Check out our logo.

Do you see a bike? Do you see a man or a woman? Are they sporty or cycling at a leisurely pace?

We thought that getting a logo designed would be a relatively easy process. We chose Seattle-based company Inkd because:

–          we aren’t graphic designers and wanted an expert’s eye and expertise;

–          we liked the designs we saw on the Inkd website;

–          we needed a logo quickly – their FAQs said first iteration would be within 24-48 hours; and

–          to be absolutely honest we didn’t have much money and they were having a 40% off sale.

Amongst other things, our design brief said:

–          Our customers: men and women who enjoy cycling as an everyday activity and who want to look stylish on their bike. They definitely don’t want to don ‘cycle wear’ – tight, lyrca, fluorescent, sport-orientated;

–          the Cycle Chic Manifesto is relevant for describing our customers;

–          the logo should project stylish, chic, elegant, fun, functional; and

–          the typography should be bold, punchy yet classically elegant, maybe slightly vintage feel.

Easy peasy – right?

We’d set a deadline for two weeks. And waited. Then chased up about whether they’d received the brief. Then crawled out of bed at 630am to go on Skype to discuss the brief.

And waited some more. Then chased up about when we would get the first draft.

Finally we received the first draft with six very different designs. We sent them around to our trusted friends for their opinion and one friend, a designer by trade, responded with:

Logo 1: When you zoom in to actual size, the logo is a complete mess! It looks painful the way she is sitting.

Logo 2: OK, but nothing special

Logo 3: The styling is more appropriate for an older cocktail going crowd

Logo 4 – She looks like she is going backwards

Logo 5 – Yikes!

Logo 6 – No relevance, poor inappropriate typography

Oh dear.

Getting back on the email/Skype to Inkd, we let them know what worked and what didn’t and looked forward to receiving our next draft, emphasising the timelines we had been working towards – which we’d now passed.

Second draft arrived, honing into four versions of one design. Frankly we were a bit frustrated, as we didn’t feel that our feedback had been adequately incorporated into the redraft:

  • The person now looked male rather than female, instead of gender neutral;
  • colours were still not bold and punchy; and
  • the legs, the spokes and the ‘Y’ were all twisted together and mixed up, which wouldn’t look any good printed small.

Anyway, to cut a long story short – we managed to get the logo you see today after five drafts and four weeks of to-ing and fro-ing across timezones. Towards the end we have to acknowledge that Inkd were very efficient and accommodating of the need for extra changes even though we’d only bought a package allowing for three drafts. But we don’t think we’ll be using them again.

Lessons we learnt?

–          When you’re running your own business, allow more time to do everything especially if they involve relying on other people to get back to you.

–          Sometimes it’s worth paying more money to get something done properly.

–          Poor customer service will come back to haunt you – your customers will tell other people about it.

–          Listen carefully to what your customers have asked for and deliver.

Do you think we’re right?