How to create a personal logo without burning a hole in your pocket

How to create a personal logo without burning a hole in your pocket

So you’ve decided you want to make a blog, start a side business, create a youtube channel (I could keep going). Great! What’s one of the first things that come to mind when you think of the branding yourself? A personal logo.

My aim here is to give some practical advice on how to create a logo you like and that won’t cost an arm and a leg. When you’re creating a brand for yourself, by yourself, the funds aren’t limitless. There’s definitely value in working with an experienced design professional, however, not everyone can afford those services when you are paying out of your own pocket.

The great thing about logo design in this day and age is it doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re willing to invest the time, there are effective ways to save on cost.

I’ll be looking at some tools and services that will produce a worthwhile logo on a modest budget.

Do your research

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s so easy to get over excited and not do it.

There is a myriad of different styles of logos with complexity ranging from a simple font with well-chosen colours, all the way through to elaborate illustrative designs.

When it comes to actually bringing a logo to life, having a clear idea in your head of the styles that resonate with you and saving some reference material will save a lot of time and headaches.

A website like Pinterest is a great resource to look at a lot of logo variations at once. Plus saving them to come back to later is easy. Here’s a search you can start off with on Pinterest for personal logos.

How can I get one made?

Use a logo generator

This is probably one of the quickest and easiest ways to get a logo spun up. Websites like tailorbrands.com will actually do the heavy lifting for you, walking you through a set of questions that will generate a logo for you. Simple.

The key benefit of this approach is that if you don’t have a creative bone in your body, the platform does the work for you. You’ll be presented with a range of logo variations based on Tailor Brand’s database of design elements (and even the option of procedurally generated illustration).

The downside is, bluntly, your design options are going to be limited by the creativity of the platform. After trying a few different logo name options and industry types, I definitely saw increasingly common elements and themes in the logos that were generated.

There’s no cost of generating options, but if you want to download high-resolution files of your design you’ll need to sign up for a plan.

Here’s an example of a logo I spun up (note I didn’t pay, so it’s low res)

Do it yourself with an easy tool

Assuming that you’re not a whiz in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, the thought of actually making a logo yourself is pretty daunting. Luckily there are some great, cost-efficient tools out there that will help you bring your ideas to life.

Canva is a fantastic tool that has a massive library of logo templates that you can browse through and edit to your tastes. The user interface is simple, easy to pick up and searching through their assets is intuitive.

The system doesn’t offer the flexibility of the Adobe Suite to really take control of your design, but it does have over 50,000 logo templates for you to start from. You can check them out here.

This is a logo I created from one of their templates:

Have someone give you a hand

So if the first two options aren’t up your alley, or if you’d like some thought power from another human involved in the process, websites like fiverr.com are very useful.

The premise of the site is to connect people looking for work to be done, with freelancers willing to take up the job. As you might guess from the name, you can commission work for as low as $5 USD. Turn around time on the jobs can be advertised as low as 24 hours (personally, I’ve had some freelancers send me mocks within 2 hours on Fiverr).

Now that’s not to say getting a logo designed for 5 bucks is going to get you a good result. There’s a wide range of designers on the platform who vary in talent, the number of revisions they’ll include, and the amount of time they’ll put into the designs.

There are a few approaches you can take when engaging with this ecosystem. One option is to find a designer that portrays a style that resonates with you, and fits within your budget, to develop a number of concepts and revisions. Another option, (which can be particularly handy if you’re not sure what you want) is to take a scattergun approach and commission a number of low-cost designers to get a range of ideas.

Here’s a concept of a logo (which I’ve repurposed from another project), that was completed by a Fiverr freelancer:

Have a go at learning Adobe

I’m not going to go into too much detail on this one because it’s a bit of a rabbit hole.

If you’re interested in upskilling yourself in the Adobe Suite, primarily Illustrator and a bit of Photoshop for logo work, I would thoroughly recommend it. If you’re not finding a design that’s quite right through the above options, there are not many other tools that will give you greater control over your design.

Plus it’s a great skill-set to have in general.

This is a logo design that was created by playing around in Illustrator:

In conclusion

Getting a personal logo made doesn’t have to difficult or expensive. You’ve got access to many tools and services to have one designed.

Go get one done 🙂

Do yourself a favour, go buy a personal domain right now

Do yourself a favour, go buy a personal domain right now

Go and buy a personal domain name.

Seriously.

Once you’ve finished reading this, just go and do it.

It’s cheap, easy to do, & could be a tremendously valuable asset for you in the future. The great thing is, owning a personal domain doesn’t mean you need to build a website to start using it.

So why should I do it?

Personal domains allow you to do a lot of things:

  • Stand out from the crowd when you’re looking for a new job by showcasing yourself in a much richer way than LinkedIn can.
  • Make some money through hosting a digital home for your side hustle.
  • Start to take control of your personal brand and share your perspective with the world through your content.

I could go into more detail on each of those points right now, but I won’t. Each one of them is probably a few articles in themselves.

I’ll keep this piece simple and to the point. Go and register a personal domain name that you like before someone else takes it.

How do I do it?

Search for the availability of the name you want with registrars such as godaddy.com or crazydomains.com.

