Invest in Your Logo & Branding: Learn From My Mistakes

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Up till now, the biggest regret I have as far as my business is that I did not invest in branding, a logo, and marketing material when I was starting MCP Actions.

MCP Actions was born as a spin off of my product photography and photo editing business Multiple Choices Photography, LLC.  MCP Actions eventually replaced what Multiple Choices Photography did completely.  The name MCP Actions just sort of happened.  I started making and selling actions in 2006 on a very small scale.  My name was long so people would abbreviate it – hence the MCP.  I originally chose the name Multiple Choices as I have twins (multiples) and since I offered a few different services.

The name MCP Actions (or MCP as many use to identify me) now is known.  It is “out there” from the marketing, the blog, and the customers who have come to love my products.  At this point it is too late, at least in my opinion to switch.  It has evolved into a brand.  This is not bad per say, but hindsight, I would have prepared better.

Now for the logo…  What does that mcp (with the c as a copyright sign mean)?  Why that logo?  Do you want the truth?

I was cheap!  There I said it.  I thought, “I use Photoshop” so I will make one myself.  BIG MISTAKE.  I had NO idea what I was doing.  I used black and white, usually with a deep red behind it.  Why? No reason.  That is the problem.  There was no reason for why it was done.  There always should be a reason for why your logo is what it is and says what it says.  But now my logo is known.  And it is TOO LATE.  Had I set aside up to a few thousand dollars (yes you read that right) and invested up front with a graphic design firm, I would be much happier with my logo today.  But once your logo becomes part of your brand, it is hard to just switch.  Some companies do it – some are successful at it.  Some are not.

I am debating now, while working on a new web site, do I change it now?  And if so, by how much.  I have been struggling with this for over a year.  If I had a new logo, every video, every banner, everything would need to be changed or it would not be consistent.

Tough call.  Then again if just subtle changes were made maybe I could start fresh from here on.  But is subtle enough?  This was a logo I made.  I had no business making it.  I am not a graphics designer.

Why did I write this post?  To URGE YOU to learn from my mistake.  Even if you need to take out a loan, make sure you do not just whip up a logo one night or hire the cheapest company or cookie cutter logo you can find. Don’t name your company on a whim. INVEST IN YOUR BRAND.  It follows you and grows with you.  And once people know it, you cannot just switch or take it back, not easily anyway.

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 Invest in Your Logo & Branding: Learn From My Mistakes

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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25 Comments and 0 Replies



  1. 1

    [...] 1 votes vote Invest in Your Logo & Branding: Learn From My Mistakes Up till now, the biggest regret I have as far as my business is that I did not invest in [...]

  2. 2
    Patti says:

    This is so true Jodi! So true! I named my photography business after my name and I regret it now. I also designed my own logo but I know now that I should have gone with something else (I even know the designer I want to do it). I think changing a name of a business is much harder than changing the logo though. So you can’t change your name, ok, go with it. But I think that changing your logo would be ok. In your case I think that if you changed it you should just go from this point forward. Previous products and such will be past items, and new items will be new items with the new logo. I don’t think you should have to change ALL of your previous items. If you want, just focus on changing the most important or highest sellers. Just my thoughts on it. Good luck. :)

  3. 3

    Great article! I actually just listened to an audio presentation by Sarah Petty on this subject the other day. As a first-year self-teacher, I know there are lots of mistakes to be made in this business! I currently have no logo, really, just a watermark. I need to invest in logo & brand look & feel, but I’m not sure what that look & feel needs to be. And, as you said, it’s going to be for the long haul because you can’t just easily switch your logo/bus. name, so I want to make sure it will be a good fit–forever! It’s kinda like a teenager that graduates high school and must head off to college knowing exactly want career they want to pursue–the rest of their life! I’ll be researching designers soon as I’d love to “launch” my brand, along with new pricing, going into 2010. Thanks for trying to help newbies by using your own mistakes as examples. Congratulations on your success!

  4. 4

    Good advice! It seems like I’ve been laying the ground work for my studio brand forever now. It’s taken a lot of patience and investment but I think it will be worth it 5 years from now.

    I’m very confident that your brand and reputation is solid enough to stand up to an extreme makeover if that’s the route you choose. Think of it as redoing the girl’s rooms now that they have grow up a little. The furnishings and paint on the walls reflect their developing character, they don’t actually define it, no matter what the graphics community claims. Styles change but the heart of your investment in the important things will always shine through. Just continue to be an artist first and a business person second and your brand will do just fine.

