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Leave a lasting impression with a logo

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You’re meeting an important client or business contact. You’re dressed right for the occasion. You make great eye contact. Strong handshake. You smell great (you showered and deodorized). Everything is in order, and the meeting goes well.

And then it happens. She asks for your business card.

You feel that twinge of embarrassment as you hand over a card with your name, phone number and maybe a few scribbles meant to approximate a logo.

You’re just not proud of it.

Can you relate? If so, it’s probably time for a new logo.

First, Why Do you Need a Logo?

Sure, logos help your customers remember you, and help you stand out from the crowd. But even more importantly for small and medium-sized businesses, logos:

Deliver a first impression. A good logo helps your company deliver a great first impression via your business cards, website, stationery, product packaging or store signage. First impressions matter.

Are a seal of professionalism and trust. Did you design your own logo at home with Microsoft Paint using a comic sans or papyrus font? You probably come off as amateurish. Don’t lose clients or customers because they don’t take you serious.

Set the tone for all your other marketing material. Do the colors of your business card match the colors of your website and your printed materials? A well done logo sets your color scheme and feel across mediums. In simple terms, this just makes your life easier. In more advanced terms, it helps you stay on brand and on message.

Where to Start

You have a few options when it comes to developing a new logo, and where you start depends on your budget and timeline.

Stock Logos: This is your most affordable and quickest option. Websites like “stocklogos.com” and “99designs.com” offer thousands of unique, stock logos at prices ranging from $99 to $600. The truth is (and my graphic designer friends will cringe when they read this), this is really a great option.

How it works: You pick a logo style you like. You order via the website, and then they work with you to customize the colors and the company name. The logo is then removed from the catalog, making it uniquely yours. This option is much cheaper than hiring a graphic designer, and you’ll have a professional looking logo within a week.

Local Graphic Designer: For a city our size, Wenatchee is blessed with a wealth of talented graphic designers. If you can afford it, the benefits of choosing a local designer are numerous. Primarily, you get a logo that looks exactly the way you want and is perfectly tailored to your business. You also build a relationship with a local designer who can manage and update your digital files to fit all your needs.

Who you pick really depends on your taste. A simple search of the Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce membership directory for “graphic design” brings up a comprehensive list. I recommend starting with Lars Ringsrud (larsringsrud.com), Awdience (www.awdience.com), Carl Patterson (carlpattersondesigns.com) or Robert Lewis (rdigitaldesigns.com). Peruse through their portfolios for a style that matches yours.

What you pay really depends on your negotiations, but in general a standard hourly rate for local designers is $80 to $125 an hour. A full logo package can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 and take anywhere from three weeks to three months, depending primarily on how much time you’re willing to let them dedicate to the creative process, and how much input you’ll have along the way.

Seattle or National Graphic Design Firm: Here’s where a new logo can get really expensive, and the increase in benefits don’t always keep track with the increase in cost. If you start working with a bigger design agency, expect to spend anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 for a new logo (or, gasp, more). The primary benefit of working with a bigger agency is the team of people they put at your disposal. This bigger team means they can offer you more variations and design styles as you’re narrowing down the look.

These agencies talk a lot about dramatic angles and colors that evoke feelings. In the end, however, their final work isn’t markedly different from what you’d get from a local designer, except, perhaps for the big stack of supporting documents. (I once worked with a Seattle design agency on a new logo. Cost us $35,000. Along with our logo, we also received a 15 page document outlining all the research that went into designing the logo.) The timelines for these big agencies can be even longer, but are typically in the 2-4 month range.

Jordan Lindstrom is a Wenatchee based marketing consultant, website expert and brand strategist who takes pride in telling stories, building campaigns and using technologies that help businesses, organizations and nonprofits communicate and grow. Find him at http://jordanlindstrom.info.

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