Skip to main content

How Lo Can You Go?

Squarespace and Fiverr Offers Logos at Rock-Bottom Prices; Should People Bite?

The company Squarespace, most famous for providing easy-to-use editable templates to make well-designed websites attainable for the masses, upped the ante recently by launching an app for do-it-yourself logos. This, predictably, had the design community up in arms. Making a technical enterprise like building a website simple was one thing, but encroaching upon logo design, which calls for a special alchemy of creativity and communication expertise to capture a company’s essence in one eloquent mark? Blasphemy! To be sure, as this Wired article points out, the demographic for this app would never have even considered hiring a professional graphic designer in the first place, so it’s doubtful it would take any jobs away from established designers or firms, but it could potentially increase the proliferation of badly designed logos, and possibly make it harder for designers who are just starting out to find jobs.

I checked out the app too see what it was all about, and I must admit that I was pretty impressed with its simple and clean interface, but this app was created by design experts, after all. 

In the opening screen, you see a prompt to input the logo name…

…then it takes you to the actual design interface page, which has a field for the logo name, tagline, and a randomly placed symbol (symbol library courtesy of the Noun Project, a website of symbols created by graphic designers around the world):

It allows you to change the size and color of the symbol and text, but it does limit you to just those three elements and a limited collection of fonts so the user won’t succumb to the temptation to throw in a bunch of other symbols or text fields and clutter things up. There is a snap-to-grid function as well as a live preview at the bottom that shows the user what their logo would look like on a mock business card, a web site and a T-shirt, which are pretty helpful. 

Once you’re happy with your logo, you can save it in several different ways: 

It’s not foolproof; no one can prevent you from creating a logo with odd proportions and bad font combinations, but Squarespace sure has tried its darndest to make it that way. As such, I think it could be a useful tool for those who don’t want to spend the time and expense to get a professional logo created, and it would probably look better than what they might create in MS Word or something, but it is still pretty rudimentary. This is definitely no “graphic design killer” in my eyes. 

And remember that young designer I mentioned earlier who might lose out on jobs because of this app? He could possibly make some extra money by contributing symbols to the Noun Project and make a royalty every time Squarespace Logo sells one of his symbols. Squarespace may very well become a designer’s “frenemy.” 

Another company that has garnered related criticism is Fiverr. This is a site where people offer all manner of services for $5, including logo design! When you type in “logo design” in the search field, this is what comes up:

Yep, sure looks like the logo bargain bin all right, but what do you expect for $5?? Actually, after reading their Terms of Service, I found out that the seller is getting a whopping $4, after Fiverr's cut, and they relinquish ALL rights to the buyer. Wow. You'd have to turning over a LOT of logos to make any kind of decent money, which probably means the designer is recycling a lot of pre-designed elements and just banging these things out without any real thought about what the company is about, etc. So the results look pretty much like what you might get with the Squarespace app, but instead of doing it yourself, you’re getting somebody in a third world country to do it very cheaply. Well, at least with this option there’s a possibility that someone on the other end might know something about composition and balance, if nothing else at all about your company. If you’re OK with the results, great, but I wouldn’t expect much. As with all things, you get what you pay for.

Neither of these things will do much to educate people about the value of good design, but that's always been the struggle for designers. The more things change, the more they really do stay the same.

- Stephanie Han

Stephanie is a Senior Art Director at JDA Inc, a graphic design firm that specializes in supporting companies' branding and retail efforts with a Unified Marketing approach. To learn more, click here.


Popular posts from this blog

Packaging: 10 Steps to a Better Process

1. Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize. When three people are talking to you, you can’t hear them all. The same is true for design. Visual priority must be established from the very beginning of the design process. If every item is given primary importance, nothing becomes important. The visual priorities are what drive how all creative will be judged. The design firm should include as part of their creative brief, a hierarchy of 5 communication points for the front of the package. This includes 1) brand 2) product name 3) why-to-buy statement 4) feature points 5) product image. 2. Come together. Everyone has an opinion, so clear project objectives are vital to any job. Consensus regarding the creative brief must be obtained from the people expected to judge the package design from within your corporation. Without this consensus, the design process will fall apart. Without clearly stated, agreed-upon objectives, you are not able to provide constructive feedback. As soon as you start t

Let Your Packaging Sell Your Product, Not a Funny Name!

So I ran across this product while I was traveling in NY and needed some earplugs.  I can't sleep without them. Earplugs are notoriously hard to find on shelf so I had to scan many products. I came across this product and got quite a chuckle. I don't think I need to explain why (To be fair, it was awhile ago, and the package design could have changed since then.): Zim's Crack Creme---we can assume that Zim is the pharmacist who created this all-natural herbal wonder cream (creme) for your crack. Or is that really what this means. Surly it couldn't. We design packaging and I couldn't help but analyze this package as I would for a client. The first thing we help our clients do is to prioritize the elements on the front of the package. What is the most important thing to communicate? The name? The brand? The why-to-buy? The features? Obviously, Zim felt the name of the product was most important. But if the name of the product doesn't really convey what it doe

New and Not Necessarily Improved

A story in the March 3, 2009 issue of the LA Times regarding the unfavorably received new Pepsi brand redesign reminded me of another recent unsuccessful redesign—the one for Tropicana orange juice. A few months ago, I was in a Target store buying some orange juice. I usually get the Tropicana brand, and was disappointed when I didn't see any in the cases. I just saw a bunch of unfamiliar cartons that I immediately wrote off as "not Tropicana" and kept looking around. It was only during a second pass that I realized that these new cartons were indeed Tropicana. Wow, I thought, that's a pretty radical new look. Gone were any vestiges of familiarity--the funky old-style logo, and especially the orange with the straw stuck in it. The new carton is dominated by a large shot of a tasteful-looking (not necessarily tasty-looking) glass of orange juice, with the word "Tropicana" in an unfamiliar sans serif font and green color turned 90ยบ clockwise along the side. T