Lowbrow Frugal Web Design Tips: How to Create a $10 Logo You Can Be Proud of

When launching new tools or information products it helps to create a professional logo that people can spread around. But sometimes you are short on time or just want to get the idea out the door. Even if you don't have a lot of time or money you can still get a logo that looks good.

When launching the Blogger's Guide to SEO and the Website Health Check Tools my designers were busy, so I went to Istockphoto to buy a few illustrations, resized them, and then added text to them. 10 minutes work with Photoshop (download a free trial version here) and I had decent looking logos. Even the little widget pictures on my homepage were part of a $10 image set.

There is a lot of text on the web, but most of it is not branded with imagry that helps people remember it. When many people are pitching / selling / spreading the same stories and ideas, it helps to create something that is easy to remember. Naming is a large part of that, but creating a logo that reinforces helps too.

Published: November 28, 2007 by Aaron Wall in publishing & media


November 28, 2007 - 10:22pm

If you don't have ANY money then this may be a solution, but don't underestimate the importance or value of a professional logo/designer. A logo will become the face of your site/business for many years.

Also be aware that the IStock terms and conditions say that their resources are not to be used in trademarks.

November 29, 2007 - 1:28am

Thanks for this plus all of the awesome posts. I have a question maybe you can share your thoughts through email or a posts. What do you think about rss feed directories and submissions to them for a clients blog. I know alot of them pick it up automatically (or all of them?) but should I spend time submitting the feed to a few of the main directories?

Thanks for any help. I have sent several people here recommending your book and tools and your site has helped me tremendously.

November 29, 2007 - 3:53am

Hi Sam
I agree that it would not be good to do this for your trademark type stuff, but if you are a boostrapper just starting out and/or just need something quick for a secondary project I think it is a good call.

Hi ifindtrends
If you think those directories drive direct traffic and/or link equity it might be worth the effort.

November 29, 2007 - 7:09am

Thank you for answering. I really appreciate it and this site.

November 29, 2007 - 4:15am

Great article Aaron.. I've experience similar actions from previous PPC ventures and have done quite well due to sustaining the expense of a professional designer, especially when the niche is untested.

November 29, 2007 - 4:24am

Love the post! Funny enough, my brother in law needed a quick logo put together for his accounting company he just bought and I did just what you mentioned above.

Went to istockphoto, picked out a set of icons and gave him some options. It is a great quick solution and VERY affordable!

November 29, 2007 - 9:10am

Hi Aaron,

I'm going to respectfully disagree with you here
While I think it's a great idea if you are short on time and need a temporary logo or icon - I would hate to spend time or money developing a tool and then not put the proper effort into branding and marketing it.

I think that it's really important that these bait items reflect your personal brand so that people will identify your tools or whatever it is you're marketing, with your company or website. There are many similar offerings on the web and sometimes it's those small details that get people to remember yours and have it stick in their heads. Just my take on it. I know that you of all people do not need a lesson on branding ;)

November 29, 2007 - 12:31pm

Hi Mike
It all comes down to time, resources, etc. For every person near the top of a social network there are dozens or hundreds lower down the food chain. A few years ago I was totally at the bottom.

This post aims to be more of a helpful tip for people with somewhat limited resources more than those who are at the top of their industries.

November 29, 2007 - 1:27pm

Great post by the way, I'm sorry to go a bit off topic... but this is a subjectthat doens't seem to be covered too well by Seos, and if anyone should cover it, it should be you ;)

For info sites, resources and general content sites, SEO is very much alive and kicking in terms of linking etc...

But if you're a commerical SEO, trying to boost rankings for a site that sells a product or service, things get a lot more complicated... especially when you have an affiliate program.

Despite the fact its hard to get links to a commercial site anyway, why would any site link to you, if they knew they could earn money from linking to your affiliate program?

It becomes as if SEO is against the affiliate strategy then, because obviously the affiiate manager wants more affiliates, but the SEO wants real links, not affiliate links...

Which leads me to the growing number of seo friendly affiliate programs out there. Does google see an seo friendly affiliate link as a PAID link?

I've been trying to think of ways around this, such as run an inhouse SEO friendly affiliate program as well as a normal one (CJ, SAS) but keep the in house one invitations only...

The inhouse one would have bigger commissions, and we would only invite certain high ranking sites, that we would normally want to get a link off. If an affiliate joins through our normal one, but happens to have a well ranking site, we would then propose to them to join the seo friendly one and get higher commissions...

Would love to hear your views on it Aaron, as there's not much stuff out there for commercial SEO...



November 30, 2007 - 12:18am

Hi Joe
I honestly think intent and editorial control is judged based on a wide array of factors. One solution to making affiliate links count might be to use an SEO friendly affiliate program, but another equally important step would be creating a unique high value user experience site that people were linking directly at. I have an affiliate program and many (perhaps most) of the links to this site are direct (not affiliate) links.

November 29, 2007 - 4:57pm

If you want to go even lower-brow, scratch the trial version of Photoshop and get the GIMP editor. Practically the same thing, but open source.

November 29, 2007 - 5:43pm

Hmmmm... Many graphic designers could not be comfortable with this advice :-). But you are right, sometimes it is very easy to make a good logo by ourselves. Just see the Nike logo... you don't need a graphic designer for that, you do?. But maybe you need a lot time to think about the concept.

December 4, 2007 - 11:31pm

Hi Aaron,

The IDEA of creating a logo for yourself for a low cost is a fine, but the WAY you've suggested doing it would put you on the wrong side of iStock's terms and conditions.

4. Standard License Prohibitions
(a) Prohibited Uses. You may not do anything with the Content that is not expressly permitted in the preceding section or permitted by an Extended License. For greater certainty, the following are “Prohibited Uses” and you may not:

- use any of the Content as part of a trade-mark, design-mark, trade-name, business name, service mark, or logo;

Most stock libraries will have similar rules.

I hope you didn't end up using the logos!

December 7, 2007 - 11:28pm

I ran a YAHOO query using your link harvester and it worked fine. However, after running an MSN query on the same domain and I received the following message:

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/linkhou/public_html/link-harvester/class_gamy.php on line 62

What does this mean?

December 8, 2007 - 12:33am

I will try to get that tool fixed soon.

December 9, 2007 - 9:30pm

Hi Aaron,

I thought this question might fit best, here:

I'm looking for an affordable way to get my dynamic coding done. I know there are safety issues with some dynamic coding, so cheap might not be a good option, but if we're talking about creating small tools (similar to SEO tools just in another industry) I was hoping cheap (college student, web developers from countries with a low cost of living(?)) might be good enough as it should be basic fairly programming.

Anyway, I was thinking I should outsource this, b/c learning it myself would probably lost opportunity cost (as Im not looking to become a programmer).

Just asking, in case you know of any sites/job boards for this purpose...and if you think cheap should do in this case.


December 9, 2007 - 10:06pm

Hi Patrick
Cheap can get expensive if you do 100 hours worth of quality assurance on poorly done software or wait months to see any results. Cheap can also end up cheap if you find the right person. I would recommend asking friends if they know any programmers and go from there.

December 9, 2007 - 10:41pm

thanks for the reply, I guess that's what I'll do.

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