You’re an auto mechanic working seven days a week to make ends meet. You save for a few years, purchase an old Thunderbird, and spend the next three years fixing it up at nights and between shifts. You finally finish working on it, and instead of hitting the road, you turn the keys over to a stranger.
They immediately drive into a tree.
Crowdsourcing your logo is exactly the same thing.
Any hardworking business owner, entrepreneur or self-respecting worker for that matter knows the true value of what they create. They spend time on the things that matter, that drive business, and that create ROI. Yet many still can’t seem to understand the importance of the finishing touches. Your logo is that finishing touch, which should accompany the customer through every part of their experience.
Your logo is your outward brand representation to the world. It’s your calling card and your handshake. It’s a slick paint job on that T-bird, covering the muscle-powered machine of a business that took years to perfect. A random passerby shouldn’t determine how it looks.
Such has been the case for some big businesses, most notably Yahoo!, which held a “30 Logos in 30 Days” campaign to discern its current logo. While at first glance this may seem like a great way to engage your followers and fans, the approach is spectacularly flawed. Here are the main reasons why:
The Average Joe isn’t a Logo Designer— A well-crafted logo is a strategic tool, blending aesthetics and business strategy. The ability to design one isn’t something innate, it’s an expertise garnered over years of training, experience, and practice with logos. That’s why it’s called logo “design” and not logo picking. They don’t grow on trees.
Bad Logos Cost More Money–The quick fix is a popular notion nowadays; this is why there is such a boom in convenience-related products and services. People can’t wait. But the smart individual realizes how costly shortcuts can truly be.
Most likely the design factory is using quick templates and clipart to create their logos. They may even go so far as to flat out copy an existing logo they find online. Not only will their victims not be able to copyright their own logo, but they may also become engrossed in an expensive infringement suit.
While a well-crafted logo might cost more in the beginning, a poorly designed one will cost way more in the end.
Quality Takes Time— Look on at any piece of valuable art, gourmet meal, or Top-10 highlight on ESPN. There you’ll find the culmination of years of hard work and steadfast dedication. Why shouldn’t your logo be of the same high caliber? If you’re willing to wait out the necessary steps, it can be. But recognize, that it won’t be done in a day or a week. The old adage “Rome wasn’t built in a day” certainly holds true for this case.
If it’s going to last, all bases need to be covered through some extensive research, versioning, and forecasting. A design shop churning out hundreds of different designs at the drop of a hat should be a red flag.
The Crowd Doesn’t Know Your Needs—Why do lawyers spend so much time with jury selection before a trial? Because they want the best combination of people that will ultimately side with their perspective on the case at hand. They have their own agenda—winning the case—and their own motivations, goals and bottom-line needs.
Your business is the same way. It has its own particular needs, financial aspirations, and industry requirements. How can you expect a third party unaccustomed to your world to understand that?
In the age where businesses are trying to become more personable, more human and humane, and more insightful, the branding is make or break. Your logo is the face of that brand, and it’s in your best interest to ensure that it’s approachable, appropriate, and appeasing.