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Making Money in Logo Design

Designers who are successful all

Perseverance and hard work are required. Talent is useful, but overrated.


Becoming a successful logo seller

1. Learn the difference between good design and bad design

In this article I will focus on logo design, but the same applies across the board.

If you are a novice designer or if you are not having wonderful success as a designer, accept that the beautiful designs you create may just be terrible.

Compliments from your wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, mom, dad and kids don't count.

The first step is to reach a level where strangers think your designs are good. Until you do, the world of ready-made logos will seem like a cold and hostile place.

To hone your skills, start by looking at good logos. Not necessarily designs that you like, but ones that experienced designers like. Right now there are three sites that have large collections of very good logos:

LogoGround.com (especially the staff favorites)
Dribbble.com
LogoLounge.com

LogoLounge isn't free. At the time of writing a membership there will cost you $100 per year. If you can spare $100, LogoLounge is a good place to spend it. If not, you can get by with the other two. Go back to LogoLounge when you have $100 to spare. It's worth it.

Select five good logos from those sites. Copy and paste them to Illustrator or CorelDraw. Now reproduce them by hand. You're not going to sell these of course. This is training.

We are:

  • getting into the heads of those brilliant designers and
  • loading your creative brain. Picasso said "inspiration does exist, but it must find you working."

When you have accurately reproduced all five, clearly mark them as copies so you don't forget and try to sell them ten years from now! That kind of thing can ruin your reputation.

2. Make a good logo

Chances are that, while copying those five logos, you had at least one idea for an original logo inspired by those designs. Not a derivative or variation of one of those designs. An original one.
(If not, repeat step one as many times as necessary)

Go make that original logo. Make it perfect.

Next, find 5 good logos with a similar theme. If you made a logo of a fish, save the 5 best fish logos you can find. Take your time. Find really great designs that other designers also rate highly.

Paste them all in Illustrator/CorelDraw and put your logo among them.

Still like yours?
(If not, try again or work on it until the quality matches the other great logos you selected.)

Now mirror the whole lot. You know, select all, then flip horizontally.

The ones that still look good really are good logos. When working on a logo our eyes become accustomed to the misformed shapes and inaccurate proportions. Mirroring the logo breaks the familiarity and allows you to see your creation as it really is.

(If you're an artist, this works really well for paintings and drawings too. Hold them up to a mirror.)

If your logo still looks good mirrored, well done!

If it doesn't, don't worry. Rinse and repeat. Very experienced logo designers still occasionally create logos that fail this test. Perseverance. Logo designers that make a living from logos are not the most talented ones, they're the ones who kept practicing until strangers started paying them to make logos.

3. Don't build a "logos for sale" web site

Google "logos for sale". Here's a link: https://goo.gl/hb4IvC

How many results are there?

Depressing right?

It gets worse. Fewer than one percent of them are really making money from logos. It is closer to one successful logo designer for every thousand you see on Google, or 0.1%.

Assuming you already know how, building a web site will take days or weeks. For all your effort, Google will reward you with a spot somewhere in that list of millions. That's if your site does not break too many of their rules. Now the slog begins, figuring out how to rank high up in the search results, just like everyone else on that list.

Unfortunately there are only 10 spots in the top 10.

At this point you may be thinking I'm being biased. I want you to sell your logos here on LogoGround rather than seeing you create competition for LogoGround.

You'd be right. But let's also be realistic. If I dissuade 100 designers, there will be 1 million who never see this article and who will go and build logo design web sites. I'm not really making a dent. Not trying to.

I want to convince you that it is in your interest to not waste time and money building a logo design web site that will give you little or no return.

Right now there are 219,478 logos on LogoGround. Considering the competition, designers who create new logos-for-sale web sites have a long fight ahead if they are to claw out a piece of the logo design market for themselves. And it is never-ending. Tomorrow there will be 100 brand new logo sites ready to kung fu you out of your little corner of the logo world. I've been there.

LogoGround is successful because there are not two or three (or ten or a hundred) designers selling here. There are thousands of us, pooling our efforts for mutual gain. The site content is growing hundreds of times faster than the content of the average "one-man" site! Search engines like that and they send tons of logo buyers our way. It makes sense for you to simply "plug into" a site like this and utilize its reach to your advantage.

4. If you can't beat them

This site is yours as much as it is anybody else's.

Sign up to sell your logos if you have not done so already. It takes a minute or two to register and activate your account. And it's free of course.

Read the LogoGround designer handbook. It's a five minute read and it will save you time later. No really, you have to read it.

Upload your profile pic.

Set up your PayPal information.

Done.

5. Before you start uploading logos to LogoGround...

We unfortunately have our share of unhappy designers here. When I created version one of the LogoGround platform in 2011 I honestly did not foresee that. The reality is that LogoGround is starting to look like a little Google. Thousands of designers, 219,478 logos, all competing for the attention of a finite number of buyers. Only the top 5% of designers on LogoGround are regularly making sales.

Now for some good news

Joining the 5% is within reach. Most of the 95% simply do not pay attention to the details - and some of those details (I'll tell you which), are make-or-break.

The important details are all in the designer handbook, which you're going to read, right? It's here.

By simply reading it you will put yourself in the top 50%. At least half of our designers never read the designer handbook. I can relate. Artists and rules don't mix. Don't think of it as a rule book though. It's more of a help book. A get-ahead book.

