Marketing Strategy: Why Logo and Web Design Matter - Page 2

By Jennifer Schiff
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Tips for Finding, Choosing and Working with a Designer

Before you spend money on a designer, it pays to spend some time thinking about what it is you want your logo and website to convey -- and do some research to figure out what you like and don’t like.

“A lot of people have no idea what they want,” explained Phelps, and they don’t spend any time really thinking about the face of their business. A good designer will ask the business owner what she likes and doesn’t like.

“But if they don’t give me much information, then it becomes me designing a logo and/or website that I think looks good, but that may not be representative of their business," she said. "Being as articulate as you can be about the types of things you like and the types of things you don’t like, either by giving examples or descriptions, is really helpful for a designer.”

Zafarnia agreed. “If you don’t have a vision, if you haven’t set up any guidelines, you’re not going to get a result you are happy with. You really have to throw yourself into [the design process], make yourself a part of it, in order to get a successful result.”

Equally important, make sure the designer you choose is on the same wavelength as you are. “Do they agree with your business philosophy or really understand your business? Would they buy from you?” asked Bodon. If so, they’ll probably do a much better job.

It’s also very important to establish a budget up front.

According to Leszczynski, business owners are frequently reluctant to talk about a budget, but he feels it's important for SMBs to establish what they're comfortable spending right from the beginning. Once that's established, he said, you go find the freelancers or an agency that's willing to help you.

"Say, ‘this is my checklist: I want a website… a new logo design… some new business cards… and my budget is X.’  A good designer or agency [might] say ‘you’re a little unrealistic about being able to do all of this [depending on your budget], but we can help you out with the following,’"  said Leszczynski. "I think if you’re clear or honest with your agency or your freelancer, your marketing dollars will go a lot further."

Leszczynski knows from first-hand experience that many designers and small agencies are often willing to work with small businesses for less than what they would charge a larger business if they are just starting out, looking for extra work, are interested in the project (i.e., it would make good portfolio fodder) or there is the prospect of more (and better paying) work at some future date.

Instead of hiring an agency or designer outright to create Praecere Public Relations’ logo and web design, Zafarnia used crowdsourcing site crowdSPRING.  You name your price and receive, on average, 110 submissions per project.

“By working with crowdSPRING, I was able to generate more than 200 logo and branding proposals,” said Zafarnia. “If you tried to do that offline, it would cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. But by doing it this way, I only spent a small fraction of that. And I love the logo and the brand we came up with.”

Other good sites where you can find designers willing to work with a small business budget are Elance, oDesk and Craigslist.

Small Business Marketing 102: One Chance to Make a First Impression

There’s so much competition online these days, said Leszczynski, with so many lookalike, cookie cutter Web and ecommerce sites. When you have literally just a few seconds to attract and hold a prospective customer’s attention, do you really want your logo and website to look like everyone else’s? “You really want to stand out. And a strong online identity -- logo and website -- can really help separate you from the competition.”

“There can’t be enough said about a first impression,” added Phelps. “If you are a small business and you look like a small business… with an ugly website that doesn’t work very well, customers are going to [shop elsewhere].”

Moreover, a well-designed logo and website can really pay off, as “you can sometimes command higher prices if your branding and website make you look [like you’re worth it].”

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff is a regular contributor to SmallBusinessComputing.com and writes a blog for and about small businesses.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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This article was originally published on July 27, 2010
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