Why is it important to design your logo after your business is set up, rather than before? Does logo complexity encourage or disrupt a client’s potential interest in your company? Is there a way to create a logo cheaply and quickly that is curated for your company?
In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks with Richard Lau about a logo being a name and a feeling, not an explanation.
While there may still be a lot of uncertainty about what this year will have in store, there’s one thing we know for sure – your services as a therapist have never been more essential, making it the perfect time to ensure that your private practice website attracts your best-fit clients and gets them to call you.
Whether you’re a seasoned clinician with a website in need of a refresh, or you’re fresh out of school needing your very first therapist website, Brighter Vision is the perfect solution. During the month of January, they’re running their biggest sale of the year!
From now, until the end of the month, they’re completely waiving all setup fees and only charging $39/month for your entire first year of a new website! Head on over to brightervision.com/joe to learn more.
Meet Richard Lau
In This Podcast
- Why overthinking your logo can cut down on sales
- “Memorability isn’t the swish”
- Richard’s advice to private practice owners
Why overthinking your logo can cut down on sales
The speed of getting your business idea up and going isn’t reliant on your logo but often that process gets derailed by the process of getting your logo. (Richard Lau)
New business owners can often become sidetracked by spending too much time on creating the perfect logo instead of putting time and energy into kickstarting their new enterprise. The body of your company is your company, not the logo.
Even though it may feel odd, put something small as a placeholder in your logo field until you have set up your business enough for it to build traction and then turn back to spend time on emboldening your logo.
“Memorability isn’t the swish”
You want your customers to remember your name, therefore your readability is a vital aspect to consider when designing your logo.
Having someone being able to remember your name is much more important than having, you know, three different elements in a picture or making it tricky. (Richard Lau)
You have less than a second to properly catch your potential customer’s attention with simplicity. Even though simple is hard, simple is what you should be after because it is more memorable than something colorful or complex.
- Spencer Brooks Wants You to Talk to Your Ideal Client About Your Marketing | MP 49
- Email Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Design Services With Sam
- Apply to work with us
Meet Sam Carvalho
Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.
She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!
Thanks For Listening!
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Welcome to the Marketing a Practice podcast with me, Samantha Carvalho, where you’ll discover everything you need to know about marketing and branding your business. To find out more about how I can help you brand your business visit www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram @Samantha Carvalho Design.
Hi there. Thanks so much for joining me today on the Marketing a Practice podcast. Today, we have Richard Lau as our guest. Richard has generated millions of dollars in revenue in the internet industry. His in-person conference focus on domain names began as an idea in the fall of 2013 and is now part of the GoDaddy family. Resume.com is an online resume builder for millions of job seekers and is another of Richard’s recent successful exits this time to indeed.com. His current project is logo.com, an AI-powered logo maker that has the ability to design a unique logo for your company in just a few minutes. Richard, thanks so much for joining us on the podcast today.
[RICHARD LAU]: Thanks for having me. I’m a big fan. I listen to almost all of your recent podcasts, especially the ones about branding and logo design. I’m excited to be here.
[SAMANTHA]: Thanks so much. So, can you tell us a bit about your story and how you got to where you are now?
[RICHARD]: Certainly you know, I mean, I think this is a four-hour podcast session, so everyone can put back. No, I’ll make it short. I’ve been, I just turned 50 this year. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I graduated from university. I was in the pager beeper business, selling cell phones through Costco. I was a bit of a sales person, hustler, you know, just eating what you kill kind of idea. And I got in, I literally stumbled into the internet in 1996 and started to do some consulting work for an internet dial-up service. And as part of the conversations around that I got into registering domain names and helping people register domain names. And so, I’ve spent the better part of 20 plus years in the naming space and branding space and helping people register domain names, manage domain names, buy and sell domains and that all ties in with branding, naming their business, naming their products, et cetera.