If you’re one of the lucky few with a unique name then you might be able to get yourname.com. Congratulations!

If you’re in the same boat as me and have a common name (there’s a LOT of David Walsh’s out there), then you’ll have to think more creatively. In my case, I decided to add my name to the mix and registered both davidjameswalsh.com & davejameswalsh.com.

If you struggle to find ANY .com’s that resonate, you can always try a different domain extension (click here for an extensive list of available ones).

Registering won’t cost you more than approximately $20 per year, per domain.

Alright, I’ve bought one, now what?

Great! you won’t regret it. One of the easiest things you can do for your new domain name if you don’t have a website is to have it link to your LinkedIn profile.

Domain registrars like GoDaddy actually have this as a predefined feature within their system which they will guide you through (check out their tool here). For other registrars, you’ll have to set up your new URL to redirect to your unique LinkedIn URL.

You can find your unique LinkedIn URL on your profile page edit page here:

Is that it?

Yep. Well to start off with. You now own a personal domain name and are putting it to use by pointing it to LinkedIn.

From here there’s no real limit to what you can do with it.

How to get started writing content (it’s easier than you think)

How to get started writing content (it’s easier than you think)

There’s a good chance you’ve clicked on this link thinking that I’m going to talk about content for marketing. Well, I am and I’m not. What I want to talk about is content that markets YOU.

Content that makes you stand out in the crowd. Content that doesn’t benefit the company that you work for, but benefits you as an individual. Content that helps build your Personal Brand.

Now there’s an incredibly good chance that you’re being bombarded on LinkedIn, daily, by influences saying you should do this (Gary Vaynerchuk I’m looking at you). However, many people feel an intangible barrier that stops them from actually doing it. Writing content is hard, right? A fair portion of people in corporate jobs haven’t written content since they were in high school… maybe University at best. On top of that, it’s not the same as writing those essays you did in Year 12.

It’s daunting! People are going to read what you write (hopefully).

Here are a few things you can do to help get ready to put your best work out there:

To start off with, don’t focus on what you think you want to be known for. Start with a hobby that you’re really passionate about. Unless your hobby is what you’re lucky enough to do for a living (in which case, congratulations) your passion probably isn’t going to be work-related. More likely it’s your love of movies, golf, diving or lion taming. It becomes a lot easier to create when it’s less about trying to say the right thing and more writing about what you know.

The act of writing content doesn’t have to be a hard process to start. Right now I’m literally typing this article with my voice. Google Docs, when used in a Chrome browser, has a fantastic function called “Voice typing”. If there’s one thing you take away from this piece please make it the following:

  1. On your computer, open Google Docs in Chrome, navigate to “Tools” and enable “Voice typing…”
  2. Grab a pair of headphones with a microphone built in and plug them into your computer. The ones that came with your phone will work.
  3. Look into a mirror, stand up if you can, and talk at yourself about 3 or 4 parts of your hobby that you love. Try and pretend like you’re talking to a friend.

Before you know it, you’ll have a body of text in front of you. It’ll need editing, but you’re not sitting in front of a blank screen.

The key here is that you’ve started to practice, and the more you practice, the easier it will be to articulate your ideas. This flows onto becoming more experienced in positioning those ideas in interesting ways and engaging more people.

 

What can Casey Neistat teach us about communication?

What can Casey Neistat teach us about communication?

Bike Lanes, Crazy German Water Park & Snowboarding With the NYPD. These 3 short videos, which have over 50 million views combined, are a handful of the viral hits that have been created by filmmaker & YouTuber of the Year, Casey Neistat. What can we learn about Casey’s style of communication in these videos?

The answer is not a whole lot.

Don’t get me wrong… they’re good, very good, but they aren’t necessarily the reason we should pay attention to him. Casey’s done a lot of things right, he’s made a show for HBO, Co-Founded a social media platform called BEME and worked with a plethora of companies on sponsored content. Again, let’s not focus on all of this. What we can truly learn from Casey comes from his daily vlogs.

In his daily interactions with his audience, Casey’s ability to connect with the individuals watching his videos shines through. These vlogs are the reason for his soaring popularity. His delivery method is hard to describe, it’s organic, human. Have a look at one of vlogs to see what I mean.

So what can we learn from Casey?

Embrace imperfection

Perfection is idolised by most, pursued by many and almost impossible to actually relate to. From his widely functional (and almost entirely hand built) studio, his appearance and his sheer volume of daily videos, Casey embodies imperfection in the best way possible. In his own words “perfection erases humanity”. You’re never going to get communications in any medium 100% correct, strive for good, heck strive for excellent, but not perfect. Accept the imperfections, move on and get more done.

Story is king

Not all communication is a typical “story”, however, if you’re trying to persuade someone, you’ll be much more engaging if you take them on a journey. You may have pristine cinematography, sleek graphics or concrete key messages, but if you’re not telling some sort of story there’s a very good chance it’ll go to waste.

Lose the pretence

A lot of people do this very well, others not so much. Remember that when you’re communicating with an audience, whether that be through a marketing campaign, sales call or even a simple email, you’re dealing with real people. Real people who can smell BS just as easily as you can. Stay authentic and communicate with your audience in the same way you’d expect someone to communicate to you.

Contact

 

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