When you're starting a business or refreshing your brand, you'll likely include designing a logo in your plans. After all, a logo is a visual cue that reminds customers and partners who you are — it's a stamp that can make or break whether someone signs up for your service or hires you.

Before you decide to use an inexpensive logo-building tool, design one yourself or ask an artistic friend for help, consider hiring a professional graphic designer. Here's why:

A Logo Is a First Impression

It would be nice if you could create an amazing logo for little money and at the drop of a hat. But is a quick logo really going to make a good first impression?

"Graphic design is like fashion in a lot of ways," says Tessa Magnuson, founder of Align Graphic Design. "It's the first visual cue people have about what you do and what you're about. If you're trying to be taken seriously in a corporate world, you need to dress the part."

If your logo is one of the first visual cues people see about your business, you want it to be fresh, clean and professional. If design isn't part of your skill set, consider hiring a professional freelancer or agency.

You Need the Research Phase

Designing a logo yourself or using a free logo tool skips the most fundamental stage of design: the research phase.

"When you hire a designer, they aggregate information about your business's industry, competitors and goals," says David Janelle, a freelance UX designer. "They should work with you to get to know where you want to take your business, where the logo will be used [and] what impression you want others to get about your business when they see your logo."

Graphic Designers Have Training and Tested Expertise

You know your business better than anyone else, but graphic designers have training and tested expertise that can make your vision a reality.

A good designer is trained to:

  • Use software and other tools to make sure your logo looks good (e.g., isn't pixelated, blurry or cropped oddly).
  • Take into account important design and production considerations. For example, a designer can scale your logo to business card and billboard size, make sure prices stay reasonable each time you screen print your logo onto something, and ensure balance, line and contrast are correct.
  • Translate your verbal/written story about who you are as an organization into a visual representation.

Good Design Shows Your Best Self

Your logo is your business and your brand's first impression for potential customers, and you want that first impression to be as positive as possible.

"Even people who aren't designers can tell right away — even if it's on a subconscious level — when something looks cheap or unprofessional," says Janelle. "Good design has a certain level of polish that separates it from average design, and hiring a professional designer will get you that high production quality."

Tags: graphic design hiring designers Logo design