And so, yeah, I’ve done a lot of buying and selling of domains. I haven’t done the last tally, but it’s probably about $20 million in domain name sales over the years and along the lines, along the way, I’ve been able to bring domain names into my own inventory with the idea of launching a business on those names. So, resume.com was one of them, we own hockey.com, face.com, logo.com, obviously. And so, you know, we did a domain name conference along the way, which you mentioned, which we sold. That’s now part of the GoDaddy family. but resume.com is a name that we took out of our inventory, dusted it off, built a business around it and sold it with an office, employees all onshore here in Vancouver, Canada to Indeed and so that’s part of the Indeed family. We took a summer off and then came back and said, “Okay, let’s get to work on logo.”
And so, that was about two years ago. We’ve built an all onshore team again, that’s Canada, the U.S., and the UK. We actually, you know, just two months before COVID hit we went completely remote. So, when COVID did hit it, it didn’t phase our operations at all, because we had actually been moving towards that anyway. And so, that’s just a luck of the draw there, but yeah, so how we got to logo is that we’ve been building branding for other people for many, many years. And so, this is kind of a natural extension of that, but we’re wanting to solve a problem that we see in the marketplace where people spend between five days and three weeks and generally between 200 and a thousand dollars, quite often more but, 90% of the marketplace is less than a thousand dollars, and they spend this five days to three weeks when we felt that we could solve that and bring that down to about 20 minutes.
And so, that’s been our goal. It’s been an interesting, very interesting ride. We use AI, we use, we’re basically trying to take all of the creativity and conversations that you would have in three weeks with the designer and put that into algorithms and we spin up Amazon web servers in the background so it looks instantaneous to you, but there’s a tremendous amount of [unintelligible] running around in the background to be able to present the logo designs to you within minutes of you arriving on the website.
[SAMANTHA]: Yeah. Such an amazing concept. I know when I first came across it, I was, yeah, pretty blown away by it. And I think it’s a really great solution for new business owners.
[RICHARD]: Yeah. I mean, we’re targeting people that are individual solopreneurs. So, they have their own practice, real estate agents, doctors, chiropractors, construction workers, interior designers. Generally it’s not the multinational that is the bulk of the market. You know, 90% of new businesses are launched by someone who is a one to five person team. And so, that’s the market we’re going after. That’s the target customer we’re going after and that’s who we’ve spent you know, just a tremendous amount of resources analyzing the logos of those customers from competitors to see what is it that they’re trying to achieve and without them even knowing what it is they’re trying to achieve, because some people think they have these misconceptions about logos. And so they end up designing a logo that isn’t ideal because they have these misconceptions about what is the logo for, and what does the logo do?
[SAMANTHA]: Absolutely. So, I know you mentioned previously that the logo process can be a long one. And for these kind of, you know, startup companies, obviously they’re wanting to get their logo down as quickly as possible to get out there because as we know, your logo kind of forms the foundation of your branding. So, can you speak a bit into why you think that overthinking your logo could actually end up undercutting your sales?
[RICHARD]: Yeah, absolutely. You know, and there’s two parts to that question. One is that you know, the speed of getting your business idea up and going isn’t reliant on your logo, but often that process gets derailed by the process of getting your logo. So, let’s say you’re working for someone else. You’re wanting to launch your own practice and you’re like, “Okay, I’ve got this long weekend and I’m going to register a domain name, I’m going to set up a website, I’m going to get my logo.” The logo is, it doesn’t even really come into it. People are like, “Okay, I’m going to get my website set up and they decide on a name. And so, then they get to the point in their website where it says, “Insert logo here,” and then they pause, and then they go off, down this alley to the Wonderland rabbit fall. And three weeks later, you know, that long weekend is long gone and they’re still working on getting their logo.
[SAMANTHA]: Ands they have lost their initial momentum.
[RICHARD]: Exactly. So, you know, imagine if you can just, you get to that point of insert logo here, you go to logo, you get your logo within 20 minutes and you continue because you need to get to the meat. The meat is not necessarily your logo, because we can give you a logo that’s going to be professional, clean, memorable and elicit feelings of trust and establishment within 20 minutes. So, have that and move on get into the meat and potatoes of what is your practice about, what is your business about, what value proposition are you giving to your customers? You know, don’t get lost in the weeds for three weeks designing your logo.
