So you need a logo. Maybe you’re launching a new business, or your business has grown to the point where it’s time to get serious about branding, or maybe you’ve been in business a while and now your logo needs a refresh. If you know anything about us, you know logos are our jam.
But what if you need a logo on the fly? Or you’re working with a limited budget right now? Sometimes, you just don’t have the time or budget to work with a designer. That’s perfectly fine—and there’s a perfect solution for you: a logo maker.
How do I get a logo?
There are a few different ways to get a logo. The processes for these vary, and the best option for your brand depends on a few factors (that we’ll get to in a moment). These processes are:
- Designing it yourself
- Hiring a designer
- Hosting a contest
- Working with an agency
- Using a logo maker
Working with an agency can be the right call if you need extensive design and/or branding and have a large enough budget to cover the cost. Agencies can be expensive, and that’s because they typically provide the kind of comprehensive start-to-finish service that larger and scaling businesses need.
At the next tier down in terms of cost and leveraging a professional’s design skills, you can host a contest or hire a designer directly, both of which you can do through the 99designs platform. With each of these options, you provide as many details about your logo’s design, style, color palette and goals as you have, then a designer creates a logo that incorporates these details and (ideally) achieves your goal. In a contest, lots of designers from around the world submit spec logos based on your brief, giving you the opportunity to choose the one you like best and then work with its designer to polish it into the perfect face for your brand.
And then there’s designing your logo yourself, with or without a logo maker. If you’ve got design skills and time to put them to work, designing your own logo can be a great way to put your personal touch on every piece of your brand identity. But if your design skills aren’t quite strong enough to create an effective logo (and no shame if that’s the case… maybe that’s a goal you can set for yourself!), a logo maker can be exactly what you need.
That’s not the only reason to use a logo maker. You’re the ideal candidate for a logo maker if you:
- Don’t have a huge budget
- Don’t have strong design skills
- Don’t have a lot of time
- Need a temporary logo, perhaps for a one-off product or a business you’re not sure about
- Need help with ideation. The logo you create with a logo maker doesn’t necessarily have to be the one you end up using… you can create a simple logo that illustrates your basic design plan, then show that to a professional designer so they have an idea of what you need.
You might not check all these boxes, but if you check at least one, a logo maker can provide exactly what you need because using one is a quick, inexpensive (often free!) process that can give you a logo that works for your brand, whether that’s the final logo or a jumping-off point you use to get closer to your final design.
What does a logo maker do?
A logo maker doesn’t simply make a logo for you. It’s a program that enables you to create your own logo.
Each logo maker is unique, but they mostly all have the same functions like allowing you to choose a color palette, giving you a variety of fonts to choose from, providing user-friendly tools for designing your logo and providing a library of shapes and icons to use. Some categorize these images according to specific industries, and others guide you through the process by asking you questions about your industry, brand and goals before suggesting specific design elements.
We’ve discussed logo makers on our blog before. A few notable ones include:
- Logo maker by VistaPrint
- Squarespace logo maker
While some logo makers start you off by asking questions about the logo you need and suggesting logos for you, others start you with a blank screen and a set of tools to use. In either case, designing your logo this way is usually a quick, simple process that involves making a series of simple design choices like picking between two shapes and choosing which colors to use.
The very simplicity that makes logo makers attractive is also what makes them limiting. When you use a logo maker, you’re boxed into using the design options available with that program. This often means logos made with logo makers look somewhat similar to each other, as they can have a generic feel. For a brand that just needs an inexpensive logo as quickly as possible or one that needs a temporary logo, this is often fine. For brands looking for a permanent logo, a logo maker’s options might be too limited. This doesn’t just mean in terms of the logo’s look and feel, either.
With some logo makers, you’re limited to a JPEG file unless you pay for it. The issue with these is that you can’t resize them without losing some of your image’s quality—which is fine if you don’t need to resize it, but if you’re creating your brand’s permanent logo, that’s something you’re going to want to do at some point. Typically, the cost isn’t that high—but it is a business expense to account for.
