Making a good impression is not just critical for interviews, but for new brands too. Customers form an impression of your company in as little as .05 to 10 seconds, depending on whether the viewing context is online or in-person. When you're trying to build a million-dollar business, can you really afford to leave dressing your brand and logo for success to the bidding wars on graphic design websites like Fiverr or 99Designs?

Spending only $5 on a logo might seem like the bootstrap budget way to go, but according to Ross Halleck, brand strategist for companies like Agilent and Sun Microsystems, these design services can be useful, but more often than not, you're likely to get a logo that's "ill-informed, purely aesthetic, and not driven by brand or market strategy." A consumer might spend up to 10 seconds perusing an entire product category before deciding on what to investigate further. Think of how fast you cruise through Amazon options before you pause on something that catches your eye. Over 90 percent of a first impression is based on visual information to the brain, which processes visuals as much as 60,000 times faster than text. In a world of Google searches, Snapchat, and Lightning Deals, your logo has to have the power to convey your strategy, influence instant judgment, shine out in the crowd, and make a lasting emotional connection.

High Value in a Crowded Market

For Halleck, developing the logo for his own luxury wine brand Halleck Vineyard required the strategic approach. "Our challenge in the highly competitive wine market is to build a brand that is differentiated by outstanding quality in every aspect, from earth to glass. You can't do that with generic design. Your brand is the DNA of your company with long lasting effects."

The final Halleck Vineyard logo is imbued with meaning from the "H" broken up into two roman numerals identifying the "one to one" relationship they build through their wine club community circle to the anchor of the grape at the center of it all.

Million-dollar brand designers consider more than just how their logo looks on the top of a webpage or on a business card. They evaluate how it looks on a mobile device, how it is viewed from a distance as a "bug" on a product or package, and even seen blown up on a trade show banner. The small amount of time that goes into creating a $5 dollar logo does not match all the visual heavy lifting your brand has to do in a crowded market.

Getting More Value From Any Design Service

There's another place you don't want to skimp when it comes to your logo: doing your own homework. Before you work with any designer or firm, your job is to create a design brief. This is a document that outlines your critical brand strategy, including details on your audience, competition, key differentiators, and core values. Use this to communicate with all designers and make sure that they clearly understand the significance of your brand strategy and how it must be conveyed throughout the design of all marketing materials.