And so, you know, but getting to your question of why overthinking your logo can undercut your sales. If you take a moment to, when you’re walking around your neighborhood and looking around at the logos that you’re seeing every day, you know, the average person typically sees between a hundred and a thousand logos per day, when they’re seeing brands on whether it’s on food or on clothes, or just out on the street, you’re going to see these logos and you’re going to have this process as a human being that’s subconscious. So when you are looking at these logos and you’re seeing a simple logo, that’s generally a wordmark, a stylized wordmark, and I think of like Samsung or Canon you know, you’re going to see these logos that are wordmarks generally.
And those are very large established companies. Now, when you pull up, you know, you go taking your dog for a walk around the block, and you see a plumbing truck sitting outside of your neighbors, chances are their plumbing logo is going to include a toilet, a wrench, a flag to denote the geography and maybe a telephone. And, you know, that is going to denote that it’s a small business locally-based and it may or may not elicit feelings of trust. It may invoke feelings of fly by night. And so, when you are overthinking your logo and you’re like, “Okay, I’m hiring this designer, I’m going to pay him $1,500 and these are all of the things I want in my logo. I want it to have hands because I’m caring. I want it to have a flag because I’m patriotic, I want it to have a couch to show that I’ve got a place of comfort to sit. I want it to show tears because I’m compassionate.”
You know, your designer is like, “Okay, well, I need, you know, my customer is the person on the other end of the phone and they’re the one cutting the check for $1,500. So, I am going to include everything.” And suddenly you see this cartoon that the graphic designer has built according to the specifications of the customer, but you’ve got this cartoon and it’s not, you know, you have to step back and say, “What is the point of my logo?” The point of my logo isn’t to include all of these different things.” You have, you know, less than a second to transfer a feeling of trustworthiness, professionalism, and memorability. And the memorability, isn’t the swish, you know, we’re not doing Nike here, right? The swish, yeah, you know, they’ve spent billions and billions of dollars to engrain that swish to say, “Oh, that’s Nike.” But you don’t have that.
99% of us don’t have those funds or those marketing abilities; the marketing funds and marketing campaigns. So, what the memorability is, is the name. You want your customer to remember your name. So, you have to have readability. Readability is much more important than having a flag and hands. You know having someone be able to remember your name is much more important than having three different elements within a picture or making it tricky so that when someone’s looking at your logo and staring at it for 30 seconds that they’re like, “Oh, I just noticed that, you know, the way your words are designed, it looks like a couch.” It’s like, wow, that’s far too complicated. You have less than a second. So, what you need to, you kind of have to go backwards here and say, “You know what, simple is hard, but simple is what you’re after.”
So, you know, going after memorability and transference of feeling. You know, you’re selling someone when you’re showing them your logo, and selling is a transference of feeling. That’s from Zig Ziglar, one of the oldies, but goodies. So, if you’re overthinking your logo and you’re hiring your designer and you’re like, “I want this, I want this, I want this, I want this,” and the designers just, he’s not there to say, “Hey, wait a second. Let’s do a double-check.” He’s there to say, you know what? I just need you to be happy that you wrote me a check for $1,500. So, I’m going to include everything you’ve asked for.
So, that’s how, where we’re different. We don’t want your money unless we’ve delivering value. We’re not just here for a short sale. We’re here for a very, very long-term. And we’ve generated millions and millions of logos. We’ve analyzed millions of logos. And even our design tool, when you come onto the website, we don’t give you full reign because we don’t want non-designers to wreck the design. So, it’s a fine balance. And it’s an incredible amount of work because as I say, simple is hard.
[SAMANTHA]: Absolutely. And, I think speaking as a designer, it is often so difficult to keep my mouth shut, especially when I often take a client’s brief and I’ll turn it into designs that incorporate what they want, but that also, I think, are an improvement on you know, kind of their initial idea, if that makes sense without sounding too condescending or anything, and then only to have them be like, “No, no. This is what I want.” And then to tear apart that beautiful design and make it into something, as you said, that often negates the entire point of a logo. And I think it’s so important to kind of start with that question. What is the point of a logo, because I know you were saying that a lot of the times people are spending so much time focused on the icon and not even on the name, but people also forget about scalability.
