Custom Logos vs. Stock Logos

After you’ve decided on a name for your business and answered these questions, it’s time to create your logo. This can be a very fun step as it makes this passion of yours start to feel tangible and real. But it can also be a bit overwhelming. Should you design the logo yourself? Should you invest in a graphic designer who specializing in branding? Or should you purchase a stock logo?

 
 

Today, I’m going help you work through this decision by weighing the pros and cons of each option. Ultimately, I hope you choose the option that you think is the best fit for where you’re at in your business journey. There are so many things to think about when starting a business, but your branding really should be one of the first things you invest in. Check out this previous blog post that explains why.

Just in case you’re confused about the difference between a logo and branding, you’re not alone! You probably know what a logo is, but most people aren’t positive what branding actually means. So let me clarify because I often use these terms interchangeably. Branding is all of the visual elements associated with your business: your logo, color palette, fonts, patterns, and imagery. So a logo is just a small piece of your overall branding (also referred to as brand identity…just to make things extra confusing!). 

Now that we’ve hopefully got that cleared up, let’s talk about why you should even invest your valuable time and energy into your logo. 

A logo helps set the tone for how your business is perceived by an outside audience who has never heard of you before. Your loyal tribe (friends & family) will buy your products or book your services regardless of your branding, but if you hope to reach a wider audience and really get your business out there, you need to invest in your logo. It’s often one of the first things someone sees when they come across your business whether that’s through your social media profile image, business card, website, packaging, or sign in front of your building. If you need some more convincing, check out this post that I mentioned about titled: Why branding should be your first business investment. It’s worth a read!

Now, let’s get into the three options you have when creating a logo for your business…designing it yourself, purchasing a stock logo, or hiring a graphic designer.

Designing your own logo

Pros

If you have graphic design experience and programs on your computer capable of designing a logo (such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign), you might consider designing your own logo. I designed the logo for Humble Design Studio and it allowed me to create exactly what I envisioned in my head. I had complete control over the outcome and the ability to modify the design myself.

  • You can create exactly what you envision in your head
  • Requires no monetary investment

Cons

It’s a time consuming process. You’ll probably spend days or weeks working on comps of your logo, resulting in tons of variations and no one (qualified) to help you decide which one to choose. You’re really on your own with this option.

  • Big time investment
  • Indecisiveness will kill you
  • Must have graphic design experience
  • Must have the computer programs capable of creating a logo

Purchasing a stock logo

Pros

There are thousands of low cost stock logos available online. Many of them are beautifully designed. I came across a logo bundle the other day that included 665 logos for just $21! Odds are, you’ll be able to find something at least similar to the look you’re going for. And these stock logos often include a full suite of colors, fonts, and patterns that you can use for your business.

  • Inexpensive
  • Some come with full suite of colors, fonts, and patterns

Cons

You’ll likely spend hours looking through potential logo options. Once you find something you like, you’ll need to have the computer programs capable of editing the file to add your business name. Occasionally you might see other businesses with your same logo as you won’t actually own the rights to the design. This can dilute your brand image and could be pretty confusing, especially if both businesses are in the same industry. Another con to stock logos is that you risk them not actually being affective at attracting your target audience. When choosing a stock logo, you have to look at them from your audience’s perspective, not your own personal taste.

  • It takes time to search through thousands of options
  • Must have the computer programs capable of editing the file
  • Other businesses could have your logo
  • Might not speak to your target audience

Hiring a graphic designer

Pros

When you hire a professional who’s an expert in branding, they will walk you through each step of the process and take the whole project off your plate. From gathering your thoughts, ideas, and dreams to providing you with design solutions that are well thought through, a graphic designer can create a logo that fits your brand style perfectly. One that connects with your target market and attracts potential clients/customers, ultimately resulting in increased business revenue. Brand designers will think through all the visual elements of your brand, beyond just your logo.

  • Completely custom
  • No one else can use your logo
  • Someone to walk with you through the entire process
  • Will connect with your target audience
  • They will think through all the elements that make up a brand identity
  • Building a relationship with someone you can use for future projects like your website, business collateral, or marketing campaign.

Cons

You need to find and hire the right designer. For tips on that, check out this blog post. You’ll want to look for a designer who specializes in branding and fits the style you are looking for. This option won’t come cheap. Most designers charge thousands of dollars for a complete brand identity design.

  • It will cost more money
  • Finding a designer who specializes in branding and fits your style

Ultimately, you should choose whichever option works best for you and your business. Questions? Let me know in the comments below!