I have a REAL PROBLEM with ‘Insert you business name here’ branding.
Not just because I am a professional designer, but because I can’t believe that a small business owner would pour their heart and soul into their business, give up their evenings and weekends, go to networking meetings, research competitors, research their target market…and then get the same logo as 500 + other businesses!
It just doesn’t make sense!
What do they say about a company?
What sort of personal service can potential customers expect from a clone brand?
And more to the point…Which company actually springs into the minds of your potential customers when they see this logo?
It could be any one of them…but one is going to be first into the mind of the customer, and with so many other businesses using this logo, is it likely to be yours?
(It could even be the name of the business card supplier…?)
And while I’m on a roll – and I have had this happen to me – Have you ever been given a business card that you have seen before – but from a completely different company?
I’m just not feeling inspired by this… how can a business hope to build a solid brand and reputation for themselves when their branding is literally the same as a whole load of other businesses in the same field?
But it saves money…
Well actually, no.
Once you have got through the add ons and the postage and packaging charges, these ‘insert your business name here‘ companies are often charging more for their service.
They do have special ‘introductory offers’ but I’ll talk to you about those in a minute…
Local to you there is going to be at least a couple of jobbing printers who would be happy to print you 500 business cards for less than the price of 100 of these.
But I can’t afford to hire a Graphic Designer…
The good news is, that if you are a small business owner, you don’t have to any more.
Learning the basics necessary to be your own graphic designer and create your own logo, business cards, flyers, web advertisements, social media banners and other marketing materials is easy with the right help.
But there are other issues at work here too…
Using a designer, whether that’s a ‘insert your business name here’ type or a professional means that you are tied in.
It’s a little known fact, but the UK Intellectual Property Office (www.ipo.gov.uk) say that even if you have commissioned and paid for a design you only have the rights to use it for the original purpose, unless you have a contract which says otherwise.
In other words, if you pay for a design or logo to use on your business cards, and then decide to use it on say a leaflet, t-shirt or on the web, in theory your designer, has the right to charge you again to use it for that purpose. This is because THEY own the design – legally it is THEIR intellectual property.
The way it actually works is that professional designers hold on to the vector files for your logo and send you the designs you commission from them. They then charge you accordingly for adapting the design in your house style to fit everything you need.
All well and good… you are paying them for a professional and bespoke service.
But what if you have used an ‘insert your business name here’ designer?
You don’t actually own the rights to that design – they do – and they can sell it as many times as they like.
They can also delete the design from their list of offered designs so you would suddenly be left without any branding… Ouch!
And, of course, by offering you those introductory rates for your first order, you are now locked in – and the prices go up.
So can’t I use my own logo as I like then?
Well, er…no actually.
If you were to decide to get some matching leaflets, web graphics, brochures, posters, or embroidered logos for your staff T-shirts produced by someone other than your designer, you would need their permission to do so. After all the graphic designer who designed your logo has the rights to it, and if you take that design elsewhere, you would be breaking the law by using their work without permission.
To sum up – if you take a design created for you by designer ‘A’ to designer ‘B’ without permission, designer ‘A’ could quite rightly get a bit miffed!
(If you think you may be in this position, please do speak to your designer and find out where you stand – it’s better to come clean and say you made an honest mistake than to find you are in breach of contract).
So what is the solution?
As I said earlier, I’m a professional Graphic Designer and I don’t think it’s fair that small businesses should be put under this sort of pressure – especially when all you want is to work hard and get your business off the ground.
Of course, once you are making enough money to expand, hiring a reputable graphic design firm can be the right thing to do – they are after all highly trained professionals offering a bespoke service, but as a small business or sole trader you do not have to take this step right now.
However, right now you can take control of your own design and branding with no copyright or royalty issues by taking a look at our website.
We use FREE to download Inkscape software and actually train you to use it, enabling you to start designing and using your own branding, advertising and social media visuals any time you like… and you can guarantee they are unique to you!
Our on-line courses each contain over 40 tutorials, videos, templates and infographics for only £29.95 and this includes everything you need – including the software!
Why not give it a go?