Regarding Your Logo

It’s no secret that I appreciate a really well-made logo and so, having designed a few myself, I think I am adequately qualified to adress the topic with some authority. Before I get too far, I want to say that I’ve outsourced many of these ideas to other thinkers who are smarter than myself and that you should read their articles entirely if you want to get the full value of this message.

To all of you who think your logo really matters, I want to tell you up front: your logo doesn’t matter. According to Mark Bixby,

“Your logo is only one very small part of building a successful brand. Its design is minimal in making your promise match your customers’ experience (read: branding). Design is an invaluable tool in communicating who you are, what you do, and why it matters. But if you can’t articulate these things yourself, design cannot do it for you.”

Going further on branding, Seth Godin reiterates that your logo is not your brand, concluding

“Take the time and money and effort you’d put into an expensive logo and put them into creating a product and experience and story that people remember instead.”

Now, that isn’t to say that you should go looking for the least expensive logo you can find. Far from it! In fact, that’s exactly how NOT to design a logo. Seeking out services that encourage design competition and crowd sourcing only hurt your business and the design industry. In fact, there have been entire campaigns created around abolishing speculative work like this. Furthermore, if you think “I’ll know it when I see it”, I just want to be the second to let you know, you’re wrong.

If you’re at all serious about your business, at all interested in improving the lives of your clients/customers (as you should be, that’s the only reason to be IN business), then do yourselves both a service and do things right.

Understand what it is that you do (or want to do) and place the interests of others before your own. Only work with a credible designer who is going to work alongside you to understand why your business exists and why anyone else should care. If they’re good at what they do they’ll have a top secret process they follow in order to produce quality work and fulfill your needs.

To summarize: your logo should only speak for you when you’re not there to speak for yourself. The brand that you’re working so hard to build can only be built on fulfilled promises and expectations, not outstanding design. So, let your business speak for itself and only use your logo as a small identifier from whom the message is sent.

Would You Pay for WordPress?

Michael over at has written an interesting and compelling article questioning what if Automattic began charging for WordPress?

I feel that the short-answer is that the community of users would cease to thrive as many would look to other free alternatives., their free public blogging site, would lose countless users to services like blogger, livejournal, etc. Beyond that, however, there are lots of other unseen factors.

Others have already sounded off in the comments (myself incuded) pointing out things such as the inherent value of something you have paid for verses something you have gotten for free, a very valid point. The flip side to this, however, is that by gaining the CMS for free the overall cost of developing a website is greatly reduced. As a web designer and developer, I am able to pass these savings directly to my clients and provide them a level of service that they otherwise could never have afford.

So, there you have it. What do the rest of you think?

Curious about WordPress?

For anyone who may be on the fence with this subject, I have some powerful literature for you:
Should I Use WordPress To Create a Website?

Hmm, still not convinced? Alright, here is a slightly more thorough article:
Why Power Your Small Business with WordPress?

In all seriousness, I have been involved in web design and development since 1998 and in the past 12 months I have centered my entire web development process around WordPress. Hands-down, it is the best and most user-friendly (and FREE!) Content Management System (CMS) I have ever used. This is why every site I make is powered by WordPress.

Spend Less, Give More

This year, instead of wasting your time, money, efforts, sanity on dutifully following the same old Christmas routine, try a new approach.

Christmas is a season to remind us of giving. Read that once more. Not of giving gifts, but giving ourselves. It’s not the only time we’re expected to do this, either. Christmas serves as a reminder, a reminder of how we should be all year long.

So, consider this your wake-up call. It doesn’t take money or affluence to make a difference, it just takes you and your time. Make it happen!

A Much-Needed Weekend

I just wanted to take a moment to say I’ve been enjoying a much-needed weekend (time to relax and just be).

My wife and I went to Carson City, MI to visit my family and while we were there we enjoyed some time being disconnected from the world (i.e. there is no internet at my parent’s house, and so we were forcibly disconnected). It was good.

On the web-front: I’ve been working on my building photo gallery, so all of you waiting for photographs: Stay tuned!

New Life

Forgive me in advance for what is about to be a very scattered post. I was lying in bed only moments ago, reading Irresistable Revolution by Shane Claiborn and had to log some of my thoughts.

For the first time in my life I want to live in a way that draws attention. Not for being better at something, or for succeeding in something that is ultimately meaningless, but for standing out against the normal patterns of humanity.

I want to reach out to others in need and help them as best I can. I want to give up my excess so that others can simply have enough. I want to give it all away. Will I? Can I? That I do not know. What’s important is that for the first time, possibly ever, I am truly desiring it.

This last week God has shown me great things. Never before have I known how he would use me, or why he was calling me. All along I’ve known that he was calling me to do something different; calling me to do something greater. It wasn’t until I visited Josh at Watermelon Ministries that I got a glimpse of just how great my service can be. For me, it isn’t enough to simply focus some of my time on ministry. God hasn’t called me to “help others when I can”, God has called me (all of us, even) to serve others always.

For the last two years I have been praying for God to use me in some way, to guide my steps and show me where to go. Really, what I had been asking for is “God, help me find an excuse to keep doing commercial work so that I won’t have to experience poverty for myself.” It is time I stop playing things safe — I am ready to live recklessly for Christ.

On the surface this means that I will be working for His House and sharing my talents to bless as many other ministries as I can. Underneath this means that I will be pruning back the areas in my life that I have not yet turned over to Christ.

After this month I will no longer be taking on commercial design projects. God has called me to separate myself from the ways of the world, and I wish to honor that call. There is more to this life than money, and I hope to experience that. I no longer wish to live as myself; I have died to that way of life. I have found new life. Christ lives within me.

Please pray for me as I begin a new walk with Christ. Pray that I could continue to persue a life of financial instibility and would rejoice in it.

Thank you for taking the time out of living your life to learn a little bit about mine. May God bless you!


Made to Stick

I have recently finished reading a book centered around making ideas “sticky”. This has provided a lot of insight as to why certain ideas were successful and others weren’t. It is for far simpler reasons than you may think.

Every successful idea follows the same type of structure – Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories. Every idea that fails does so for it’s own unique reason.

Simple -You need to get to the core of your message. Reduce it to the point where it is memorable and powerful, not to the point of uselessness. Simple ideas are short and profound.

Put that down! Grab people’s attention by an unexpected means.

Concrete elements allow for the reader to conceptualize your message. Use terms they can understand.

Credibility makes your message more believable, more trustworthy. Citing facts, authorities, anti-authorities (someone you wouldn’t expect, like a former smoker talking about the dangers of smoking), etc. will help gain support.

Making the message emotional gives people a reason to act, a reason to care.

Stories make the message memorable.

Every successful idea in history has worked because it took advantage of one, or all six of these guidelines. Remember them.