Logo makers vs. logo generators
And then there’s logo generators. A few notable ones include:
- Tailor Brands’ logo generator
Logo generators and logo makers fall into the same broad category. They both make it easy to create your own logo, and they both allow you to customize your logo. The difference is that while a logo maker typically has the user start from scratch, a logo generator creates a logo for the user after collecting some input, like which shapes and colors they like. This can be incredibly helpful when you just can’t think of any logo ideas or when you want to see unique takes on the input you provide.
In many cases, logo generators allow users to customize their logos after receiving them. So think of a logo generator like a logo maker that gives you a little more hands-on help. Like logo makers, logo generators’ creations can often feel generic, but they can be the best choice for a time- or cash-strapped startup brand.
Should I use a logo maker?
Earlier, we listed out the conditions that make somebody a good candidate for using a logo maker. If you fit the criteria, but still aren’t sure if a logo maker is the right way to go for your brand, ask yourself the following questions:
When do I need this logo?
When time is of the essence, a logo maker is a great choice… and possibly your only choice. With a logo maker, you can create a logo in just a few minutes.
In contrast, working with a designer can take weeks or even longer. Even if you’ve got a professionally designed logo in the works with a designer, a logo maker can quickly pump one out for you to use in the meantime.
How do I plan to use the logo?
As we mentioned earlier, logo makers are great for speed and price, but usually not so great for uniqueness and technical design execution.
So if you need a logo to be just a placeholder until your permanent logo is ready, use a logo maker. If you need a simple secondary logo for things like envelopes, watermarks and other places where your main logo is too complex to fit or render accurately, use a logo maker. And if the brand you’re creating the logo for is temporary (like a one-off popup) or you aren’t quite sure if it will be successful enough to last, a logo maker is the way to go.
Additionally, a logo maker can be a great way to try out different logo options without making a pricey commitment with a professional designer. You can test out these different options with potential buyers and/or you can take them to a designer to show them the different ideas you’re considering. In any case, a logo maker can help you get the logo design process started, even if it isn’t the method you use to get your final logo.
How does the logo fit into my larger brand identity?
If you already have brand identity ideas worked out, like a color palette, tagline, fonts and imagery, you might not be able to create the kind of logo you want with a logo maker. Logo makers limit you to their design elements, so you might find yourself scouring to find something that fits your brand identity in the logo maker’s pre-existing library.
That said, certain logo makers are better about allowing users to import their own design elements than others. Notably, Canva is fairly open-ended, especially if you subscribe to Canva Pro.
Do I already have an idea in mind for my logo?
If you already have an idea in mind for your logo, a logo maker can be an easy way to turn that idea into something visual. While it can feel paralyzing to sit and stare at a blank screen as you try to come up with ideas for your logo, a logo maker makes it easy to just craft what you’ve got in mind in a few quick clicks.
This isn’t the only way to research logo concepts, though. As you conduct your research, look at competitor’s logos. Do logos in your industry tend to all look similar, or are they varied and different from each other? What kinds of imagery do they tend to use, and is a specific type of logo, like a wordmark or emblem logo, prevalent? Once you’ve determined which trends your competitors are using, ask yourself why they’ve made these design choices. What do these choices say about the average buyer each competitor is courting, and would it be beneficial or detrimental for your logo to look similar to others in your field? Your answers to these questions will help you design an effective logo, with or without a logo maker.
Do you need help describing your ideal logo to a designer?
If you do, a logo maker can be one of the most valuable tools at your disposal.
With a logo maker, you can flesh out different logo concepts, color palettes and more options regardless of your design knowledge (or lack thereof).
Then, as your brand evolves, an experienced designer can take your logo to the next level. Designers have expertise and critical eyes that software just can’t replicate, and as your business scales, you’ll likely need a more thoughtful logo to accurately express who you are and what you have to offer.
And when you’re ready for that conversation, coming into it with a few concepts ready will make it easier to communicate exactly what you need and for the designer to create the perfect logo for your brand.