All posts by Andre le Roux

My name is Andre le Roux. I was involved in fine art and art education until about 2000. Since then I've been a graphic designer working primarily via the Web.

Perfection

It does not exist in software design, web design or business in general.

Perfection is something we all strive towards, but if you delay a product, site or business launch until everything is perfect you will never launch it.

I launched LogoGround almost 5 years ago. Most of it works perfectly and it is doing exceedingly well. There are also many things that don’t work perfectly. We have a to-do list with bugs and ideas for improvements. It has 91 entries. We are adding new items to the list faster than we are fixing old ones. This is a good thing. It is the way you work towards perfection.

Set your launch deadline and stick to it.

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Client Relations

I’ve been with my current accountant for three years now. We get along.

I owe her money. She owes me some too for a previous error. I owe her more than she owes me, so I suggest that she subtracts what she owes me from what I owe her so that I can pay her the difference.

No reply.

Today I needed tax advice and I sent her an email. She replied that she won’t answer my question until I pay what I owe her.

What?

Perhaps accountants aren’t naturals at client relations, but I’m an artist ffs. If I can do client relations anyone can.

Here’s how it works:

Some clients deserve your hostility. Some don’t. Learn the difference. If you don’t you will end up with nothing but clients who deserve your hostility.

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By The Book

We had a logo design client recently who studied our terms of service agreement and insisted, from the get-go, that we do everything exactly as stipulated there. She came in with the assumption that we would try to sell her short and wanted to send a message: Not this lady!

She got a great logo in the end, but so do our nicer clients. As a rule we over-deliver at Biz-Logo.com. She could have gotten more than she paid for, but she was so focused on getting exactly what she paid for that she wasn’t open to discussing options.

That’s one way to respond to a dishonest world. I feel for her.

Companies are only groups of people. People like you and me. Most of us try to do the right thing and to treat others fairly. Sometimes we will bend our company rules in your favor. You might get more out of life and you might enjoy the ride more if you give companies (people) the benefit of the doubt.

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99designs Logo Store Shut Down

A week ago 99designs.com announced that their ready-made logos store is shutting down. The company cited poor sales as the reason.

In my opinion, the poor sales could have been an easy fix. In ready-made logo sales, buyer confidence is paramount. The buyer must have the assurance that the logo is an original, once-off design. By contrast, the 99designs logo store was primarily about reselling the same logo to as many companies as possible. No doubt a percentage of buyers did not realize that they were buying a non-exclusive logo.

Really, how many companies would be comfortable with logo sharing?

Another crucial ingredient in successful logo sales is quality – which you cannot expect when designers are paid $30 to $50 per sale. Compared to LogoGround where designers receive just over $200 per sale (on average), 99designs had little chance of attracting brilliant designers.

By scrapping the “non-exclusive” logo idea and by treating designers fairly, 99designs could have turned their store into a goldmine for themselves and for their designers.

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Marketing

What if you opened a packet of [insert product] and found it filled right to the brim? No air, just product.

What if you phoned customer service and immediately got through?

What if the promises on the web site were routinely exceeded?

I would look again at the logo. Got to remember to buy this brand from now on.

That’s marketing.

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The Silence of History

So many voices. All the cries, conversations and laughter that we can’t hear. Imagine the endless chatter if the voices from those who have gone before could crawl into our ears. Imagine if we could discover a natural sound recording mechanism and start playing back recordings of every moment of human history. Not just the great speeches, but every trivial word, every embarrassed giggle, every exclamation. How we would laugh at our small, silly and arrogant selves!

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The Future of Pre-Designed Logos

When I started LogoGround as an open logo selling platform, I estimated that we would be approving around half of the logos submitted by designers. In the four years since then, we have approved less than 10% of logos submitted by designers. The vast majority of designers have no logos approved. Not one. Of the designers who have at least one logo approved, 1% have more than 100 logos approved – which is where we estimate a designer can just barely survive on logo sales alone – depending of course on their geographic location. So it’s a ratio of roughly one success story for every one thousand people who try their hand at selling logos, or 0.1%.

