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How important is a logo for a freelancer ?

If I'm going to design a small static website to represent myself with 'about', 'skills', 'portfolio' ... etc. pages and I want to keep the design as simple as I can...

Is it crucial to take lots of time and try to design an abstract logo that would represent me as a freelancer, or what I do ?

Work I do: web design and development, custom solutions.. etc.

Target audience: small business owners, and potential recruiters ?

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What do you do? Graphic design, web design, web development? –  Lèse majesté Nov 28 '10 at 5:00
    
question updated, thanks for pointing that out –  sdadffdfd Nov 28 '10 at 5:20

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

A logo/trademark/service mark is an essential part of your brand identity. It's the most prominent visual representation of your organization. In a way, it's the public face of your organization. I.e. when you think about AT&T, Ford, McDonald's, Google, etc. what is the first image that comes to your mind? It's probably their logo—the icon, the colors, the particular type treatment, etc.

Pretty much all organizations and businesses have some sort of brand mark. It could be a simple black & white logotype, or it could be an elaborate full-color graphical logo, but any organization that wants to be taken seriously needs to have one.

Even if you're just an individual freelancer, your business still needs a brand. You need something that potential customers will associate with your business that distinguishes you from competitors. If you've got no logo, then your personal brand will be anonymity.

Consider what is more professional and memorable:

  1. A plain white business card with plain same-sized text for the person's name, title, phone number, email, and website
    —versus—
    a business card with the exact same information on it, but this time in a dual-tone design, thoughtful typography, and with the name emblazoned across the card in a nice, heavy, stylized typeface?
  2. Contracts, invoices, reports, etc. in plain white envelopes, plain stationary, and that look like they were created from stock Word templates (some of them have the contractor's name on them, others don't; some are in Arial, others in Times New Roman; different font sizes, etc.)
    —versus—
    everything in official company stationary with identical professionally designed letterheads with company logo, consistent fonts and formatting across all documents and communiques, and everything arriving in custom envelops—also with the contractor's logo on it.
  3. A plain website with a generic Wordpress/Joomla/Drupal theme that just has the freelancer's name in plain text across the top.
    —versus—
    A professionally designed website with a color scheme and visual style matching the professionally designed logo featured in the masthead.

Which of the 2 approaches outlined above do you think delivers a better and more memorable client experience? Both get the job done, but one of them reminds the client at every turn that they're dealing with the same company and reinforces the brand in the client's mind. So if your brand message is friendliness and professionalism, then every time the client sees your letterhead, your business card, your website, etc. they're reminded of how friendly and professional you are.

A well-designed logo is central to all of this. Just having it stamped on all of your business collateral creates a cohesive experience for the client. And it's especially important for an individual freelancer as it distinguishes you from being just another private individual.

I.e. if you see "Joe Jackson" scrawled or printed on a piece of paper, that just looks like some random name; maybe he's an accountant, or a construction worker, or a burger flipper, or maybe just some 14-year-old kid—who knows? But if that name is stylized with a type treatment and made into a logo, then immediately you perceive it differently. Now it's the name of a law practice or some other type of professional. And if that name has a graphical logo by it, you may even be able to tell at a glance that he's a web developer, or a graphic designer, or whatever the case may be.

In terms of your website, if you don't have a logo will the visitor be able to tell that this is a business site rather than a personal site? First impressions are made in the first 5 seconds. Will the visitor's first impression be "this looks like a personal blog" or "this is a professional business site"?

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Excellent answer, Thank you. –  sdadffdfd Nov 28 '10 at 11:09

I would only implement a logo if it represents either the kind of work you are capable of or if you have reason to believe it will add to clients' confidence in paying for your services - your work should speak for itself (an exception: if your services include logo design) so, whatever you do, don't settle for a mediocre logo just because everyone else has one.

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+1 for "add to clients' confidence" but I'm not sure how would I do that since a lot of visitors aren't related to the field and they may expect something very "fancy" since I'm a freelancer.. and 90% of freelancers do that.. –  sdadffdfd Nov 28 '10 at 5:31
    
@Vic. - The clients who expect something fancy may not be as good for your business as the clients who expect a simple and effective presentation with a strong portfolio (i.e. clients who are more impressed by professionalism and quality results than Flash intro movies) –  danlefree Nov 28 '10 at 5:42
    
also a good point. Sorry need more rep to vote :( –  sdadffdfd Nov 28 '10 at 5:45

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