Congratulations! You’re an entrepreneur. Whether you’re starting a new business or reinventing an existing one, the first thing you’ll need is a logo. Why? Because a logo is a unique design that helps your customers visually identify you, your products and/or services. It’s a picture, symbol or character that represents your company and makes it instantly recognizable to your customers. But that’s not all it does… Your logo is the basis for all your digital and printed marketing materials like business cards, signs, posters, catalogues and brochures. It’s also used on all your promotional products, social media accounts and of course, your company website. That’s a lot of work for one design, which means it’s an important one.

(Logo created for Producer Don MacBain)

Professional vs Amateur Designer

If you’re trying to decide whether you should hire a professional graphic designer or create the logo yourself, please consider the following: A professional graphic designer will make your logo, business card and/or website look, professional. Graphic design is a form of art and a professional designer is an artist with the knowledge, experience, skill and talent that most amateurs do not possess. Designers study art, drawing, painting, design principles, art history, typography, coding, brand development, photography, advertising, marketing and more. It takes years to learn and master graphic design, just as it takes years to become a successful entrepreneur, lawyer or architect. Experts in every field draw upon their knowledge, skills and talent to make whatever they do look easy because after hours of study, practice and mistakes, it is easy, for them.

(Dr. James Dohn is a chiropractor and wanted to incorporate da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, two circles and the North Star in his logo. The alignment of the mind & body within the intersection of the Venn diagram represents his business and healing philosophy)

Hiring a Professional Designer

You know more about your company than anyone. You are an expert in your field and an expert in your product and/or service. In creating your business, you researched and identified your potential customers, their preferences and age range. You also know your style and what you like. A professional graphic designer will use all this information to create and design your logo. To find a designer, a great place to start is with recommendations from members of your networking group, colleagues or other business owners (especially if you like their logo). Since in person meetings are not always necessary (or possible), a designer recommended by an out of state colleague or business friend can be added to your list as well. If possible, start with a list of three to five names and research each potential designer. Look at examples of their work. Do they have a range of different logos? Does the artist’s style appeal to you? Does their style reflect your business niche or industry? Would it appeal to your customers? Do you like their work? How much will the design cost?* *The cost of a logo will vary and is based upon the designer’s experience, location and number of design samples. When you consider all the materials and ways your logo will be used, the initial investment in a professional design should save you time and money on future marketing projects.

(Left – Original logo created for Pacific Coast University; Right – Updated logo with enhanced colors and font corrections. Both changes make the logo easier to read and give a more dynamic feel to the rays of light )* *Logos are like fashion: trends change and certain aspects go out of style. Because of this, many companies occasionally refresh and update their logos. Notice that the updated logo is still identifiable to former students, but now has a more vibrant appeal for new and prospective ones.

The Design Process

Please Note: Since business practices vary among graphic designers, the following is what a client can expect from Dean Triolo Design. When you meet with a professional graphic designer, you should expect the designer to be friendly, courteous and busy. New clients are always welcomed, but designing takes time so appointments are usually scheduled at certain hours or on specific days depending on the workload. During your initial consultation, the designer will ask about your business, and talk about style, colors, your product and/or service and your prospective customers. They should listen to your ideas, answer your questions and get a feel for your personality. It is wise to have a general idea of the overall impression you want the design to convey. Research is a good idea, but be open to suggestions.

(Old vs New: Complete business and logo change. My client took over a business that originally created products for the golfing industry. We worked together to appeal to a wider clientele and reflect an active Southern California lifestyle.)

After the initial consultation, my process begins by creating several sketches by hand. From there, I narrow the choice down to three and I create a digital version of each example. I also begin to incorporate color palettes and experiment with different fonts. Next, I design three proofs or mock up logos based on my research and our creative brief. I create the color samples and include two scale versions. This is important because the design needs to look good on sizes ranging from business cards to large banners for special events. (For a closer look at my design process, click here ) Then the three proofs are submitted to my client for review. Once my client chooses a design, we work together to refine the logo. Typically, this is accomplished and limited to three rounds of revisions. Finally, after all revisions have been incorporated, the logo is ready. My client will receive the logo files, Pantone and color codes, and font files. Files include .pdf and .jpg as well as .ai and .eps vector files.

(Example: Pantone colors & fonts)

The Logo Design Contract

Make sure you review and understand your designer’s contract and payment information. Typically, work is scheduled after the contract is signed and the initial payment is received. The contract should specify the number of design choices, number of revisions, amount of time you have to choose your design, and the amount of time you have to submit your revisions. The contract should include the following:

  • Total Cost including deposit requirement
  • Start/Completion dates
  • Number of proofs
  • Number of revisions
  • Payment information
  • Type of files you will receive – jpg, pdf, .ai, .eps, Pantone and color codes, font names, etc.*

*File types vary by designer. If you are going to use your logo for digital and print materials, make sure your contract includes the correct file types for these.

(Logo design created for Terre Griley @

And there you have it! A professional logo for your business. Logos are an important part of your company’s marketing plan and branding strategy. Your logo helps new and potential customers instantly recognize your business and its services or products. The images, colors, and fonts used in your logo create an overall impression that reflect your company style. Your logo is the basis for all your marketing materials, print materials, social media accounts and promotional products. It’s a unique design, created with you and for you. If you have any questions or would like to arrange a consultation, please contact

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