    So, here’s the question of the day… what would an artist do with the MCP brand at this point in its development? I’m not talking about “the artist formerly known as Prince” type of artist but, you know, the more stable kind of artist that hangs out around here. The vibrant, fun loving mom of adorable twins kind of artist. HAVE FUN! :-)

  5. 5
    Janie Pearson says:

    Jodi, how nice of you to be honest and help others learn from what you feel are your mistakes. Very good of you!

  6. 6
    Clair says:

    I agree with Patti in that I think you could swing changing your logo without causing confusion. Products get updated looks all the time- “new look, same great product.” We still buy it if we liked it in the first place, and we get used to the new look. I wouldn’t do an extreme makeover but I think an update would be fun. As classic, timeless, and true to yourself as anyone may try to be, it’s really going to be difficult, if not impossible, to get something that you aren’t eventually (5,10,20 years down the road) going to look at and think is no longer “perfect” (even if you spent thousands on it.) I know that is why you want to get it as close to perfect as possible from the beginning and I certainly agree with you that it should be done with lots of consideration. But I think it’s okay to update and evolve a little bit. And for those short on cash, I’ve seen some fabulous logos created on a small budget. Good luck w/ whatever you decide, Jodi!

  7. 7
    Lizette says:

    I just wrote about this on another forum! I have been debating changing my name to something I wanted from day 1, but went with my current name instead. I have just never felt satisfied and constantly think about changing it. I have only been in the biz for 2 years and truthfully don’t think I am that well known – yet. I just raised my prices significantly and keep telling myself if I’m going to do it, now is the time. I agree with Patti, change the logo if you want, do what makes you happy, the logo is easier to change than a name.

  8. 8
    Michelle Medina says:

    Hi Jodi! Interesting food for thought. Confession … as a newbie, I have designed my own logo and as a type A perfectionist, I have changed it three times since I started my business in April. I have actually refrained from launching my site before now because I was not entirely happy with my logo until now. (There, I said it.) Now, while I agree that there can be some degree of confusion caused if you are in maybe your 2nd to 5th year of business –still in the midst of building a really solid client base– before and after your name is well established, I think it is entirely possible (maybe even desirable) to make some changes to your branding. When I think of examples of those who I have seen make a change, it has shown me that they are staying current, paying attention to detail, and even creating a more exciting and enjoyable experience for their clients by giving them something fresh to look at. Let’s face it, all businesses evolve. I believe our branding should reflect that.

  9. 9
    Katie says:

    I think you should totally redo your logo and branding and get away with it. You need to absolutely love your branding. Look at what Jessica Claire did and it has just helped her business grow even more. It may be a bit scary but you can totally work through a complete rebranding and I think you’d be much happier in the end. Just do it! :)

  10. 10
    Julie says:

    Sometimes change is good and people like to see change if it’s fresh and exciting. This is always going to bug you if you don’t do it. People get used to change over time, don’t limit yourself or you will feel “stuck” where you are. Your work and the way you conduct your business is what sets you apart. Go for it-the logo change that is….I like the MCP…it’s easy.

  11. 11

    I am a graphic designer so of course I think a little re-branding can be great for anyone! If done right. You don’t have to lose your identity and what you have worked so hard to build, you can just update it. We do it all of the time at work. Keep the MCP because you have a brand recognition in the photography world. We just did one for a local kid’s company that I got to do. Their old stuff was kind of generic and stale. I got to do their logo, product packaging and website. http://www.luckybums.com. They are still the same company but now they have a fresh and fun new look that more reflects the company. It also gave them a boost of confidence. Rambling now. Oh boy. Point being…go for it! You did what you could at the time with the budget you had and that’s wonderful! If you can afford an update then by all means!!!! How fun!!! :)

  12. 12
    Alice says:

    I say go for the logo change – people do it all the time and in the end I think it works for most. Name changes are harder – I’m already regretting mine a bit but I’ll have to work with it. What can you do – as our business evolves so does our branding!

  13. 13
    Barb Ray says:

    Great points Jodi! I totally agree with most on here that you should move forth with the logo change if you feel strongly about it. I also agree it is probably too late for a name change. :o( As for me, I’m still small enough that I think I need to change my “homemade” logo…I’m committed to my company name, but certainly not my logo. I’ve done a little research but would love to hear from your readers who they would recommend as logo designers. Because I’m still small, the budget is limited, but am willing to explore all options as I know it is important! Thanks in advance to anyone that can provide a reference for me to explore!!