Here is the make-or-break part.

There is a section in the handbook that explains the importance of selecting a descriptive title for your logo, typing a comprehensive list of keywords and writing a detailed and clear description for every logo. You may think that we just want a tidy site. Not so. Well, that too, but those three fields are the difference between logos that get seen (bought) by logo shoppers and ones that linger in dark corners of LogoGround for years.

Title

You know about search engine optimization (SEO)? In short, it's about structuring a page in such a way that it ranks high in the search engines for a specific keyword search. So let's say that you and I each have a logo of a bridge. Both good designs. For my title I use something that I think sounds cool for a bridge logo: "Bridge-it". You opt for a generic title, calling yours simply "Bridge Logo". On LogoGround, the title you select becomes the page title for the logo page and it is displayed prominently, close to the logo. When someone does a search on a search engine like Google for "Bridge Logo", the search engine will show your logo much higher up in the results than mine because Google saw that exact keyword in your page title and on the page itself. Sure, if someone searches for "Bridge-it" mine will display higher, but even if someone did search for "Bridge-it" it is unlikely that they are looking for a logo to buy. The person searching for "Bridge Logo" is far more likely to be a prospective client looking for a logo of a bridge!

So keep your title short and to the point. No fancy names. If you are not sure what to choose as the title, think about what someone would type into Google if they were searching for a logo like this one. Whatever it is, that should be your title.

Keywords

If you make a beautiful dog logo, don't type only "dog" in the keywords field. Do you really want the logo shopper who searches for "canine" to not see your logo? And the vet searching for "vet logos" - and the dog food factory owner searching for "dog food logos" - and the pet shop owner searching for "pet logos" or "pet shop logos" or "pet store logos"? No, you want all of them to see your awesome dog logo, so cover all those keywords. A dog logo should have a keywords field like this:

"dogs canines k9 pups puppies pets shops stores vets veterinarians veterinary animals walkers sitters food obedience training".

Did I miss any?

See how I used the plural in most cases? That's because the term "dog" is contained within the term "dogs", so if you have the plural in your list of keywords your logo will show if someone searches LogoGround for either "dog" or "dogs".

Description

The description field is another great tool that few designers use effectively. The title and keywords help logo shoppers find your logo. The description helps them make the buying decision.

When a logo shopper clicks on your logo they get the bigger version of the logo with your description directly below.

Imagine it...
Look, there she is. A buyer. Right there on your logo page. Looking at your logo. Now looking at the price. Eyes back to the logo. "I like this... Yes, this is a good logo." Leaning forward. "Look at the detail there. Lovely. And not too expensive." She's reading the description you wrote.

Are you really now going to throw it all away with a generic, insincere description like "cool logo 4 u"?

The description is a message from you to the buyer. She's a real person, considering giving you money for this logo. Tell her more about this logo. Tell her what symbols you tried to incorporate and what they mean. Tell her why you picked those colors and that font. Be honest and sincere. See the description as a friendly, informative chat with the buyer where you confirm what she's already thinking: This is a brilliant logo that was crafted with care.

6. Interact

Logo uploaded and approved - and hopefully marked "Sold" very soon.

In between logo creation and logo upload sessions, make time to interact with other designers here on LogoGround or on any other design community site. When I created LogoGround I had 15 years experience as a logo designer and thought I could teach other designers a lot, but I've been doing more learning than teaching here. We have incredibly gifted people on this site. People who share freely. Seek them out.

7. Repeat

We are back to perseverance.

At the time of writing, logos spend on average a little under 10 months on LogoGround before they are purchased. The record is less than 20 minutes, but that's the exception.

If you upload one or two logos and wait excitedly, you may be disappointed.

Let's say you upload a logo of a flower. A daisy. With a smiling face. Very well drawn and really pretty. Fun but not too cartoonish. That's great for when someone comes along looking for a fun but not too cartoonish happy daisy logo. That person will come along eventually. LogoGround has long tentacles and we pull buyers in from everywhere, but we are looking for a very specific buyer. It will take a while.

Rather than waiting, why not target another person too? Let's say it's a flower logo again, but this time it is a lilly and very elegant, no smiley face. Excellent. Two logos for sale on LogoGround. You have doubled your chances of making a sale.

See where this is going?

Designers who make many sales every month have 1,000+ logos on the site. They aim at so many targets that they hit them all the time.

To pull it all together:

Put in the effort to learn from good designers, make logos every day, aim to only make logos that you are proud of. If you are willing to keep that up year after year, you will make money with your logos, be it here on LogoGround, on another platform or on your own site. It's not really that hard. It's just hard work.

Things worth doing usually are.


Final thought

How is your English?

Mine is, admittedly, not great. English isn't my first language. But this is an English medium web site targeting the English speaking, logo buying world. To be successful here we must have a reasonable command of this English language with all its weird spelling and grammar. There's no way around it.

You need at least the ability to write great descriptions and to chat with clients in the client area.

Read books in English, watch YouTube videos in English, teach your kids English, dream in English.

And use an English language spell-checker. You should be able to turn it on in your browser. If you have typos in your logo titles, keywords or descriptions we will unfortunately have to decline those logos until you fix all the typos. Save yourself the frustration by always spell-checking.

I wish your the very best with your logo sales.

One more time: The designer handbook is here ;)


Andre le Roux, LogoGround founder
2016-07


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