So, yesterday, Squarespace released a new DIY service that lets their users create their own logo for their small business.
…and all of the designers I follow on twitter went absolutely apeshit.
and my favorite,
As I watched the madness unfold, causing Squarespace to furiously backpedal and update their initial statement, I paused to think. This service is targeted towards fledgling businesses and individuals with limited resources, that is, “the common man.”
I think the point people were missing is that the people who use #squarespacelogo are the kind of people who weren’t going to pay me anyway.
I was contacted by a student group at UGA a few years ago about working on a logo for their organization. When I gave them my estimate, they responded immediately and said, “but we can get a logo from a template website for $20, how are you possibly better?”
I’ve heard a lot of designers cry out that this #squarespacelogo service is devaluing good design, and confusing consumers on what good design is. In a capitalist market, we’re unfortunately motivated by lower costs, even if sacrificing quality is the cost. Clients who don’t understand good design is don’t consider it a priority.
In reality, yes, you can buy a logo for $20, but if you try to take that logo and compete in the marketplace, you will almost always be overlooked, ignored, or ridiculed for plagiarism. There’s a lot more that goes into logo design than simply slapping type next to an icon. Logos must be recognizable at very small sizes, and very large sizes. They must be simple enough to exist in many different types of environments, in many different scenarios, and above all, they must embody the tone and ethos of your business. Logos seem small, but they are often the priciest ticket, because they control the entirety of your branding and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
I remember an article a few years back about a company that sued another for plagiarizing their logo, when it turns out that both companies’ designers had used the same logo template website (and shame on them for it). I’ll post it if I can find it.
The more flooded this #squarespacelogo service gets, the more obvious it will be that the individualized human aspect is so important. You can use a template service, but it lacks the creativity, energy, and skill that a human can bring to the table.
Logo template services have existed as long as web templates and stock photography. There has always been an option for the person willing to cut corners or lower their expectations. Web designers are still making money, and so are photographers. Sure, you might initially work from templates and stock images, but any smart businessman knows that to get ahead requires a pro. Because people tend to forget branding isn’t just a logo, it’s the whole package. It’s imagining how that logo and scheme translates to different surfaces and uses consistently and effectively.
The bottom line is, people should be aware that this does not replace a designer’s skill and ability. If you can pay a pro, you should absolutely, always do it.