top of page

"I Shared the Logo Designs with My Five-Year-Old and He Didn't Like It" and Other Offensive Things You've Said to a Designer

Branding is the singular most misunderstood business foundation. If you are a brand designer, my hat is off to you. I've seen the crazy subjective tangents you've gone on with clients, and you, my friend, are a rockstar. 

My brand strategy is excellent! I've got a logo that feels like me and a few colors I love. That's Namby Pamby!

In an era dominated by platforms like 99designs and Fiverr and the commonplace practice of hiring your sister's best friend's cousin for a bargain, the science and art of brand strategy are being sabotaged. While cost-effective solutions have their place, they can obscure the deeper, more crucial aspects of branding. I hold an unpopular opinion regarding these discount design services, but I suspect it's a sentiment shared by many. When we, as business owners, commission a logo based purely on personal taste, we're not strategizing; we're personalizing. We're missing the mark.

Imagine a Dining Experience.

Picture going out to eat, but instead of one restaurant, you sample twenty. You ask each chef to prepare their signature dish tailored to your tastes. These skilled professionals have spent years perfecting their craft, carefully selecting ingredients, and painstakingly preparing each meal. After hours of labor, only one chef gets paid—your favorite. This means 19 chefs worked for free. This scenario mirrors how we often treat creative professionals globally. It's not just unfair; it's exploitative.

Brand Strategy Misconceptions.

Branding extends beyond logos and color schemes and has nothing to do with your personal preferences. Here are ten hard-to-hear truths you need to understand if you're serious about crafting a successful brand strategy:

  1. Branding is about your audience, not you: The primary focus should be on what appeals to your target market, not just what you like.

  2. Consistency is key: Your brand should deliver a consistent message across all platforms and mediums, creating a recognizable identity.

  3. Emotional connection trumps aesthetics: While visual elements are essential, the feelings your brand evokes in customers will differentiate you in the market.

  4. Brand positioning is crucial: Understanding where your brand sits in the marketplace relative to competitors is vital for carving out your niche.

  5. Your brand is a promise: What your brand promises, it must deliver. Failure to do so can damage credibility and customer trust.

  6. Storytelling is powerful: A compelling brand story connects emotionally with customers and can drive loyalty and engagement.

  7. Flexibility enables growth: While consistency matters, flexibility allows your brand to evolve with market trends and customer expectations.

  8. Employee engagement with the brand is vital: Your employees are your brand ambassadors. If they don't buy into the brand, neither will your customers.

  9. Feedback loops are essential: Regular customer feedback can help refine and improve your brand strategy.

  10. Investing in quality matters: Cutting corners on branding can do more harm than good. Investing in high-quality branding services pays off in the long run.

Is it Time for a Brand Intervention?

Here's a little exercise to help you confront the tough questions about your branding. Find a quiet space and really consider them. If you only have time for a couple of these, my highest recommendation is #5 & #6. If you answer yes, it's time for an intervention (and an apology to your designer). 

  1. Do your brand colors indeed evoke the right emotions among your target audience?

  2. Can you explain why your chosen colors resonate with your audience's psychological profile?

  3. Does your typography reflect the psychology of your target market?

  4. Is there a strategic reason behind your font choices, or were they just "what looked good" at the time?

  5. Was your branding designed by the committee, diluting the expert's influence?

  6. Did your brand expert get sidelined by too many opinions, leading to a compromised brand identity?

  7. Can you clearly articulate why your logo uniquely represents your brand?

  8. Beyond being aesthetically pleasing, does your logo have a deeper meaning or story that aligns with your brand values?

  9. Is there a disconnect between your brand identity and the actual experience you deliver?

  10. Does your brand promise match the customer experience, or are there gaps that lead to customer dissatisfaction?

  11. Have you relied on trends rather than deep strategic thinking in your branding decisions?

  12. Are your branding choices made to last, or will they look dated as soon as the trends pass?

  13. Does your brand story inspire and connect, or does