  14. 14

    Hi Barb, I design logos :)
    I have some very talented friends who do as well. I would be more than happy to give you recommendations. As a fellow photographer (not that I can call myself that yet haha) I would also be willing to give you a discount. I can contact you directly to talk with you more about it or to give you recommendations if you like. My email is cris_aphi@hotmail.com.

  15. 15
    Terry Lee says:

    Hey Jodi…I agree that your company is strong enough at this point for a change…but a subtle one and in keeping with your new direction, etc. I struggled with this myself when looking for a logo and stumbled across a wonderful graphic designer who worked for a big company and had recently had a baby. She started making jewelry and opened a store which she found out wouldn’t work with the new baby, so she started doing graphics on the side and kept her online store. I just happened to love her work and her simple designs and her way of zeroing in on what you are all about and what YOU want without being too pushy. She is not “cheap” but she is reasonable in her pricing. Of course, you can go to a huge marketing firm and pay thousands of dollars and you probably can afford it at this point, but I would look around and maybe there is someone who reads your blog that can help you. I am very happy with my logo (when my website launches, you will see it) and it fits me now as well as what I want to grow to be. http://www.rosekauffman.com (graphics) and http://www.orangelola.com is her online store. I just love her stye…only a suggestion and I would never feel badly if it wasn’t your taste or if you really don’t end up liking my logo. That is why we are all different and unique….right? Someone told me (a savvy businessman and writer) that H & R Block paid $50,000 for their logo…wow, right? I was ready to pay big bucks for a logo after hearing that and because of all the reasons that marketing requires, but Rose did a phenomenal job and does for a lot of people that I know. I followed my heart :) Good luck finding the right person/company and I know you will do well no matter what. Thanks for sharing and for your honesty. My head is still reeling from the workshop last night! xo

  16. 16
    Pam says:

    Excellent article, Jodi. I know many people who have designed their own logo because they know their way around photoshop. I was fortunate enough to find a good designer to work with and had one made. It suits me and my style. I don’t think it would matter that you change your logo at this point because of the recognition of MCP and “Jodi” and all that you have done and shared with everyone. Go for what makes you happy! I mentioned MCP actions at my photo club and more than half the room knew who you were.

  17. 17

    Thanks for sharing this Jodi! I’m just getting ready to start my business and have made arrangements to work with an awesome designer. I can’t wait to see what we come up with together! Thanks for confirming that I’m taking the right steps. :)

  18. 18
    Alexandra says:

    Change is good and you’ll definitely get away with it. :) Go for it!!!!!!!

  19. 19

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  20. 20
    Judy says:

    Hmm. Well, better to change it now that a year from now. ;)

  21. 21
    Pamela says:

    Hi Jodi- great advice!

    I would like your insight on pre-made custom logos. How serious are the copyright or branding issues with this? I’ve also seen people get custom logos that the vendor has later added to their collection as a pre-made. With these concerns, I’ve done my own watermark in Photoshop, still contemplating a logo though.

  22. 22
    Annmarie says:

    Wow-this article is perfect timing. I am in the process of starting a small business and deciding on a logo is HARD!!!!! (By the Way, didn’t know Jessica Claire changed hers). Jodi-I honestly wondered why someone as creative as you had such a simple-straight forward logo. Not that there is anything wrong with it (quoting Seinfield here), but it doesn’t seem to match your style. GO FOR IT!!! Do it!!!! CHANGE IT–it’s yours to change. Who knows……….it may sky rocket you to the moon. (Wow-its late and I’ve been up waaaay to long).

    So—–What would you change it to (hypothetically speaking)??????????????????

    AND————Whose logo or logos do you admire the most??????????????

  23. 23
    gina says:

    i think that even if you you changed it, your fans will still follow you. i know i would. i think you should love your logo and it’s just going to bug you until you do change it, don’t you think?

  24. 24
    Rich says:

    I’ve been dying to have my smugmug page designed professionally. I feel like I’ve done as much as I can with and having the most pedestrian of html knowledge it’s just not enough. I look at all the other SM pages and get rather depressed knowing that I’m stuck in the dark ages in the overall design of the page. I would love to have a site that grabs people in and allows me to show my work in the manner it deserves. I really love the studioky design and the Galt Design, I would kill to have something in between these two!

  25. 25
    Sarah Raanan says:

    Never too late to switch & it doesnt have to be thousands of dollars! i had my logo done by a true professional (http://orangegeckodesigns.blogspot.com/) and she was totally reasonably priced. Think it would made the world of difference to your brand.



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