I know a lot of graphic designers consider “logo generators” to be anathema. I can’t blame them 100%. After all, I’ve spent countless hours in my own career as a marketer working on branding (and re-branding) projects.
At a certain level, I believe you’re best served in working with a designer or larger agency team to go through a proper process—which includes a lot of discovery, brainstorming, creative briefs, brainstorming and iterations, committee reviews and the like…all of which add to a project’s costs and complexities. Simply put, big companies expect to pay big bucks for logo design…because they can, and also they (and any professionals who work with them internally and externally) know there will be many hoops to jump through and likely weeks or months of time involved with many layers of approval.
However, for lots of SMBs—the “traditional” process of logo design is tedious and inefficient. Which is exactly why various services have cropped up that strip away much of the tedium and inject a little fun back into things, namely by cutting to the chase quickly and getting a design that works. These logos and marks likely won’t win design awards…but they won’t break the bank, either.
Recently, I had the chance to put one of the more promising online logo design services, Looka (formerly known as LogoJoy), to the test. They were kind enough to let me create a premium logo package for free ($65 value). I decided to make a logo for a volunteer group of fathers who support events at our children’s school. The group is called Trillium Strong Men. Here’s how the logo turned out:
What It’s Like To Use Looka
While I had messed around with Looka before, I never went through the full process to get a complete design. This time, however, I did.
In general, I found working with Looka to be fairly easy and intuitive. You start by entering your company name (whatever name you want in your logo) and selecting up to five “inspirational” logo designs that you like, from a pre-defined selection they give you onscreen. After doing this a few times, I now know not to get too hung up on colors and so forth at this point…the idea is to give Looka a “ballpark” of ideas to start with. For example, are you gravitating toward a text-only logo, or one with a logo mark and possibly a tagline?
Next, you pick a color palette. Again, this is limited and you shouldn’t agonize too much here…just pick a palette and keep moving, since you can adjust colors later.
Next, you get to enter a slogan (tagline) if you have one and want it in your logo. For this post, I decided to have some fun with my “personal brand,” Brand On!
Then you can search for and select up to five “symbols” if you’d like. These are graphical icons that will be used to add a mark to your logo.
Then comes the part where Looka will present you with different options. Scroll through the initial set, and if you aren’t seeing anything that jumps out, click to generate more. You can keep doing this for a long time (I did!).
Once you pick a “favorite,” you can make basic modifications to your company name, font, color scheme and layout. Bear in mind, these are limited. However, as you’ll see in the pricing options below, you can get one of Looka’s in-house designers to make modifications to a design that’s close to what you want.
At any point, you can click a button to “preview” examples of what the logo will look like in different contexts—ranging from business cards to signage and t-shirts. This is of course very slick and shareable, allowing you to get input from other stakeholders of your project.
Some Quirks About Looka
Not everything about Looka is intuitive. For example, once you pick a “favorite,” it’s accessible from a hamburger menu. But I had to play around awhile to learn that a best practice is to take one of your favorites then duplicate it (there’s another menu selection for this), which will then allow you to tweak the logo—for example, by picking a different font, color scheme or icon. However, it would be super helpful to have an easier way on any given logo in progress to “create a variation of this logo” or something to that effect. I also wanted to be able to select and save multiple “favorites” at the same time.
There are very few on-page prompts for help or more information, meaning you just have to try different options and see what they do. To Looka’s credit, they do have Intercom chat built-in, and they responded quickly to a few questions I had.
I also didn’t think there was a clean way to “undo” certain things in Looka. This was frustrating a few times when I tried to see what a reverse color layout would look like (i.e., solid font against a white background)—then I couldn’t revert to a white logo against a colored background.
The login for Looka also glitched on me several times (I used a Google email address to authenticate).
At the time I’m writing this (December 2017), Looka offers three packages ranging from $20 one-time (low-resolution logo) to $65 one-time (premium) and $165 (enterprise). You can see the main differences between the two higher-priced versions in the image below. Basically, for $165 you’re getting one of their designers to spend an hour making custom changes to your design. I think this is a bargain compared to the hourly price of many reputable designers—not counting sources like Fiverr.
As I mentioned, for my Trillium Strong Men logo, I received the premium package. I was impressed with the quality and variety of the files, which included vector EPS, PNG and SVG files, black & white versions and even an instantly created Brand Guidelines document.
Looka strikes me as a nice option for fast projects when budget and access to talent are issues. To me, it falls between a low-cost provider like Fiverr (which I’ve found is typically not just $5 for a logo, once you factor in “upsells” from the designers) and some of the crowdsourced solutions like 99 Designs and Crowdspring. I’ve used both of the latter services, and they are much pricier. And in my experience, at least 70-80% of the submitted designs I’ve reviewed on those platforms are sub-par designs.
If money is no object, then by all means find and hire a graphic designer whose work you like. This is especially important if you want fresh, creative, original ideas—not computer-generated layouts with stock icons/clip art. But if you’re in a hurry, don’t have design skills or access to a designer, then check out Looka. You can always create mockups for free just to see how it works. You might be as surprised as I was that the end result is very nice for the price!
By the way, if you visit the link to the Trillium Strong Men logo, you can get $20 off your purchase of a logo package (note: I will also get $20 if you do, so thank you!). You can also use or share this Looka discount code to get 15% off any order.
Join our newsletter
Subscribe to get our latest content by email—and
a free copy of our Ultimate Business Checklist.
Also published on Medium.