3 important reasons that will make you think twice about buying a cheap logo

3 important reasons why not to buy a cheap logo - Vale Design

I have been a professional brand and logo designer for almost 20 years. I recently went back to work after taking a 2 year hiatus while my daughter was between 3 and 5 years old. She required more mom time and I stepped away from my business.

When I started designing again at the end of last year, and started moving around the internet and Pinterest researching artwork for my clients, I was APPALLED at this new trend that younger designers have started. Pre-made cheap $20-$50 logos!

Now, if you are a struggling entrepreneur this trend may feel like hitting the jackpot, but let me tell you why you should think twice about purchasing one of this cheap logos. I will also give you my recommendations how to avoid this at the end of this post.

Here is what you should consider before you purchase one of these cheap, pre-made logos.

1. Generic

These logos are often generic. The designers will create a logo that would appeal to a lot of business owners. Which is great for the designer because they will sell a lot of logos. However, it is not great for the business owner. 

Your logo should speak to, hint at, or directly show your customers what your business is about. It is the first encounter your customers have with your company and brand. If your logo is cheap and generic looking, your customers will feel that about your business. Branding is all about building perception and trust. No customer trust. No sales. Customer thinks your logo and brand look generic. No trust. No sales.

Your customer should be able to look at your logo and echo back to you what your company does, or what area of business you are in. You will not always be there to explain it to them.

2. Legal issues

I have to wonder about multiple companies buying the same logo. Which company has the rights to that logo? Yes, legal rights. 

When you have a one-of-a-kind logo created, your company can trademark, copyright and/or register it with your state and the federal government. You will have legal rights to that design. That helps ensure that you will never have another company infringe upon or copy your design. If you copy the Target bullseye, you will be sued.

Logos in the same field may use similar techniques to create a similar "feel" for a customer, but they will NEVER be the exact same. One-of-a-kind logos will help you avoid a lawsuit over your artwork. You can only register original artwork with the federal government. If your artwork is legally registered, you will win a lawsuit against another company if they copy your logo. Yes, you can be sued over a logo...big time! Trademark attorneys are real!

Again, it makes me wonder who has legal rights if 30 companies buy the same "vintage" logo. That cheap $20 logo could cost you THOUSANDS in legal fees!

3. Growth

This is a big problem I have with these cheap pre-made logos and with companies that are purchasing them.

A lot of entrepreneurs do not think about the potential GROWTH of their companies in the future. They are only thinking about the right now.

What happens if you buy this cheap logo and your company takes off and you are the next Target? In the middle of that explosive growth are you willing to go through an expensive logo and brand re-design and potentially confuse your customers when you roll out your new look?

How many times have you been in the store and you can't find the item you are looking for...only to realize the company completely changed the look of the packaging?! You have been staring at the item for the past 5 minutes and didn't even recognize it.

When I design logos for my clients, I always take company growth into account. I will provide a one-of-a-kind logo that will be able to grow and expand while your company is growing. A good logo and brand will be able to grow right along side your company.

Always think about where your company will be in 5-10 years. Will you be happy with that cheap logo then? 

My recommendations

Please budget for a good design with your logo and brand from the beginning. A smart entrepreneur will have a business plan before they begin. Budget the design work into your plan. Budget $2,000 - $5,000 for branding and marketing your company.

If you just do NOT have the money for a brand design up front, maybe consider finding a font that you like and just do a font only logo. Again. I think font only logos could easily fall under the "generic" category, but it will allow for growth down the road. When I work on a brand re-design for a client with an existing logo, it is easier to COMBINE my new logo design with their existing font.

NOTE: If you create a font only logo, please read the fine print concerning the font's legal usage. Some ornamental fonts PROHIBIT someone using their font for a logo. Again, think lawsuit. The chances that someone finds your logo may be slim, but again, what if you grow to be as large as Target. POTENTIAL LAWSUIT.


