How to Design Your Business’s Logo on a Budget

Emily Thompson

You want a great logo for your business — but you don’t want to pay a hefty price.

I get it.

After all, as small business owners, we run lean. But that doesn’t mean we’re ready to open up Microsoft Word and play with clip art. We need a professional-level logo at a reasonable price. An eye-catching logo opens the door for customers to truly see what your business can offer them.

When I started my freelance writing business 10 years ago, I knew I needed a logo fast. I envisioned one that would help my business stand out from hundreds of other writers in Boston. I wanted to promote it on my website, business card, and future promotional products.

What I didn’t know was how bad I was at graphic design. I would share my first logo with you, but to be frank, it’s embarrassing. Fast-forward 8 years and multiple logo redesigns, and finally, I have a logo that makes me proud. It’s professional, memorable, and differentiates my services from other writers. Hopefully, with these quick tips, I can spare you the hours of time I spent, a chunk of money, and a whole lot of agony.

How to Design Your Business’s Logo

First things first, ditch expensive software, like Adobe Creative Suite. And, forget about paying a design agency top dollar. Just be strategic and unleash your inner creative side. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to create a great logo at a great price.

  1. First, learn the basics.

    A logo is much more than a beautiful graphic. It represents your company’s name, product, mission, and values. It differentiates your business from competitors, is memorable to buyers, and purposeful. Potential customers see your logo, remember it, and easily associate your company — whether they’re typing your name into Google or looking for a storefront.

    The best logos are simple, versatile, and resonate with customers. They look good on websites, mobile phones, social media channels, and on promotional products, like pens or mugs. And, they follow best practices in visual design, such as composition. Before starting, do a bit of research. Look up your most successful competitors’ logos online and take note:

    What fonts do they use? Are there colors that resonate in your industry? What do you think works well? What doesn’t?

    Then write down the feelings and emotions you want to convey. What represents your business? What are your customers looking for? For example, is your product:

    • Modern or vintage?
    • Energetic or calming?
    • Trendy or classic?

    A font can make or break your logo, so spend time thinking about the images you want to associate with your company. This might seem time-consuming (and overwhelming), but it’s critical for success. Once you’ve planned out your logo, finalizing it is simple. There are multiple logo makers and templates online that make it easy to create professional-looking designs. If you don’t want to DIY your logo, it’s also easier than ever to access affordable freelance designers.

  2. Use a logo maker.

    Logo makers can get you started until you’re ready to invest more in your company’s brand identity. In fact, I designed my own business’s logo with a logo maker — and I’m thrilled with the end result. Here are 3 sites I can vouch for.

    Word SwagBest for using anywhere; free

    This app lets you design a unique logo in minutes with just a few taps on your phone. Download it from the App Store or on Google Play. Choose a transparent or white background. Then select a font and adjust the colors. Voilà. You’re done.

    Word Swag is built for non-designers. It allows you to create a logo on the go and ensures the composition and other design elements are executed correctly. But, there are a limited number of fonts, colors, and backgrounds. For highly creative professionals, the app can be limiting.

    HatchfulBest for supporting the creative process; free

    Here’s a logo maker that ensures your design is strategic, and not just attractive. First, choose your industry and visual style. Then type your business name. The website populates logo ideas for you. It’s like having a personal (and free) designer at your fingertips. The only drawback is you risk having a logo that looks strikingly similar to that of another business.

    CanvaBest for creating a full suite of marketing materials; $12.95/month

    With Canva, you’ll choose from a variety of templates that are already designed for you by professional designers. Then simply type in your business name. It’s free if you want your logo on a white background, but remember, you’ll really need a transparent background to ensure you can place your logo on multiple products and screens. To unlock transparent backgrounds and more fonts, pay just $12.95 a month or $119.40 for a year’s worth of use.

  3. Draw it out.

    If you’re a “paper and pen” type of person, you can draw your own logo by hand. Keep brainstorming and drawing until you feel confident about your design. Then, ask a friend with design chops to create a digital version by scanning it and using Adobe Illustrator. You can also use Calligraphr to turn your own handwriting into a one-of-a-kind font. This process ensures your logo is completely “your own.”

  4. Seek out help from a designer.

    If you prefer to hire help, seek out a talented design student or freelancer who’s just started their business. They’ll charge a lower price, but put a great deal of time and effort into the design. Place an ad on Bark or Fiverr with your price and see what happens. Remember, when you work with a designer, it’s important to send a creative brief first. This document explains your business and what you want to communicate. It also describes the look and feel you envision.

    It’s never been easier to create a logo on your own or access talented, affordable designers online. These techniques will get you started until you’re ready to allocate more of your budget toward a full brand identity. Ready to start now? You could have your own logo by the end of the day.

About the author

Emily Thompson
Emily Thompson
I earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (go Bucky). After realizing my first job might involve carrying a police scanner at 2 am in pursuit of “newsworthy” crimes, I decided I was better suited for freelance blogging and marketing writing. Since 2010, I’ve owned my freelance writing business, EST Creative. When I’m not penning, doodling ideas, or chatting with clients, you’ll find me hiking with my husband, baby boy, and 2 mischievous mutts.

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