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Micro-ISVs and Corporate Identity

UserScapeToday I was notified by writer, blogger and Micro-ISV owner Bob Walsh, that the interview I'd done on the phone had been posted at his weblog. The entire interview is available under Micro-ISV Tip #6: Visual Integrity.

Here's a snippet to give you an idea:

Q. Why should a micro-ISV get a professional in to do their logo?

A. There are certainly ways of doing it yourself, or buying an off-the-shelf stock logo for fifty bucks, with exclusive rights in the 200 dollar range. Problem is, if you have a very specific company and you're looking to portray what your company stands for, you're already adapting to an existing logo that may not fit what you do. You're already starting off with a compromise.

It’s subtle, but because it’s important to get the idea of your company or product across quickly and fully. Any confusion or lack of clarity can delay the first good impression. Design is becoming more and more a critical for businesses, particularly on the Internet where you see the identity long before connecting with a person.

In a nutshell, you should hire a design professional because is it’s not your specialty. If you're a micro-ISV, you're always trying to be very effective with your limited time and energy. By doing it yourself you may actually spend more time and energy than you want and yet may not be happy with the end results.

Here are comments about my sketch-first approach to logo design:

One of the key differences is, I’m a bit old school, so I start with multiple pen or pencil sketch concepts and involve the client early in the decision-making process.

One of the advantages of the sketch approach are amount of ideas I can generate quickly on paper. Further, by involving the client in the process, they can see the progression going forward, and have input in the direction. I think this is much better approach than the client waiting in the dark for several weeks, then presented with a single color logo and being told, "Ok, there’s your logo".

Q. It sounds like that collaborative process between yourself who is a professional at this and the client is the meat of what you’re selling.

A. Yes, I think it is. The more I’ve thought about why people come to me — and obviously some people are going to choose other ways for various reasons such as budget — those who have chosen me like the fact that I sketch and that they are deeply involved in the process. They like that they have a say in where things are going.

Bob contacted me a few weeks back, seeking an interview for a new resource book he's writing, aimed at helping Micro ISV owners get started on the right foot. Since I've helped several Micro-ISV owners with logos and graphics, it seemed a great opportunity to lend my thoughts to his book project and "give back" to the Micro-ISV community.

Now you may be asking "What the heck is a Micro-ISV?" and that would be a fair question. ISV stands for "Independent Software Vendor, and the "Micro" prefix simply means a very small shop (1-3 staff) creating the software. To get an idea what a Micro-ISV owner goes through, I recommend Ian Landsman's blog post Starting a Micro ISV, In The Beginning … there was nothing to get the gist.

Ian was my first Micro-ISV client, who's popular Creating a Business Logo post has sent quite a bit of logo work from small business people my way this past year. In fact, Bob's interest in my work came via Ian Landsman's business logo weblog post!

It was a great experience interviewing with Bob and hopefully providing some good advice to Micro-ISV owners trying to start well. Hopefully my comments will make it past the book editor and into the final book. Once I have a link to Bob's book, I'll be sure to list it here for reference.

Finally, if you happen to be a Micro-ISV owner, independent consultant, or business owner looking for some help with logos and graphics, I'd love to help. Feel free to drop me a line!

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