Can I design my own logo?

This is a question I hear a lot, and to be honest it’s a fair one to be asking. I work with a lot of startup companies who have spent a lot of time and money researching their new business, and getting set up with premises and equipment. By the time many start looking into getting a logo funds may be running low and a lot will start asking: Can I design my own logo?

I know my business better than anyone

I’m not going to argue with anyone here. You do know your business better than anyone, you’re the one that’s researched every aspect of it in order to make it a success.

To an extent the most important aspect of logo design is having an understanding of the business it’s representing. So you’re automatically in a good position as the business owner in this regard.

What you cannot do is simply think: I know my business, so I can design my own logo.

A good logo design professional will take the time to ask you the appropriate questions in order to gain a deeper understanding of your business. I understand that I will never know your business as well as you do, but I’m going to find everything I NEED to know in order to create a lasting, memorable logo that represents you.

There are also a lot of things I know about logo design that you as a business owner probably don’t.

I’m not getting value for money if I pay someone

Everyone loves a good bargain, I’m no exception to that. Give me a good 2-4-1 offer or flash sale and I’m all over it. I also know that sometimes just because something is the cheapest option it doesn’t mean it’s the best value.

I’ll give you an example in my day to day life. I’m fairly handy when it comes to cars and I know my way around them pretty well. If brake pads/discs need changing and I have the time then I’ll gladly save myself a few quid and do it myself. Most of the time though I’m going to take it to a trusted garage for work to be done and there’s a couple of reasons for this.

  1. Yes, I’m pretty handy around a car, but I’m by no means a trained mechanic and I’m not going to pick up on potential faults that a professional would. This is why I pay for a service each year on my car. I know it’s getting checked over PROPERLY and coming out of that service as safe to drive as it can be…I’m not risking my future on my own attempt at a service. A logo is the visual representation of your business, do you trust yourself with that task?
  2. My time is better spent elsewhere…most of the time. Unless I have a LOT of spare time it’s simply more cost effective to spend money at the garage and spend my own time on my own work. Even if I don’t have projects on at that particular time, a day spent networking, doing SEO or pitching for work is likely to earn me more money in the long run than the £150 I save by not taking my car to the garage.

These principles apply directly to logo design as well. You might be quite good at drawing but do you fully understand what makes a great logo design? Do you actually have the time to spend creating a logo when you have a business to launch/run? The chances are that by hiring a professional logo designer you are in fact getting better value than attempting it yourself.

It looks so simple – I can design my own logo

The simplest solution to a problem is more often than not the best. I strongly believe that this applies to logo design as well. Because so many of the great logos out there are incredibly simple it’s easy to think ‘I can do that! I can design my own logo.’

I honestly think this is one of the biggest misconceptions out there. The reason good logo design takes years to master is that to create something so simple is, more often than not, incredibly difficult.

Aside from actually coming up with the basic premise of the design there are technical considerations.

  • Balance – The intricacies of creating a visually balanced logo are probably overlooked by amateurs. Even the basics of balancing kerning is something that won’t be tackled. These minor adjustments make a huge difference to the final logo.
  • Versatility – Has the logo you’ve created been planned for use in a variety of different situations? Does it scale down to small sizes without losing definition? Can it be used devoid of colour and not lose impact?
  • Was it produced legally? – This isn’t just about having legal software installed on your computer. Do you have a licence to use the fonts in the logo commercially? Have you researched the design of the logo to ensure that it’s not infringing on someone else’s copyright?

Owner Designed Logo

Owner designed logo

Professionally Designed Logo

Redesigned version by myself

There are a host of other issues that will often be overlooked by an amateur designer, I know this because they’re exactly the things I knew nothing about when I first started out. However, after many years of doing this for a living they’re now second nature. And, I’m still discovering new details with every project I undertake.


Can I design my own logo?

Of course you can. Anyone can design their own logo. The question you need to be asking isn’t ‘Can I design my own logo?’. It’s ‘Should I design my own logo?’.

This is where it gets a bit more tricky. There are going to be some business owners out there who have a background in design, and are more than capable of creating a adequate logo for their business. If you’re one of these lucky people, and you have the time to do so then sure, give it a crack. If it doesn’t work out you can always hire a professional afterwards.

However, if you simply do not feel that you’re getting value for money from paying a professional logo designer then you may need to rethink. I know it may seem expensive to pay someone at a time when you’re already outlaying a lot of cash on other aspects of setting up your business, but the visual identity of your business (along with all marketing and online materials for that matter) are equally important and should be treated as such.


About the author

Mark is a freelance logo designer with over a decade of experience designing memorable logos for clients across the UK.

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