Updated: Apr 13
I’m a graphic designer by career, trade, and hobby. So first and foremost, I am always going to encourage you to invest in professional design services before turning to a logo maker! To me, your branding is way too important to leave it up to a template. But something that might surprise you is that there are a few situations where programs like Canva or Logomaker.com can suffice as a (temporary) alternative. Read the rest of this article to learn more.
What’s a Logo Maker?
Long story short, some programming wizards found out that many people don’t have the funds or capacity to hire a professional graphic designer but still value the idea of having a logo to represent their brand. So they created online software to help guide business owners and brand managers to create logos, either from templates or from tools similar to the ones you can find in the Adobe Suite. They range from very inexpensive to entirely free.
If Logo Makers Exist, Why Would I Hire a Graphic Designer?
I’m glad you asked! There are numerous downsides to using a logo maker that I’d like to explore before diving into the situations where they are appropriate.
Designing your logo yourself is equivalent to building a house without the help of a contractor. Even assuming you are provided with everything you need–the foundation, the wood, the insulation, the drywall, the blueprint–Would you feel comfortable living in that house after you’ve finished building it? Also–would you be ok with having the same house as everyone else on the block?
If you answered yes to one or both of those questions, two things are likely:
You aren’t planning on living in that house very long.
You honestly don’t mind blending in with the crowd. The aesthetic of a house is not important to you.
And you may feel the same way about your logo. Maybe you just need a “placeholder” logo until you gather the funds to appropriately compensate a graphic designer. Or maybe your logo standing out is not a priority. Both of these are two reasons why folks might go to a logo maker first.
However, if you do have the cash to pay a designer and you understand the importance of building out a well-rounded and informed brand, the benefits of hiring a graphic designer are tenfold:
Depending on their experience levels, your graphic designer will have years of industry-specific knowledge and skill that goes into creating your logo.
Your graphic designer does not typically design from a template, so you can expect a logo that stands out from the crowd.
Your graphic designer will conduct hours of market research so that your logo accurately reflects your industry and attracts the right customers.
Your graphic designer keeps longevity in mind; if they are skilled enough, you won’t have to reinvest in a rebrand down the line.
Your graphic designer is knowledgeable about the formats and files necessary for print production, merchandising, and online use. Are you?
Speaking of that, most logo makers don’t provide files that are compatible with print. Which means when you enlarge it or try to put it on a shirt, it’ll have a blurry, pixely look to it.
In meetings, your graphic designer will offer concepts and wisdom beyond the logo itself that will help make your brand feel more directional and complete.
Need a copywriter, digital marketer, photographer, videographer, or coder? Your graphic designer can save you hours of research by giving you access to their network of trusted creatives.
Have you ever spent hours tinkering with one thing in a builder only to realize it was something profoundly simple? Your graphic designer knows exactly how to solve that problem. In seconds.
Logo makers do not give you ownership rights to your logo. Which means the logo maker technically owns it, and anybody can steal your logo at any time and nothing can legally be done about it.
When Is It Ok to Use a Logo Maker?
If you don’t have enough money to pay even an entry level graphic designer a livable wage, using a logo maker is ok. Some folks are just starting out and need a placeholder for social media avatars–this is where platforms like Canva can really help. I don’t believe in gatekeeping graphic design. Folks of all financial backgrounds and situations deserve access to tools like this.
If you truly don’t see the importance of a logo, it’s also fine to use a logo maker. I’ve met quite a few people in my small town, for example, that rely on local business and referrals–not digital marketing. For those people, spending money on a graphic designer seems absurd, and I get that. I won’t be convincing those people they need a complete brand identity to be successful.
I also don’t recommend paying for a designer begrudgingly–just because somebody is pushing you to get a logo. And maybe you don’t see the point. I know personally, I’d rather work for somebody who understands what a logo can do for their business and is excited about their branding. I don’t want to spend hours convincing somebody that my profession and work is valid!
Some advice to keep in mind when using a logo maker:
Use the rulers and guidelines to keep necessary elements straight, consistent, and balanced.
Try to stick to the provided palettes. I know you think blood red and black is a unique color combo that really works for you, but there’s probably a reason you don’t see it too often on modern logos…
Templates are great, but just remember to change small parts of your logo, lest you find yourself with the same exact logo as your competitor.
Before calling it a day, send your logo to a few savvy friends and family members to see what they think. Take feedback seriously to get the best results.
When Should I Hire a Graphic Designer?
Do you understand the power of investing in the longevity of a logo and a well-built brand? Hire a graphic designer. Are you highly committed to setting your company up for success as much as you possibly can? Hire a graphic designer.
Do you have the funds to hire a skilled graphic designer for a fair wage? What are you still doing reading this blog?! Go hire a graphic designer!
Most importantly, if you do not find yourself on the tech-savvy or creative side of humanity, it is doubly essential that you hire a professional. Logo makers are not magic; you will still have to create something and utilize tools in a software program that caters to the millennial and gen-z brain.
I Have Financial Barriers, But I Understand the Importance of a Logo. How Can I Hire a Designer?
There are so many tremendously talented junior designers who offer lower prices to build out their portfolios. This is a great compromise for those who need an inexpensive logo but don’t have the bandwidth/creativity to use a logo maker.
You’ll be helping a hungry designer get their feet beneath them in the business, and you’ll get a quality logo fit for print production! Plus, you’ll still be able to beat out all those downsides we listed to logo makers. Post a job to Upwork and see who applies for your rate!
Using a Logo Maker Has It’s Benefits and Disadvantages.
Choose wisely with the information provided above based on your circumstances, budget, feelings about logos, tech know-how, and your willingness to DIY. Feel free to reach out with any questions you have about logos, branding, and the benefits of hiring a graphic designer!