Good designers are rare and valuable.

Increases in the quality of design software and in computer literacy have converged to tear the world of logo design wide open. Anyone with a computer and a hint of artistic ability can (attempt to) piece a logo together.

The impact on the industry is two-fold:

One: An increase in the number of bad designs masquerading as logos. Logo design is in the same boat as publishing. Not so long ago only gifted writers had a hope of getting anything published. Now you need only an Internet connection. Writing ability not required. Logo design used to require massive technical proficiency coupled with a work-generating network. Now we find ourselves competing with school kids who run “logo design web sites”.

Two: The easier logo design becomes – or seems to become – the lower the incentive to pay for it.

An increasing number of providers competing for a shrinking market.

Or so it seems.

The truth is that the number of professional logo designers have not increased dramatically, despite the massive increase in the number of people who attempt to gain entry into logo design. The number of professional logo designers will continue to grow naturally. The percentage of professional logo designers relative to all logo designers will drop as a result of an influx of aspiring designers. Clients will have an increasingly difficult task finding professionals, with “filtering” sites like LogoGround becoming increasingly important and necessary to connect serious designers with serious logo shoppers.

Stop worrying about competing with millions of logo designers. Focus on quality. The top 0.1% of pre-designed logo sellers are making good money.

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LogoGround Update

We’ve been working hard to promote LogoGround.com. If you don’t know yet, it is a platform where anyone can upload pre-designed logos for sale and keep 100% of the profit from their sales. Clients receive exclusive, once-off logos with customization thrown in.

The main difference between LogoGround and similar platforms is our focus on quality. Each logo is individually reviewed before being accepted into the LogoGround collection.

We recently tried a restructuring of some of the content which unfortunately resulted in a sharp decrease in traffic to the site, but I’m happy to report that we are back with a vengeance: Sales growing at a rate of 200% per month, smashing previous records.

We’ve recently added a Twitter account (twitter.com/LogoGround). Follow us and sign up at LogoGround to sell your logos. We can’t guarantee that your logos will be accepted, but if they are accepted there simply is no better place on the Net to sell them!

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Changing Your Logo: A Checklist

Change is good, but a logo change can be tremendously damaging to your business.

Why do you want to change your logo?

Stupid reasons to change a logo:

1. The boss does not like the current logo.
A logo that the boss likes is a bonus, but personal taste has no place in logo design.

2. Slow sales. Perhaps a new logo will bring the spark back.
It’s unlikely that your current logo is the cause. Find and address the real cause of the problem.

3. We are trying to keep up with logo design trends.
Do your customers care about logo design trends?

4. We added a new product/service and want the logo to show that.
A logo is not an illustration of all the things you do. It is a visual, shorthand company signature.

Good reasons to change a logo:

1. The current logo no longer reflects who we are.
Our values, purpose, mission or focus has changed to the extent that we are not the same company we were when the current logo was created.

2. The current logo is not compatible with new media.
Back in the 80’s the logo looked good on our letterhead, but it just does not work on our web sites/apps.

3. The current logo is terrible.
We’ve been successful in spite of our home-made logo, not because of it.

Having established that you need a new logo, here is a short checklist for getting it done:

1. Get it done professionally. Getting your assistant’s cousin to do it is not good enough. She might know her way around Adobe Illustrator, but that is not the same as understanding what makes a good logo, what colors/fonts would be both appropriate and practical, what works in print and what doesn’t etc.

2. What do people think about your current logo? What do they like about it and what don’t they like? Can this logo revamp be pulled off without alienating people who love the brand?

3. Truly understand what the core value/idea/thing is that you want the new logo to communicate.

4. Communicate. Make a big deal out of the logo revamp in print media and social media, explain why it was necessary, make sure your loyal supporters meet the new logo as soon as possible.

5. Phase out the old logo. Old logos have a way of hanging around. Make sure every admin clerk has access to the new logo and branded material so that there is no excuse for using a business card or letterhead featuring the old logo. Transitioning in phases might be good, but there should be a deadline.

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