I mean, these days, most people are encountering your logo as a watermark on a social media post, or right in the corner of a social media post, for example, on a cellphone screen. So, you really want to make sure, and as you said, simple is better that your logo is scalable down to even the tiniest possible form in which it’s going to be viewed, and that it’s still clear, and that people are still able to know who you are just from that encounter with your logo. So, I think absolutely simple is that. And I know that I’ve spoken to this a lot before in previous episodes where I also heard it was a quote I came across on some designing platform. I’m not sure, but that, you know, logo is done or design is done when there isn’t anything left for you to remove. And I think a lot of times, you know, you kind of start up with media design that’s a bit too complex, and then you slowly start stripping away the unnecessary things until you reach a point where everything that is included there is necessary.
[RICHARD]: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I remember I think it was your podcast on Nine Ways to Improve Your Social Media design back in October. In that, you spoke about having a logo that will look good on social media and in social media you know, they’re going to jam your logo into a circle. And so, you need to make sure that your logo fits nicely into a square. And so, you know, a lot of people they’re overly complicating things, not just with icons and drawings, but with their slogan. And, you know if you come and take a look at logo.com, you know, we don’t we don’t jam our slogan in there. You just, you know, we eat our own dog food as the saying, right? It’s like, “Come and take a look at logo.com.”
The logo that we use on logo.com has been designed by our logo design engine and, you know it serves the purpose of like, it totally fits that bill of it’s done when there’s nothing left to remove. I absolutely agree with that a hundred percent. It’s hard when you have a client who is saying, “Oh, these are all the things we want to include and they’re wanting to justify using a designer by saying, “Okay, well, design things,” whereas a job of the designer in a majority of cases is to control the client and say, “You’re missing the point. This is what the goal is and this is why that shouldn’t be there.” And, but for clients it’s difficult for them to write a check, to have someone tell them not to include things, you know? So, it is a challenge. That’s definitely a challenge.
[SAMANTHA]: No, it definitely is. And it’s interesting that you bring up slogans because that is often a struggle for me as well, especially within private practice, because I think counselors, I think exactly like you say, they have a lot that they want to communicate and they, I think are under the misconception that, you know, they need a slogan or they need an icon, or they need all these additional things included in their logo in order to ensure that everything that they want to communicate is communicated. And I often struggle with a long name already. So, you know a lot of the counseling practices will have a long name and then they want to smoke and include it over and above that. So, it’s literally like trying to cram, you know, a lot of tips, a lot of content into logo design, which, I mean, as you say, does not fit the mark of keeping it simplistic or keeping it scalable.
So it’s definitely something that I think our audience will definitely gain value from just, you know, thinking through things from a different perspective. And as you say, kind of looking at those logos out there that are so successful. I mean, there are super simple like you said, with Nike, or even with Apple, I mean, they’ve obviously reached the point where they don’t even need to include the name anymore. You just see the symbol and you know it, but the point is that they are super simple, and don’t include slogan. It’s not necessary.
[RICHARD]: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think that a lot of people are coming from the book naming, you know, where there’s the title of the book, and then there’s a fairly long byline and they’re like, “Oh, well, a logo is just a shorter version of that.” And it’s not, and there is a confusion in that. And you do see people just trying to cram too much information into their logo and they’re treating their logo as if it’s a billboard rather than a transference of feeling. And so, there’s a big difference between a Yellow Pages ad, you know, going back to, I’m updating myself there between a Yellow Pages ad or a book cover, and your logo. Your logo is really your name and a feeling. It’s not an explanation.
[SAMANTHA]: That’s really good. You logo is your name and a feeling, not an explanation. So, can you tell us a bit about if people wanted to make use of logo.com kind of what’s the process that they’d have to go through? I know you mentioned earlier in the episode that it literally can take 20 minutes. So, what is expected of them if they come through to logo.com and are looking for a logo?
