The world of online reviews is polarizing. You love a company or you hate it — that’s why you leave a review.
And this reasoning is why it’s not particularly surprising that 32 percent of our reviews for the logo design category are one-star reviews. If you have one negative experience with a company, you want to shout it from the rooftops.
But what’s really informative — and sometimes surprising — is the reasoning behind these reviews. We want to save future consumers from the same headache, so here are our data and insights on the most common logo design complaints.
*Because we will be reviewing general complaints, all specific company and reviewer names are removed. To better understand a specific company’s feedback, read their reviews.
52% of reviewers complain of poor design quality
Most customers expected more bang for their buck; they wanted an eye-catching logo design that encompassed their brand message. It makes sense that quality is at the forefront of reviewers’ minds, and it’s the factor most likely to guarantee a one-star review if quality is poor.
But a good logo design isn’t a shot in the dark, and poor quality designs aren’t unavoidable. Designers have portfolios for a reason. Here are some tips for avoiding this pitfall:
- If you’re researching a design team, look through their portfolio and see if their designs are up to your standards. If you can’t find designs related to your industry or similar to what you want, you could try reaching out directly to the team to ask if they have any examples of finished designs related to your company or idea.
“Make sure that the contract they send you very clearly outlines the revision process,” Jared Cohen, Product Development Specialist of Falcon Marketing, warns, “and be wary of any companies that limit your number of logo revisions without switching to an hourly rate past a certain mark.”
What you see is what you get. Don’t expect the designers to pull off a logo of much higher quality compared to their previous work.
- If you’re working through a crowdsourcing platform, research finished contests and selected winners. Are the designs good? Or does it seem like the client simply settled on the least terrible option? How much did the client promise for their contest winner? What other factors might have influenced their final submissions, such as a prize guarantee, a runner-up prize, or the client’s brand recognition?
It’s a well-documented trend for crowdsourcing platforms holding design contests to yield poor quality submissions. Don’t be a victim of a site with amateur designers who provide bad concepts. But on the flip side, don’t offer insultingly low compensation, rude feedback, and few benefits for your contest winner(s) — more on this later.
- If you want to use a DIY logomaker, check with other reviewers and onsite info to see how customizable the templates will be. Can you add multiple colors? Adjust alignment? Use any font? It would be a shame to purchase a template only to realize later that it won’t allow you to transform it as expected.
38% of reviewers complain of refund issues
Most refund guarantees, even “full money-back guarantees,” include fine print. Refunds may exclude posting fees or a percentage of the upfront cost retained by the company as a commission.
Unfortunately, some companies aren’t transparent or forthcoming about this fine print, despite putting a money-back guarantee proclamation on their front page. In these instances, it’s up to you to read the fine print and reviews.
Conversely, some consumers don’t perform their due diligence in researching the refund policy. It’s likely that many clients don’t think they’ll have to use it, and so they don’t pay attention to it.
To avoid getting shortchanged in a refund, here are some pointers:
- Read your contract thoroughly. Not only will this help you better understand the refund policy, but it will also give you better information on turnaround time, the number of offered concepts, and what to do when dealing with an unresponsive designer.
- Ensure you’re working through a company with a track record of success. The goal is to require no refund for your logo design. Read reviews and look at the portfolio! Naturally, this won’t be able to save you from every mishap, but it’s a good tactic to avoid a bad refund policy.
- Know what fees are refundable. Some clients get themselves in trouble by outstepping the bounds of refundable offerings. Company FAQs often include information on what is refundable, so be sure to check this. If you’re ever unsure, clarify beforehand in writing what aspects of your purchase or package are refundable, and get a breakdown of your fees should you later need to dispute the matter.
It’s unlikely you’ll work with a company that offers full refunds. “The amount that you can be refunded for shoddy work is also dependent on numerous factors,” Jaykishan Panchal of E2M Solutions Inc. explains, “and most likely you will need to offer some compensation unless the designer has refused to complete a project. . . . Unfortunately, just because you do not like something is not a reason to receive a full refund, especially if the designer put in a lot of hours to create a logo for you. Instead, it may be better to ask them for one last edit or to take their work to another designer and see what else can be done.”
36% of reviewers complain of poor customer service
We arrive at a universal complaint across all industries: poor customer service. Communication is key to a good logo design, and it’s understandable that poor communication in this industry is particularly frustrating.
Some companies offer design services from creatives around the world, which can lead to language barriers and inconsistent response times. Other companies can’t be reached by phone, or their responses are delayed. And other companies can’t intervene when a designer on their freelance platform has failed to uphold a contract.
