‘Insert your business name here’ branding
What you need to know
We have a real problem with ‘Insert your business name here’ branding.
Not just because Sammy is a professional graphic designer but because we can’t believe that a small business owner would want to get the same logo as 500+ other businesses!
You pour your heart and soul into your business, give up your evenings and weekends, go to networking meetings, research competitors, research your target market…and then use a stock logo.
It just doesn’t make sense!
Also, what on earth do these generic blobs of colour mean?
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 branding?
It could be any one of them. Though one is going to be first into the mind of the customer. 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 we’re on a roll, have you ever been given a business card that you’ve seen before but from a completely different company? Sammy and I have both had this happen to us at different times and with different businesses.
It just leaves you feeling uninspired. 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’ve waded 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 we’ll talk about those in a minute.
Local to you there is going to be at least a couple of jobbing printers. They would be happy to print you 500 business cards for less than the price of 100 of these. Your cards would also be a standard size!
But I can’t afford to hire a Graphic Designer!
The good news is you don’t have to anymore.
You can learn 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. It’s easy with our help.
Other issues at work here
Using a designer, whether that’s a ‘insert your business name here’ type or a professional, means that you’re tied in.
It’s a little known fact but the UK Intellectual Property Office (www.ipo.gov.uk) says 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 that 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’re paying them for a professional and bespoke service.
What if you’ve 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 decided to get some matching leaflets, web graphics, or embroidered logos for your staff T-shirts produced by someone else, you would need your designer’s permission to do so. They designed your logo and have the rights to their design. 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 far better to come clean and say you made an honest mistake than to find you’re in breach of contract).
What’s the solution?
We don’t think it’s fair that small businesses should be put under this sort of pressure, especially when all you want is to 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. However, as a small business or sole trader, you don’t have to take this step right now.
You can take control of your own design and branding with no copyright or royalty issues by using Canva.com. Here’s a link to their article on How to create a logo. If you use your own image and design elements on your logo design, the entire process is free. Otherwise, you can browse their library of layouts and in a few simple clicks, you can create a fully customised logo for your business. There are plenty of free elements in their library while premium ones are priced at just $1.
You can also download our images and use them on Canva for your branding. They’re also copyright and royalty-free and cost less than 21p an image on our Yearly subscription to a maximum of 75p each if you Pay-As-You-Go. Visit The Collection to see what’s available. Many of our images are available directly on Canva too. Simply go to ‘Elements’ in your Canva design pane and type in BYOGD and our images will appear. If you have a Canva Pro account the images are now free!!
Another alternative is Inkscape, a free, open-source professional quality vector graphics software. It’s used by design professionals and hobbyists worldwide for creating a wide variety of graphics. Inkscape has sophisticated drawing tools with capabilities comparable to Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW. If you’re comfortable using those programs then moving to Inkscape will save you money.
We’re going to relaunch our Inkscape design course shortly. This will enable you to start designing and using your own branding, advertising and social media visuals any time you like… and you can guarantee they’re unique to you!
Why not have a go at designing your own branding?
If you do decide to hire a graphic designer, then we recommend that you read this really helpful article How To Choose A Designer by DesignerHire. It’s packed full of useful tips and advice on finding the right designer for your project.