With the rise of freelance marketplaces, how do you know which designer to choose?

How to choose your designer
Getting a logo designed for your company, like most things now, is a task that can be done by a designer around the corner or one hundreds of miles away that you’ll never meet. This is all thanks to online sites including UpWork, Fiverr and Freelancer.com, to name but a few. There has been a significant rise in the number of people using freelance marketplaces to help them with their small businesses. As a result, fewer companies may be hiring traditional graphic designers and paying for personable, professional, creative services. Still, there are people who believe that spending under a few hundred on their company logo design would be very detrimental to their brand. We’ve spoken to clients and contacts of ours who have used low-cost sites or a creative logo design company to assist them with their design work in order to help you decide what the right path is for you and your company.

There is no doubt that having a logo which you’re happy with is an essential part of your branding. It’s the visual representation of your business and arguably a one glance sales pitch. It needs to work intrinsically with the rest of your branded materials, be memorable and, perhaps most importantly, appeal to your target audience. Your logo will appear on all of your marketing resources so you need to be proud of it. Is all of this possible for a small cost?

The most common criticism for freelance marketplaces is that the service you receive is far from satisfactory. We’ve heard stories about companies repeatedly asking for their logos to be tweaked and waiting months only to get back exactly the same image as the one they wanted to be changed. And then there’s the issue of ownership and usage allowances. Just as with using any other service provider to assist you with your business, it is essential that you research the logo design company and properly look into the level of work that they are capable of. Check to see that they have an up-to-date, fully responsive and professional looking website. Logo experts will also showcase their work through various social media channels. If they have useful and informative content online which fully describes the services they offer, the processes that they go through and the outcome you can expect, then it’s time to see whether their style matches that of your desired look. Remember that you are paying for their experience, their skill and their time, not simply their promises.

Rates will vary no matter which platform you decide to use to find your designer on. The price will change depending upon the expertise of the designer and how long it takes to create your logo. Paul Rand, who created logos for the likes of IBM, UPS and ABC, said “a logo is an instrument of pride and should be shown at its best. If in the business of communications, “image is king,” the essence of this image, the logo, is the jewel in its crown”.

One of our contacts, Leigh Otterson-Walter, used a local, professional designer and told us that

“his approach to his work was creative, communicative and extremely professional. He took time to fully understand my brief, he asked relevant questions and came up with new, fresh and varied design options. I would (and do) use his services again and again. In terms of pointers I would say having a clear idea of who your target audience is helps, use the best possible paper/card quality you can afford for printed items, and be open and frank from the start of your relationship with your designer, it will save time later on”.

Leigh made us wonder if there were any clients of ours who had used competitively priced, online logo designers and ended up with something they were happy with.

A client of ours told us that she got her logo devised well, for a fraction of the cost of conventional designers’ prices using freelance graphic and web design site, DesignCrowd. And she was more than pleased with the result. Hannah Harvey, CEO of Ask The Midwife, said

“I got my logo made for Ask The Midwife about 2 years ago. DesignCrowd run promotional offers on their website very frequently. Normally it costs around £250 but I used it when they were running a promotion so it only cost me £180. You write your spec about what you want and then lots of designers pitch their designs to you and you can pick the ones you like and ask the designers to edit them until you’re happy. Once you have found a design/designer you want to work with and they finish your logo – the design rights are yours. I really enjoyed using DesignCrowd and I would definitely use them again. It was really easy to use and I liked that I got different designs to choose from”.

Logo designer

Collette Reilly shared her experience of Fiverr with us and said that she feels it is a false economy;

“I’ve had a couple of good things there and it’s great if the visual isn’t important… but I think unless you REALLY know what you want it’s more economical to pay a professional you can speak to. First of all there are sooo many options it’s hard to tell who’s good. Portfolio pics may look OK but they may be a one trick pony. I’ve ordered a number of graphics for groups I run and wanted a logo for a new business… thinking ‘I’m on a budget’ I went to Fiverr. The sellers asked what I wanted, I didn’t know… I had an idea of the feel but other than that it was beyond me. So in that sense the freelancers there have a tough gig. Anyway, over the years I’ve spent a few hundred pounds on various things I haven’t been able to use. So, I bit the bullet and hired a local graphic designer and he was fab… and not as expensive as I’d thought. I think Fiverr is a false economy… it undervalued the skill of creativity and given that hardly anything is actually £5 anymore, you’re better shopping local and supporting a skilled professional.”

No matter what route you choose to go down, you need to be confident that your brand logo and website design is being left in good hands. The easiest way to do this is by building a relationship with the designer. Aim to find somebody who is happy to support you with ongoing brand work as you’ll be able to rely on them for any other design related tasks and they will be more likely to invest in the pieces they do for your brand, knowing that you’ll return. With clear communication and realistic timelines, you’ll be able to rest assured that you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

Have you used an online logo designer and been happy with the final product or do you swear by hiring specialists like us, who aren’t on freelance marketplaces? We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below.

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