Kayla Curry

Kayla Curry

Graphic Designer

The Case of the Logo Generators: An investigation into automatic design tools

Technology is an amazing thing. I wouldn’t be able to do my job without it. Capabilities of today’s programs have surprised us and made life easier. It’s becoming more and more ingrained in our society.

There are many things technology can do…however creativity isn’t quite one of those things.

A computer program can’t design you a custom logo for a small fee. Sure, you could probably get a computer to create a custom logo, but the program that would be required to do it would cost more than just hiring a designer.

Lately, I’ve been seeing several ads for automatically generated logos and I decided to investigate these sites. What I found was quite interesting. What follows is a full report…

 

They are NOT creating custom icons for you

These auto-generators are pre-loaded with tons of icons and those icons are tagged with keywords that will hopefully match up with your company name in some way.

I took a few auto-generators for a test drive and I was as disappointed as I thought I’d be.

Some of them will create an abstract icon, but they are not created on the spot. All have been pre-designed and loaded into the program. Others will make YOU choose an icon from a big library. (How is that auto-generated?)

(BTW: My logos are created by hand and guaranteed original.)

 

They are NOT doing custom typography for you

Again, all the fonts are pre-loaded and the program will usually show you some fonts or other logos to get you to reveal the styles you like.

That part makes sense…however, after using one auto-generator three different times, and NEVER choosing a script font from their little style list, several script fonts still made it into the final logo choices.

This makes me think that they have pre-designed templates and are simply changing the text and the icon, not the font. For anyone who actually uses these auto-generators, that means there’s a possibility that another company will have the same icon, font, and layout in their logo. The only thing that would be different would be the company name.

(BTW: I personally choose the fonts I use, make sure we have the right to use them, and then customize the kerning, spacing, and sometimes the letters themselves to fit your needs.)

 

They are NOT as cheap as they seem

The lure of these auto-generators is obviously the low price and ease of use. However, they are out to make money like everyone else. So, how do they do it?

One of the auto-generators I checked out was subscription-based. Sure, you could pay $9.99 for one month, get your logo, then cancel…however once you do that, you can’t download the file again, so you better be sure to put it someplace safe.

(BTW: I provide free storage of all deliverables for my clients.)

They also make money by charging extra for basic things like a PNG with a transparent background. One site would charge you $40 to “upgrade” to a package that includes this.

Additionally, you really have to read the fine print with these sites. One of them stated that you “use symbols at your own risk” because they use a third-party provider and can’t guarantee that all the symbols are ok for you to use because it’s user-submitted content. (Another way they make money is by paying these sites less and charging you more.)

Upon further investigation, I found that SEVERAL of these logo generator sites use the SAME third-party provider for symbols. Not only does that mean that the same symbols are being used over and over, it means there’s no guarantee you have the right to use it because anyone can upload anything they want.

Here’s a potentially sticky situation:

First, a user on the third-party platform uploads a symbol that they copied from someone else and says it’s theirs.

Then, you find that symbol on the logo generator, like it, and use it.

Finally, the person who originally created the symbol sees it on Facebook, etc and sues you for using it.

Here’s the scary thing…there are scammers out there that do this on purpose. They have someone upload their designs to sites like this, only to wait for someone to use it before pouncing on them with a lawsuit. The uploader can’t necessarily be tracked down and the sites claim no liability, and therefore, it falls on YOU.

So, feel free to add the cost of a lawsuit to that low price you’re paying for an auto-generated logo.

(Again: My logos are created by hand and guaranteed original.)

 

Alternatives…

You can hire me for complete peace of mind.

You can hire someone else. There are tons of brilliant designers out there and we all have different styles, so I encourage you to check out portfolios and find the one that fits your needs best.

If you really need to save money, you can find premade logos or stock symbols/images that fit your needs, however, I caution you that others will have the right to use it as well and you must do a reverse image search on Google to double check that it wasn’t stolen from somewhere else.

One last word: Having a custom logo is the only way to make sure that you have the absolute right to use it. Consider the investment a wise one that will set your business apart from the rest.

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