[RICHARD]: Yeah, so really it would make it extremely simple. You go to logo.com, you enter your business name, the slogan is optional, your keywords are optional, your industry is optional. If you just want to get started as quickly as possible, you simply enter in your business name and then jump into the editor. And when I say jump into the editor, it’s a ‘sit back and relax type of editor.’ We’re going to generate dozens and dozens of logo designs, and you simply scroll through and scroll through and you mark your favorites, and then when you see, when you kind of narrow it down to ones that you like, then you can go in and you can refine them. You can change the coloring, you can change the icons, you can change the layout. But what we’re trying to do is trying to make it as simple as possible yet still have that human creativity of, you know what you like when you see it.
And so, the scrolling is like having the conversations with the designer of saying, “Well, what is it you like? What is it you want in here?” Well, you just scroll through and you click on the favorites of what you find appealing. And the designs that we’re presenting to you all are formatted with your business name. So, you enter your business name, and then we generate these designs based on that. And then you know, when you’re picking your color, we’re not throwing you into a color picker. We’re not saying, “Hey,” you know, we have advanced tools that allow a designer to name their particular color if they have these particular pantone or —-
So, but if you are just wanting to scroll through and you go to the colors tab, you’re going to see the design that you’ve said that you like in all sorts of different color palettes that have been put together by designers. And so, you can just scroll through and you’d be like, you know, chances are, you’re going to like blue. That’s the trustworthiness, right? If you’re a plumber, red and black is the colors to go for. But you know, if we’re talking about practices you know, black and blue, it depends, you know, it can be, you know, it can have pink and red and, you know, there’s lots of different things, but I’m not going to say what your color should be. I’m going to, we’re going to present you with a variety of different color palettes for that logo design and so, you can see what it looks like in those different colors.
And so, you get to bounce around, you can be like, “Oh, you know what? I like this color, but now I’m not so sure about the design.” And you can go back into the designs and we’ll generate them, generate a whole bunch of designs in that color scheme. And so, you can go back and forth and you can add your slogan, or you can split your business name. I encourage this, especially for people that have a practice, split your business name into the business name and slogan area. And, you know, so you can describe in two words. And you can change the different types of font for business name and the slogan. And so, you know, it’s a great way. It’s a great tool for people that have a practice. And it’s very simple and easy to use.
And, you know, we don’t charge anyone until they found a design that they love and want to download. And on that note, you know, our pricing maxes out at a hundred dollars. And so, what we’re trying to do there, you know you spoke earlier about social media, you know, when we generate a logo, we don’t just give you one file. We’re generating dozens of files. And so, depending on the package that you go for, we’re trying to deliver to you time-savings that justify the price tag. So, it’s almost like the logo design is for free and then these files that are generated are just saving you time. So, it was like, how much is your time worth, though, if we figure it out, people value their time at anywhere between 20 and $50 an hour.
Well, if we do this package for a hundred dollars, that is going to save them, you know, $800 in time, then it’s a no brainer, right? So, that’s how we price our packages based on time savings. And so, it’s easy to use. It’s free to use until you find something that you like and the value proposition we try and make it ridiculous because we’re here to turn the logo design industry on its head. We did that in the resume business and so, we’re going to do the same with logos.
[SAMANTHA]: That’s awesome. So, guys, definitely check it out. That is logo.com and as always, if you are busy at the moment, if you’re walking or driving, we’ll have all this information mentioned in the show notes. So, Richard, if anyone wants to get in touch with you how can they go about doing that?
[RICHARD]: Hit me up on LinkedIn. I’m Richard Lau [Lau] on LinkedIn or just email me, email@example.com. I’m an open book and I’m here to help.
[SAMANTHA]: Awesome. And if every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[RICHARD]: I would want them to take a look at their logo with fresh eyes and ask themselves if their logo is communicating a feeling and their name. If it’s explaining something more than that, chances are your logo is not doing the service to you that you think it is.
[SAMANTHA]: That’s awesome. Thanks again so much for being on the Marketing a Practice podcast.
[RICHARD]: Thanks for having me.
[SAMANTHA]: Thanks for listening to the Marketing a Practice podcast. If you need help with branding your business, whether it be a new logo, rebrand, or you simply want to have print flyer designed head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design.
Finally, please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast on iTunes if you like what you’ve heard, talk to you soon.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.