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Industry vs Discipline

It could be argued that logo design will always be seen as an individual discipline of graphic design, however, due to the recent change in tactics employed by design companies and designers alike, it could be determined that logo design should now be regarded as an industry in its own right.

There are two sides to the argument. Firstly designers who previously only offered logo design are now finding they have to expand their services in order to compete with the demand for corporate identity. This mainly applies to freelancers, as it’s simply not viable to make a comfortable living by only designing logos unless the prices charged are considerable compatible with high quality work. Offering additional services allows designers to offer the full identity package and prevents them from losing out on the bigger and broader branding projects.

Race for Rankings

One of the main sources of getting work online is through the promotion of the websites. The easiest and quickest way to do this is to make sure that it is listed in the popular search engines, most importantly Google. That’s all very well, but when you check out your competitors who are listed in the same category you’ll find that there are thousands but more likely millions. It can cost a lot of time, energy, and money to get to the top of the page for a particular search time, and you’ll probably never achieve it. This has not always been a problem for people who rely on getting work through online streams.

Mike Erickson, AKA Logomotive, remembers when search engines provided less of a problem for gaining new work:

“When I started out in 1998, I was on the top page of some of the major search engines at that time. I was juggling around 15-20 clients at a time during that period. I still talk to some of my competitors during that period and remember how we could just about get any job that we wanted. Since the internet has took off I would say that the number of designers targeting logo design has increased ten-fold, which in turn has made it ten times more harder to get work through online sources.”

You could argue that more competition is only a good thing as it could raise the quality of work in the hope to snap up future in leads. Unfortunately most potential clients are guided by price and therefore this has seen logo prices plummet. As a result we now see websites that knock out stock logos of very low quality for prices as little as $30. This is damaging as to be able to keep up with demand, providers who operate at that price level have to cut out very important stages of the logo design process. Most predominantly, research, which can and has led to clients being left with a logo that was either a rip off of an existing logo or included elements of stock art.

As the number of designers with websites, portfolios and affiliates increase it is only going to get even harder to get the leads required to keep designers wo do this for a living in the black. Luckily there will be clients out there who see past all of the underhand tactics and look for the work that truly shines.

A new source of inspiration

Increased connectivity has led to the emergence of logo specific websites that aim to bring logo designers together not just to showcase their work but also as a means of communication. Started by logo enthusiasts they offer a glimpse of logos we would probably never normally see in the real world. The number of logo-orientated websites is growing by the week with a new logo inspiration website popping up what seems like every week. Back when this first started, about 4 years ago this was great but it seems like most ‘inspiration’ sites are now full of the same content, which is ironic to say the least.

Availability of tools

Most professions involve working with tools that have to be sourced from a specialist supplier. The design industry is a little different as the main tool used by designers is computer software, and unfortunately this can easily be pirated. As a result software could easily fall into the hands of anyone that wishes to use it, and leads to non-designers passing themselves off as professionals and offering their services, whether they intend to be legitimate or not. Graphic design software is not cheap, and whilst the large providers offer students discounted licenses, it’s understandable why they may be tempted to download illegitimate software. Unfortunately, piracy is such a widespread problem online, for all the creative industries, music and film included, that there are no current signs that will end sooner rather than later.

So has the internet been a good thing for logo design

In the main, absolutely. Most of my own clients come through seeing my previous work online and without the internet I wouldn’t have had nearly half the opportunities that have come my way in the past year or so. Unfortunately, everything has two sides to the coin and it’s for this reason that both designers and clients need to remain professional when dealing with people online. If you’re works good enough so will the leads, there is no reason to sell yourself short just because the rest of the flock have been persuaded by a quick and easy dollar.



  1. 04/05/11
    12:41 pm
    Good artcle! I'd disagree with this quote however; "Since the internet has took off I would say that the number of designers targeting logo design has increased ten-fold, which in turn has made it ten times more harder to get work through online sources.” ..but the Internet has increased onethousand-fold so ultimately, the amount of work a logo designer can potentially reap is dependant upon supply and demand RATIO. Demand is as high as ever!
  2. 04/05/11
    1:04 pm
    Cheers for the comment Daniel. I agree that both the supply and demand has effectively increased. Unfortunately, the number of designers who are entering the industry are increasing at a far higher rate than the number of customers hat require a logo. This is evident even in the past couple of years, which I have experienced first hand, and I know that many others have experienced the same having spoken to them. Unfortunately, it's all driven on price. That's pretty much the underlying message of this article. I guess ou could say that the internet is pushing the average price of logo design further and further down as time goes on in order to remain competitive. I'm not saying that all clients are guided by price and that all designers will try to undercut, but I do feel like it's a big issue.
  3. 08/05/11
    2:58 pm
    This is a great article Gareth and really a subject near and dear to my heart. A few years back i was pretty down on the fact that my website wasn't getting any hits, but then i realized Daniel's point made above. There are a LOT more opportunities now, to gain in bound links than ever before and you just have to set aside the time to make it happen. 3 things i learned: - inbound links from quality design sites like logopond, creatica, and behance. These result in quality inbound links to my websites. There are a lot more than the ones i mention here. -geo targeting your closest major city. This is huge and you can get a lot of work and a high ranking this way. I think I became at least a top 5 logo designer in San Diego by studying how to geo rank myself to the socal area. You dont have to be the number one logo designer in the world, you can be a highly ranked logo designer in YOUR area and you will do just fine. - playing the "logo factory" game. Unfortunately the top 20 or so google rankings are dominated by big design companies who are churning out bad logos with little respect for designers rights. We dont need to name names but we all know who they are. It seems to me thats who this article is really targeting. Instead of sitting on my thumbs though, i actually combatted this by founded Instead of stooping to their level, we can form invite only collectives like logoturn, and that put the focus back on quality logo design, while at the same time playing to the keywords and traffic totals that make for a top 10 google ranking. Will we ever really be able to compete with the huge logo factories? maybe not, but there is so much work out there, so many opportunities, that 2 percent of the pie today is probably worh more than 20 percent of the pie was 10 years ago.
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