Please do not purchase one of these cheap pre-made logos. Please consider other avenues when choosing a logo design. If your budget does not allow for a professionally designed logo just yet, please shoot me an email. I would be happy to brainstorm some other options with you.

Have you purchased one of these cheap logos? Why did you purchase it? Price alone? Design? Did you consider the above categories when purchasing the logo? I am so curious.


What to Expect Series: Logo Template

What to Expect Series: Logo Template - Vale Design

What to Expect Series is a series designed to remove confusion and anxiety for potential clients about starting a Brand Identity project with Vale Design. These posts will describe what your project will look like from initial client inquiry email to final file release. No more guesswork needed!

In our series we have discussed Onboarding your Brand Identity project, Client Questionnaire, Creating a Moodboard and the Design Phase. Now I would like for you to see the exact PDF page format you will receive for your Vale Design Logo Presentation.

Let's walk through the 8.5 inch x 11 inch Vale Design logo presentation template section by section.

Vale Design Logo Presentation Template

What to Expect Series: Logo Template - Vale Design

1. 2C = 2 color logo design

Examples: Black + Red. Gold + Gray. Navy + Blush Pink. Black + gradation of a color.

The first section you will see on your Vale Design Logo Presentation template is "2C" or "2 color." Typically logos will only use 2 to 3 colors. I try to keep my clients down to 2 colors. These colors will define the "primary brand colors." You only want to use 2 colors so that your consumers begin to recognize your brand through color recognition. Your 2 color logo is your main logo and should be used as a first choice whenever possible.

I also recommend only 2 colors for my clients due to potential print costs. Print jobs today will either be printed digitally (on a high quality laser printer like what a nice office would have) or on a traditional press (Pantone spot colors and then CMYK or 4 color printing at the end). Traditional presses can be very expensive. Most print jobs today are printed on digital printers. This keeps the cost down and they print 4 color CMYK. But again, I recommend 2 color for establishing brand color recognition.

Places where 2 color logo would be used:

• print collateral - business cards, packaging, labels, brochures, menus, mailers, flyers, etc.
• web design
• uniforms - hats, shirts, etc.
• signage - interior & exterior
• social media profile images

2. 1C = 1 color logo design

Examples: Black + a tint percentage of Black. Black. Navy. Red. Gradation of a color.

The second section will be "1C" or "1 color." This section will show you what your logo will look like in one color or one color plus a tint, or percentage of that color.

Places where 1 color logo would be used:

• ads - magazine or newspaper ad
• promotional pieces - pens, letter openers, can openers, etc.
• web design
• uniforms - hats, shirts, etc.
• signage - interior & exterior
• social media profile images

3. 1 inch - both 2C & 1C logo designs

The final section will show you the logo reduced down to 1 inch in both 2 color and 1 color versions. It is IMPERATIVE for me to show my clients what their potential logo would look like reduced down to 1 inch.

When you reduce a logo down to 1 inch, there may be design adjustments. The font will be the most important change when you reduce your logo down in size. Printers can only print a letterform so small. Typically, printers do not like to print below 5 pt type for legibility issues. Therefore, I never allow my clients to have a font that prints below 5 pt type. The layout may change according to the font size change.

Places where a 1 inch logo would be used:

• ads - magazine or newspaper ad
• promotional pieces - pens, letter openers, can openers, etc.
• uniforms - hats, shirts, etc.
• social media profile images

4. logo concept number & date

At the bottom of each logo template will be a copy block listing the logo concept presentation number for revision reference, Vale Design, your Business Name and the date. I use this for simple organization and for keeping all presentations in the correct order. Your design package may have multiple presentations.

There you have it! I want to show my clients how each logo will work in 2C, 1C and 1 inch so they are not surprised or upset when a logo layout needs to be adjusted for a different brand elements. All the approved logo layouts are included in the final Brand Style Guide PDF at the final file release.

If you would like to work together or have any additional questions about working with Vale Design, simply contact me!