - but there's so many other things I need to do...
Thanks goodness Derek is good at this type of thing. He created our logo. We have it on our business cards, the two big signs on my truck, our banner, letterhead, envelopes, advertisements....everything. We saturate people with it. We have no big sign on our building. Can't afford 6-8 grand just yet. But we have it on our windowlettering. I think a logo equals business recognition. Pretty soon, after people see it enough, they will think of you first. On the other hand, having gotten accustomed to being able to do all our own artwork, I would be hesitant to pay $800. I think Baer had a good idea. Try something yourself. Often you will come up with something that says way more about you & your business than a stranger with graphic arts exp. Good luck. Let us know what you come up with.

Originally posted by Baer Charlton:
Lynn, there is always This Way :D
Ahem. So a DIY for logo design, eh, Baer?

Let's see if I remember the arguments against DIY. You get a better product from a professional. They charge a lot of money because they "have to." Anyone can get a graphics program and now they're "a designer". Professionals go to school for a long time to learn their craft. Etc. ;)

Good thing I'm fond of irony. :D
Yeah, Doctah, you'd think with the steep prices we charge, we could afford to have a logo -hey, several!- professionally done, on a whim! ;)

Ya know, I'm just rattlin' your cage.

I'm fond of irony, too. :D

Yoohoo, Meghan, isn't this a good time to chime in with your 'Line up here to take your tour of the framer's mansions' quip?

edie the ipaidgoodmoneyformylogo goddess
Good point, Doctah. :D In my case, my "designer" (aka husband & co-owner) is a professional graphic artist. If it had been left up to me, I would have had no choice but to hire it out.
No sweat, FG. I was just rattlin' Baer's. We'll see the next time he tells someone to try to sell some junk tools to me (yeah, I saw that!)
As a calligrapher, I wanted a calligraphic logo. Mine was hand-drawn and inked the old fashioned way on my trusty drawing board in 1988.

These days graphics are much easier to manipulate and reproduce than in the days prior to digital everything, but some of the old "rules of thumb" are still useful in print media:

1. Make your logo simple and bold enough that it reproduces well and remains legible in any size.

2. If you choose a colorful logo, be prepared to see the colors reproduced wrong as often as right in print media.

3. Proportions close to a square are the easiest to adapt to various uses. A horizontal rectangle is good, but avoid a vertical logo. When having a storefront sign made, the space is limited vertically much more than horizontally. Round or intricate shapes can be a problem in some cases, too.

Seems like absolutely everyone is in favor of Lynn spending money on a logo. She indicated in her post that she is concerned about the economy at this time. Do y'all really think she should be spending her money on a logo now? Will she get a boost in her overall sales by having one?

When I first opened my shop, I designed my own logo. I had the tiniest bit of graphic design training in college. It was very plain, but it had a feel I liked.

When it came time to place my first newspaper ad, I procrastinated and had no time (nor money) to get it typeset in the proper format.

So, the night before it was due, I sat down on my bed with a piece of fome core and a rapidograph pen and drew a funky, cartoony type ad featuring a slightly crooked but shiny picture frame.

It was very distinctive and customers told me they liked it.

It has worked quite nicely for over 17 years and I still use it in certain print ads.

When I moved 6 years ago to a better location, I had a talented graphic designer friend design a slick new logo and business card. It was a neat way to mark my move and resultant shift in business. He kept a few of the old elements and just 'updated' them, but tidied up the whole look overall.

The new logo alone did not get me any more business, but coupled with the bigger, new location and more advertising, it made for a nice boost in biz.

Do your own if you have any training or talent, otherwise get a pro. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive.

edie the ihateddoinggraphicdesignanyway goddess
I can't see how a professionally run and organized business CAN'T have a smart, relevant and eye-catching logo. While it may not be a Nike swoosh, at least consistency of font/color/design is important. Our logo came with the gallery - and we've updated it to reflect a more upbeat, youthful market and attitude. (Check it out on the website if you want)
Consistent message and look is SOOO important in becoming and staying successful. Colors, paper choice, logo, font, logo help seperate your message from the other zillions out there.

BTW I am a true believer in the power of a (IMO)great website - we have attracted a good deal of our new customers this quarter directly from our site. It reflects our attitude and style better than the old one, and gives lots of information before they come in. In many ways they've already visited the shop when they check out

Oh, yeah - I am a true believer in "when in doubt, consult a professional" - I can sew a button but I don't think I'd sew a cut thumb. :D

Originally posted by TheDoctah:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Baer Charlton:
Lynn, there is always This Way :D
Ahem. So a DIY for logo design, eh, Baer?

Let's see if I remember the arguments against DIY. You get a better product from a professional. They charge a lot of money because they "have to." Anyone can get a graphics program and now they're "a designer". Professionals go to school for a long time to learn their craft. Etc. ;)

Good thing I'm fond of irony. :D
</font>[/QUOTE]It's funny what each of us sees and remembers...

At that website, and I just went back to check, I remembered a choice. Yes there was a "DYI" button, if one felt comfortable to do that... and then there was another button leading to an economical source to reach hundreds of professionals that were WELL under $800.

Now, I'm not saying $800 is expensive or chicken feed... infact thats about what I have to shell out for an MRI
this week..... but I know Lynn's business and my real question would be:

Do you need to? And only she can make that call.
Here is mine.


I'm not saying its good or bad. I just is what it is. I like it and it cost me $0.

I agree with John that it probably hasn't brought in a single customer on it's own.

I have it on my shop aprons, business card, website, sign, invoices, backing sticker, advertisement, and just about anyplace else I can put it.

There are 1000 websites that gives tips with colors and design. I don't think it matters if you hire it out or DIY as long as you follow some time-tested guidelines. As a framer, you have a good understanding of how color, shapes, and images evoke certain emotions (I hope) and should be able to DIY. If you were a car mechanic with no understanding of digital graphics or the formerly mentioned points, then I would for sure say let the professionals handle it.

I say just do it. And put it on everything you can think of. I won't pretend to know all the psychology behind logos. I just know there is one there.
Baer, After you referenced the Fed Ex logo and the "arrow" - I couldn't wait for my ride home past the Fed Ex facility to see this arrow I had never noticed. Hmmm. It's there!!! Very subtle but it is there! Interesting.
A logo is only one element of a business identity and creating a logo without consideration of all facets of this identity is a waste of time and resources. A full business identity package would cost far more than $ 800.00. I paid $ 5000.00 in the 70's for an identity package that included designs for everything from a logo, signage design, newspaper ad slicks, business cards, stationery, yellow page ads, in-store signage, etc., etc, etc.

A business's identity is composed of many different elements.

Visual - everything from print ads, web design, store front and interior design, etc.

Verbal - a slogan or byline, a jingle, consistentcy in background music in audio ads, etc.

Mental - pricey, bargain, upscale, schlocky, down home, expert, convenient, helpful, etc.

The easiest and cheapest way to have consistency in your visual identity is to alway portray your business name in the same font. Always position the words in the same manner and do not change the weight of the lettering. Use a distinctive color if you so desire, but realize it will be more costly each time you run a print ad. If you do use color, choose a Pantone color so that anyone printing has a universal reference and standard to adhere to.

A slick identity program can be good, but can also have the reverse impact you might be trying to portray. If you are a one location shop and have an extremely slick image, you'll probably be seen as upscale and expensive. If you're trying to present a low cost image this type of identity program could backfire. On the other hand, this identity program may work well for a highly advertised chain of DIY shops.

Identity programs do not have to be expensive, just well thought out.

Dave Makielski