Entries in design (2)


Poor design = Sign fail

Here is a sampling from around the web of the lighter side of signs and logo design . . . unless you are unfortunate enough to own one of the businesses represented here.  Remember, your companies logos, vehicles, signage and more all represent the quality of your work and pride (or lack of pride) that you have in your business.

Above all when you have a logo designed be careful that it says what you want it to, and ONLY what you want it to.


Even in 1917 this had to be in bad taste.




Kind of ironic isn't it.


i guess the designer was using the shape of the state to represent a tree being tapped for fresh maple syrup. Looks to me like something else – and I DON"T wan't any on my pancakes thank you.


A couple of years ago MicroSoft came out with what they described as an iPod killer.  Called the Zune it was going to revolutionize that market. This logo in reverse shoes that even large companies can sometimes make unfortunate choices when it comes to logo design. 


No thanks.



Who did this design, a blind person? 


Your logo visually represents what your company stands for. You companies logo should give potential customers a good first impression of your business.  However for some reason many new startups often skimp on this crucial aspect of their brand and identity.

A good logo can help you build brand identity, build loyalty between you and your customers and can give your business the professional look of an established brand.  A poorly designed logo can hurt your business, it can make your business seem unprofessional, and can give the impression that you are not concerned with quality.

The logos and sign above clearly show companies that did not give too much thought about their image.  While these admittedly are extreme examples, all you have to do is drive down Raeford Rd. to see example after example of companies that don't understand the value of branding.

If you just put some thought and creativity into your logo design you can come up with something that will visually express the positive aspects of your business at a glance.  Even if you are doing your own design take a look at these 26 questionsthat every business should have an answer to before they start designing their own logo.


Note: Unfortunately due to the nature of images being copied/pasted/re-shared, it’s difficult to provide proper attribution to most images (most are found on image sharing sites with no attribution).  Therefore – if I used one of your images, please give me a shout and I’ll update with attribution.


A Rant About Spec Work

If you are one of the 99% of clients that does NOT ask us to do spec work, thank you. This post is not for you.  If you are part of the 1% please read on, as we are making some changes that you may be interested in.

From time to time I will have clients that want a design done for their business on spec.  “Spec” is short for a design that is done on speculation. In other words if I do work  on spec there is no guarantee that I will be paid for the work.

  The clients proposal to us usually goes something like this: 

I need a new custom logo for my business, I would like you to do some designs for me to look at, and if I like one I will pay you for it.

or this

Can you send me a few designs for a wrap on my car? If I like one I   will have you do the wrap

Image Graphics does not do artwork on spec. Here is an analogy to help explain why:

Suppose you own a restaurant and I stop in for dinner. Rather than looking at the menu and making a choice I ask your chef to prepare me several different dishes. I will try a little of each one and pay for only the food I like.

That does not seem like a good way to run a restaurant does it? It is not a good way to run a design business either. Unfortunately, I have fallen more than once to the temptation to do spec work on the past. The results?

  • Clients that have taken the proofs, and used them without paying for the design. 
  • Hours spent on research and design that turned out to be fruitless.
  • Paying clients are forced to pay additional overhead time to cover those who do not pay spec work.
  • Many times we have received artwork that other designers did on spec, along with an offer to bid against them using their work.

During an interview Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple Computer) paraphrased Paul Rand (Logo Designer) when discussing this very subject. Steve said that Paul told him: 

"I will solve your problem for you. And you will pay me. And you don’t have to use the solution. If you want options, go talk to other people. But I’ll solve the problem for you the best way I know how. And you can use it or not – that’s up to you. You are the client. But you pay me."

Just like any other professional I expect to be paid. If I put my experience, talent, and design skills to work for you, I deserve to be paid for that service. Sometimes the feeling is that a designer just “makes it look nice” or that because the job is done on the computer that it is some kind of video game, or something that is done for fun.

I have spent over half my life sitting at a computer doing one form of design work or another. and while I love doing art, the operative part of the phrase artwork is work. There is a lot more to it than just art. There is research of the clients business, competitors, what makes them unique and a personalized design based on this along with the other parts of the design process.  

If you have made it this far, thanks for reading my diatribe. I am aware that this does not affect 99% of Image Graphics clients. I also recognize the most of the spec work that I have done in the past was not shopped around to other sign shops. It's just that when I see my work going down the road with someone else's name on it, I get a little cranky.

To find our more about why we don’t do spec work click HERE.