Those of you on the email list (free!) know I ran a logo design contest through a website called 99 Designs for my farm. While I really like the logo and am excited to finally announce it (below), I’m a little luke-warm on the service. If you’re on my email list, feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll try to do my best to explain whether or not it’s right for you and I’ll even give you a link that will get you a free promo if you want to try it yourself. This article is less farming, and more branding, so keep reading to find out:
- Why I didn’t love the site I used
- How I picked
- Motivation behind my design choices
Why I didn’t love the site
What it boils down to is that only about 50% of the designers on the site are good (enough for me) at what they do, so you have to sift through a lot of mediocre logo ideas. The way 99 Designs works is that you pay them $300 (or different amounts for different projects) and they run a contest with designers who are using the site. Those designers have the option to submit a few ideas to your contest and the winner gets some high percentage of that $300.
Much of what the $300 price tag gets you is a high volume of interest and entries, but if 50% of them are trash (or unoriginal – I had to discount a few designs I really liked because they were too similar to other farms out there), it’s really only a $150 value.
I think that money would be better spent on one designer you knew locally who was talented and would be willing to work with you through many iterations and ideas.
How I picked my logo
This is an easy one to answer- decide what you want the goal/motivation of your logo to be (the next section) and then talk to as many people and get as much feedback as possible. Logos are polarizing things. Here’s an example from a poll I ran:
0 stars to 5 stars, a “WTF” and a “Yes!” All of these ratings/comments are from the same logo.
Getting feedback can be pretty funny too:
And finally, getting feedback turns you onto things that you might miss yourself. This comment was the coup de grace for my personal front runner, and the commenter was so right – I’m very thankful I got this comment:
The logo itself
First, “Rosemont” is a placeholder name for now. It will be incorporated into the final name (it’s the street this whole project got started on) but I have an entire data-driven naming strategy that I’m going to implement (basically testing viability with google ad words) over the next few days to ensure I pick the best one. I’ll have more on that soon.
My criteria for a logo changed a lot throughout the contest. One thing I did end up really liking about 99 Designs is that they create a really intensive, time-sensitive environment. This forced me to take the time to research what makes a good logo and ensure I was going to be making the best decision since I didn’t have time to sit and contemplate. My original idea was for a crazy looking plant/”R” (for Rosemont) combo.
But it ended up looking either too busy (bad), too obscure (bad), or just ugly (bad). Based on what I learned, you want something descriptive, unique, and simple.
Descriptive: Remember, I’m growing rare plants hydroponically in vertically stacked layers under LED lights. There is a plant, it’s in a plug (like the compostable ones I use in my hydro system), and the colors represent that unique rareness I’m going for as well as the purple LED lights I’m using.
Unique: Most of the hydroponics/aquaponics farm logos I’ve seen were plants inside of raindrops or circles, perhaps incorporating arrows to show how circular their systems were. Farms branding themselves more as vertical farms used more high tech abstract logos. So, while I wouldn’t be surprised to find that my logo isn’t the most original thing in the world (honestly, most common design motifs are already used up and I know it’s unique for my local markets), I know that it’s not overdone.
Simple: Could you tell that was a plant? Good enough for me. My branding actually isn’t going to focus on the hydroponic or vertical farming aspect of my farm. Instead I’ll be focusing on the quality of our produce and herbs and I think that it’s easy to tell that we’re working with plants from this logo.