Gillian Pollard

Education Blog

Branding in the early days

A decade is a long time to be in business and when I think back to most of my business decisions in those early days I instinctively cringe.

Without all those mistakes, I wouldn’t have learnt important lessons… so it’s not all doom and gloom. Hopefully by writing this I can help some others in the early stage of their business.

When I really think about it, most of the biggest mistakes I have made in business, especially in those early years, came down to my confidence and my inability to negotiate with people.

One of those mistakes was spending WAAAAYYYY too much on my first logo. I went to a local graphic design shop where I would like to say I was taken advantage of, but with the beauty of hindsight, I can say it was my own fault for not being assertive enough. I went in wanting a simple logo so I could make a simple website and print some business cards. The designer said I had to get a full service package where I got a full folio of work…(who needs car sign writing when you are driving a hyandai excel?), he told me two designers would work on it and it would be the best way to start my business. It was so much money to outlay, but I was thinking “if you want to be successful you need to spend money” so I agreed and eagerly waited for a logo. What I received was one option for a logo which was made with simple stock images. All I was thinking was “I am so unimpressed with this logo” but I had nothing to compare it with and I was too timid to query why I hadn’t received more, and too invested in the process financially to take my business elsewhere.

my first logo…

my first logo…

What I was left with was a logo that didn’t reflect the creative nature of my business. I had way too many business cards and letter heads (again, what I was told I would need) that years later all ended up in landfill and a branding that I wasn’t 100% proud of.

Years later after some careful consideration I decided to re brand my business. This time I did my research. I paid attention to the types of logos I liked of other business’s, then I contacted them to see who had designed their logo. I found Joel Pringle.( ) … and whilst we never even met, I was able to explain exactly what I was looking for in a graphic designer. When the designs arrived, I liked the idea, but deep down something visually did not work for me. I had the confidence to gracefully suggest an alteration, which is how we got to the logo still used for my business today. I still to this day receive complements on my logo and I have passed on Joel’s details to countless people. To me, it is the perfect mix of creativeness, design and professionalism.

Branding is something that if done well, it is subconscious to the client. However, if done poorly, it can set the wrong tone for your business. When choosing someone to design your logo, don’t just look at price. Look at their previous work, is that the type of logo you would like? If the answer is no, keep looking. Like floristry, graphic design is an art form and everyone has a different aesthetic. If you are just starting out and can not justify a large spend, be upfront and explain your situation (everyone was there at one stage), they may be able to offer an express service which will fit your budget, or if they only deal with larger jobs they may be able to put you onto another company that deals with smaller designs. And finally, you will need to spend money on a good logo, and it will be worth it. Just make sure you do your research and end up with one you are happy with and to trust your gut on the choice… or you will pay twice.

Gillian Pollard