Beware of Template Logos

What is a template logo?

Template logos are plug and play designs. They often include “your logo here” or fictitious business names that can be replaced with your own. They can usually be found:

    1. Directly in design software (like Canva.com)
    2. Stock graphic websites (Etsy, istock, logo generators, etc)
    3. From designer-owned online stores

Recently, I have received several inquiries from clients who need to rebrand their business because they started out with a template logo and were feeling the limits of it. Specific requests came through for a logo file that could be scaled or simple one that looked more professional. Although it may seem like a great solution for business owners on a tight budget, I strongly encourage you to consider the following:

Your strategy is missing.

There are aspects of your business plan that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to your visual brand design. For example, consideration should be given to your target audience and how they perceive your industry and unique marketing message. Your competition, location, brand personality, unique selling point and the places you will use your logo should be major players in the design process. Save your pennies to work with a designer who can walk you through this process.

Your Logo is Not Unique.

In my opinion, this is the most important reason template logos should be avoided. Choosing a templated logo is the same as purposefully choosing a terrible name for your business. Why shoot yourself in the foot? Some template sites will limit the number of purchases of each logo which sounds promising at first, but consider how you came across that template. It is likely that other businesses in your industry, geographic location, or audience circle are also being marketed to by the designer or website selling the logo templates. Stand apart and prevent brand confusion.

Your Logo Won’t be as Memorable.

Template logos are designed to be ambiguous. The more industries/business that can use the template, the more sales the template provider receives. Even if the design is clearly for a photography business, there has to be something unique about your photography business, name, location, etc that can be a part of the logo design to make it memorable to your audience. Often times designers will choose fonts and even customize them based on the name of a business. It is a little trick designers use to make logos stand out from the rest.

Your Logo May Not Come in the Proper File Formats.

Logo templates made with sites like Canva do not allow you to export vector versions of your logo. This means that you will not be able to scale up your design without it becoming pixelated. Give up your dreams of having a billboard design, vehicle wrap, or even a poster with your logo on it. Having designed graphics for many events, I can’t tell you the number of times I have worked with a small business sponsoring the event who could not get their proper advertisement because their logo was not large enough to print on a poster or banner. Don’t

You May Not be Able to Trademark Your Logo.

Depending on the rights of the artwork used in the logo template, you may not be able to trademark your logo. Even purchased artwork has copyright and trademark limitations in the fine print. DO NOT buy a logo if provide copyright and trademark information is not clearly provided for you. You are setting yourself up to have the design taken out from under you.

I have worked with far too many small businesses cleaning up the mess made by a poor  branding foundation to be silent on this issue. It is an expensive (investing in new printed items) and time consuming process. As a very budget conscious person, I urge you to set aside money and invest in a proper and strategic brand for your business. The branding packages I offer provide you with a toolkit of branding items that you can take and use yourself or budget shop for vendors with. Invest in the solid foundation. You can thank me later.

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Pine & Pixels is a branding and website design studio currently based in Florida and serving small businesses near and far. M-F, 9-5 CT

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