The process for designing a logo, contrary to popular belief, is a constant research, analysis, and concept generation for the conception of an original corporate identity. It is not just producing vectors into something that looks pretty, complex, or aesthetically pleasing. It is, actually, all about color psychology, market analysis, brand search, product or service properties, and, most importantly, the final costumer. In WNDR Creative Co. we know it to the core. Thus, to generate a brand, we go through an extensive processes that require much research and use of tools in the many fields of study. We go from psychology to architecture, business, marketing, and graphic design in order to generate a pice of art quite original that gives our clients an identity of their own. However, quite recently, I've come across many companies and individuals that feature names and logos quite similar to the corporate identities of other well known brands. These names and logos misconceived as "brands" are far from original and quite lack the hand of an expert branding company at simple glance. Sadly, the majority of those companies are "victims" of folks that preach branding or graphic design businesses that offer fast and inexpensive results. Their value proposition of time and money savings is just an end product of copied designs which "gets the job done." While finding inspiration from benchmark brands is great, in fact encouraged, copying logos is not a thing of the past. Borrowing ideas from other designs for the "pros" of time and expense can quite damage the image of a business to such extent it will reflect in its revenues, not to mention it can get the entire company in serious copyright trouble.

        Branding can be quite expensive and time consuming. From the market analysis to the generation of infinite amount of concepts, it might take a while to come up with a great brand. Not only you need the resources to make it work, but the time and expertise to make it happen. That's why some designers can inadvertently copy logo designs because they don't have enough time (or patience) and lack the experience and tools for grand design processes. Most importantly, they aren't creative enough to generate ground breaking concepts. They find themselves hiding behind cliché excuses, saying they "weren't aware" such logo existed but claim "it just looks like it, but it's not the same." However, the majority of the designers do really know what they are designing is far from inspired. Thus, they are careless about the damages it might bring to the brand of the business.

        Since most fast and inexpensive designs can be quite effortless, the end product ends up being simple and cheap in every aspect: from the final design to the designer's fees. Many businesses, however, find this time-cost benefit fairly appealing; and while time and money is a big factor when making a brand, originality and creative design is really what matters. Moreover, not only it is important that the logo is original in all aspects, it must also be functional. Yet, functionality is the least quality a logo has when the charming design is just a "borrowed" idea from known another brand's logo. As a consequence, the company or business is left with a logo that has little or no communication with the client, relation with the business itself, and is practically not functional in terms of advertising. It is only, well, pretty. These kind of designs happen more often than you think, mainly because the logo is designed in what I've called failed design processes:

  • Design in a vacum. In the design process, the designer does not conduct a search on other existing logos, doesn't do a market or psycho-social analysis on the overall design, and doesn't involve the overall process of branding to come up with a final logo. It is just designed out of context skipping steps throughout the process.
  • Asembly line design. The logo is designed by a branding company but in a department alone. That         is, the designer of the logo has little or no communication with other departments of the branding process; web, packaging, mobile, marketing, etc.
        Branding is a serious business. Yet, as serious as it sounds, many businesses still go for the cheap services more often than enough. Then, understanding the risks of a "borrowed" logo, you, like me, might ask: why do people still takes the risk? Unawareness, that is.

        Failed "brands" and cheap designers exist for two main reasons. First, because there are people who pay for their services. There are companies who pay little attention to the branding of their business and decide to invest more money in advertising alone, focusing on product or service quality and quantity. Second, because most businesses are unaware of the benefits a good branding will bring to the products and services of the business, and, most importantly, how detrimental bad design can be for the whole company. The brand is important. In fact, it is the most important aspect of a business and its products or services. The brand is the core of a company and its long term identity. It is what will give it a place in the market, in the costumer preferences, and, most importantly, the client's heart.

        Brands, however, are not the same as logos or names. Brand is the whole entity of a business, the identity, and the entire public image of an entire company or individual corporation. To put it simple, logos and brands are like flour and cake. The logo is just an ingredient to a brand, and a brand is the final product, the cake. As pink and flavorful the logo might be, costumers want cake not tasty flour. Yet, many, if not most people aren't quite aware of this. That's why the branding section of a business plan is left in de dark shadows of a low budget. However, in the long term, that low budget for branding will reflect in your low reach in the market. It is not acceptable to go for a cheap service that will give you more trouble than benefits. It can be critical for your business to have a copied, unoriginal logo, for there are several legal and financial downsides to it.

        For information purposes, I will not list all the negative aspects of copycatting a logo in this article, but I will mention the most common ones. First, in legal terms you could get in serious copyright lawsuits by those brands who possess the legal rights to the name or the logo. It is common sense to copy others, as we learned since kindergarden. Second, because a brand that has not the right focus on the client and the marketing world can actually give your potential clients a misconception of your business for something off their interests. Let's say you open a business which sells office products that range from school notebooks, to notepads, to folders, pens, and pencils in your local shopping plaza. The "branding firm" you hired decided to name your company iSupplies and give it an AppStore like logo. They name it supplies for obvious reasons. The i before "supplies" was put there in order to take leverage of all the iProducts rush created by Apple. In the electronic industry, this name would fit right, and It is totally acceptable after the client is about to buy your products because when he's there, he will not care about the name of the brand but the quality of the product. However, how in the world are you going to get your client to that point? Let's say he's driving around or the surfing the web, looking for a office supply store, the first three words that will come to his mind when he sees iSupply in the billboard will be "electronics, iProducts, and accessories." Your potential client has no idea of what you sell, nor he's a psychic. Therefore, he will pass by clueless of your business and might end up at Office Max or Walmart. In the best case scenario, your potential client will go into the store after he's sent here by a friend or colleague. But that usually happens after the business is fairly famous and well known, which is also really hard to accomplish without an excellent branding. Thus, giving little importance to the brand can be prejudicial. Think about losing clients and sales on a daily basis, and ask yourself how your sales are going to go and how it will reflect on your revenue.

         With enough explanation and examples in this case study, I've quite made my point about the side effects of copied, bad logos. Branding matters. It matters to your costumer and, hence, it matters to you and your business. When searching for a branding company, look for one that adjusts to your budget, but always chose one that gives you the whole deal, analysis and market research, before generating your brand or logo. Never go for freelance graphic designers that, although might know their way to a beautiful design, will not make a previous analysis to guarantee brand success. Put it this way, going freelance is like going to a wood worker to make you the most beautiful chair without knowing the appropriate kind of wood for your humid or dry house, it's properties, its resistance to weather, and the ergonomics for a great rest. You will get a great looking chair, but in the long term it will decay, get infested by termites, or give you back pain. Go for a branding firm than can guarantee you backing up their design. There are many branding firms like WNDR Creative that offer flexible packages for small as well as big business. It's ok to invest a little more in your brand. After all, it is your brand which is going to go out there and sell itself.



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