Avoiding this one can be tricky. Sometimes it can depend on which medium you use to approach the company; other times it can depend on how well you explain the issue. Then again, there’s also the problem of a company’s fine print — some companies aren’t transparent about how they can help their clients if a conflict arises.
While your results may vary by company, here are some tips to prevent a customer service mishap:
- Know what the company can fix. Some companies that host freelancers have disclaimers that they can’t intervene in all situations. If you’re worried that a company won’t be able to bail you out of a worst-case scenario, look for another service to help you.
“If customer service is an essential factor in the logo design process or you have concerns about this issue, then it may be better to work with a design company instead of an individual,” Panchal suggests. “These businesses will have a designated department to handle any issues and answer questions you may have, which could result in a better experience.”
- Read reviews. At times, customer experience can be subjective. Read positive and negative reviews to see if the specific company you’re researching would give you a customized, positive logo design experience.
- Find available contact information and reach out to the company before you work with them. “Always before paying make sure to contact them to see how well and fast they respond and how good their customer service is,” Tzvi Fried, founder of Logomotive, says. “This is crucial as there will be a lot of back and forth for revisions.”
Test out their response time through your chosen medium of communication. If you don’t like their phone trees or their automated responses, see what other companies can do for you.
1 in 4 reviewers of crowdsourcing platforms think they’re unfair for designers
Clients aren’t always the ones being ripped off — sometimes it’s the designers.
Keep in mind that our Best Company reviews include reviews from both designers and clients. If we collected data separately from the two groups, the negative response toward crowdsourcing platforms from designers may be even stronger and more statistically significant.
So what’s remarkable about this is that even among a mingling of client and designer reviews, there’s a significant negative response to this method of logo generation.
And think about it: if you became an expert in your field and were asked to apply your skills with no guarantee of compensation, pitted against hundreds of other experts for hours of your time, with the contest judge being a client who might not understand or respect your work, it makes sense that you could be unhappy.
Designers beware: design contests might not be worth your effort. You’re likely able to tell whether a client will be difficult or dismissive based on their brief, so read it carefully. And make sure you’re working through a site that you think respects your time and experience.
But an admonishment for clients: you could try harder to make your contests worth the effort. Here are some tips for getting better results from a design contest (it might not always be the fault of the company that you received low quality submissions):
- Provide high compensation. Know what’s a reasonable price for a logo. Choose higher-tier packages that allow you to give the winner a bigger payout.
- Choose runners-up. Some companies allow you to choose second- and third-prize winners that will also be compensated for their time and design.
- Make a clear design brief. Companies will allow you to give clear instructions for your contest. Use this time to discuss your brand, its values, its services, and any style restrictions. You might even be able to include a mock-up to get designers started.
- Provide helpful feedback. On sites where feedback on concepts is possible, be positive and clear. Instead of saying, “Change the font,” it might be more helpful to say, “Change the serif font to a bubblier script font.” Specificity will be your friend. And to be specific and helpful, you’ll need to know something about design yourself. You can read some of our advice on the logo design blog.
- Choose the Contest Guarantee option. Some companies will let you “guarantee” your contest, which means you will award a winner and will not ask for a refund or declare no designer eligible for pay. This assures designers that their time is much less likely to be wasted, motivating higher-profile creatives to submit their work.
Thinking you’re going to get a special deal on a logo design is not recommended. As the saying always goes, “You get what you pay for.”
Other concerns: delayed responses, recurring fees, and lengthy turnaround time
Beyond these primary concerns, reviewers also complained about some miscellaneous issues that occur in the logo design industry.
Some logo design companies have subscription services or hidden, recurring fees that frustrate their customers. Make sure you receive an invoice you can archive, so you can dispute any charges that aren’t documented.
Because communication is so important for creating a good logo, it’s frustrating when designer response is slow. Between concepts, feedback, and revisions, the design process could take months. Be clear about what schedule you expect, and ask them to be clear about what schedule they can deliver.
Read also: 7 Ways to Protect Your Company Logo
Reviews are an important element of consumer research. They can steer customers clear of truly dishonest or unhelpful services. They can also give consumers a chance to air their complaints in a public forum where they are more likely to be addressed.
But keep in mind that not every reviewer understood their service or performed adequate research before jumping in; not every 1-star review is the fault of the company, and many companies respond to these reviews to quickly solve any issues.
Putting some data into your decisions will help you better understand your choice, and that’s what we’ve done for you. Knowing these factors, your review of any logo design company is likely to be more well-informed and balanced.