It’s happened again. A well-meaning person — who is not a graphic designer, but knows enough about Photoshop to be dangerous — volunteered to design a logo for a new non-profit organization. I should mention that this is after a previous volunteer designed a completely unworkable logo. And since the founder of the non-profit is already a business client and wanted me to design the website, it seemed reasonable (to them) to consult with me about the logo.
I understand that people do not want to spend a lot of money on a custom logo. I am fine to give quick/occasional feedback to fine-tune someone else’s design. But at some point, I have to put my foot down and say “ENOUGH!”
The first version of the logo was designed by someone else, and was given to me. I used it on the website, even though I had some reservations about whether it was a good logo (it was not). I gave them some feedback. Since then, it has been replaced half a dozen times with various iterations. Yes, that means I have to revise the website and the stylesheet every time the logo changes dimensions and aspect ratio.
Not to be blunt, but this is the truth: professional designers are not in business to provide pro bono coaching to other people designing their own logo or website. In the past week, I’ve responded to over 20 messages about this logo, and given feedback and input about:
- Fonts and colors
- Solid vs. gradient vs. pattern
- Sizing and layout
- Bitmap vs. vector (he only has Photoshop, so right off the bat, he’s not using the correct tools for the best long-term result)
- Whether or not the tagline belongs in the logo (I say it doesn’t, but they want it there)
I’ve also provided some mock-ups explaining my suggestions, and links to other websites with logo design principles spelled out. I figured out that I have spent about 3 unbillable hours on this, when legitimate client work was waiting for me. I feel guilty billing for it, especially when they are a non-profit. Of course had I known it would take this much time, I would have cut it off at the beginning.
Next time, I will know better!