It’s a funny thing, the word free seems to really draw a crowd. And for good reason! There is a tremendous amount of perceived value in getting something for nothing. But not all freebies are free and specifically, I’m talking about company logos (we refer to these as brand identities).

It’s not hard to find a free logo. It could be clipart, a stock image you found on the internet, or maybe the guy who makes your vehicle decals offered to ‘do up a logo’ for you for free.

Hey, even the IT guy knows a thing or 2 about graphic design right? While these may appear to have no cost associated, that’s not the case.

The Real Cost of Free Logos

Brand Positioning

An experienced brand strategist and seasoned creative team can create a brand image that captures more than just what your company ‘does’. They can weave in the personality, aspirations, and felt sense that you want your company to stand for. One that will stand the test of time. This is what separates authentic brand images from your average “logo”. If your strategic position as a business (value, premium, boutique etc.) isn’t carefully crafted into your logo, the cost could be eroded pricing, premiums, and missed customer engagements. People often will feel a certain way triggering a physical action based on a quick 2-second first impression, so you need to ask yourself; is the identity is really ‘speaking’ for your business?

Collateral Costs

Branding companies have the background and experience to see the complete future landscape for your company’s brand identity. Whether this is outdoor use, stationery, signage, vehicle, golf balls, or the Good Year Blimp’ message board, a logo should be designed to be practical, legible, and easy to understand. It’s amazing how many times we’ve seen logos designed with a single purpose in mind that require significant modifications over time.

Pre-Mature Rebrand

Successful start-ups often find very quickly that their logo is off the mark. It just doesn’t stand for what the company is evolving into. This can trigger a re-design and re-launch for a brand image far sooner than necessary. Unfortunately, this often results in confusion amongst your customers and prospects.

It is certainly normal for companies to go through a systematic brand update from time to time, but these are often small refreshes to sustain growth rather than largescale changes.

Ultimately, your brand should be authentic, unique, relevant and resilient. It’s unlikely that the source of the free logo was strategically engaged to a point of creating an identity that meets these criteria. We strongly encourage you to obtain the services of an experienced brand strategist or designer.

So, is a free logo really free? As my Dad used to tell me (ad nauseam), “You get what you pay for, and you’ll pay for what you get!”.