Ready made logos vs hiring a pro or design agency

Ready made logos are catching up on professional custom logos, but they might not be catching up that fast just yet.
Words by
21 June, 2024
5 mins read

Small business owners, side hustlers, entrepreneurs and organizations of all sizes are constantly looking for ways to simplify processes and expedite brand establishment. This urgency is particularly evident in logo design, where ready-made logos—pre-designed visual identities—promise an instant brand face.

But do these off-the-shelf solutions deliver on their promises? There are obvious advantages and disadvantages of ready-made logos.

What are ready made logos?

Ready-made logos are pre-designed graphic elements representing a company or brand, available for purchase and immediate use. These logos are typically part of design marketplaces or specialized logo libraries, offering thousands of options. You simply choose one you like and customize it to fit your brand.

Why instant branding has become so popular

The appeal of ready-made logos lies in their immediacy. In an age where groceries can be delivered within an hour and entire TV series are binge-watched over a weekend, it’s no surprise that business owners want logos instantly. This trend caters to the desire for quick gratification and fast-tracked business setup.

Professional design assured

Another draw is the promise of professional-looking designs at affordable prices. Unlike custom services, which can be costly, ready-made logos are crafted by skilled designers who provide polished finishes, making them accessible to those with limited design knowledge.

Benefits of ready made logos

Quickness and convenience

The most obvious advantage is speed. Entrepreneurs pressed for time can acquire a logo within minutes, allowing for a swift market introduction.

Cost effective solutions

Ready-made logos are generally much cheaper than hiring a professional designer or agency. This affordability is particularly appealing to startups and small businesses operating on tight budgets.

Wide range of choices

Logo marketplaces offer extensive design options across various industries and styles. This vast selection increases the likelihood of finding something that closely matches your vision.

No need for design skills

Most platforms provide user-friendly customization tools, allowing you to change colors, fonts, or layouts without needing advanced design skills.

Immediate mockups and applications

Many services show instant mock-ups of your logo on different products and media, such as business cards and websites, helping you quickly visualize your brand identity.

Drawbacks of ready made logos

Lack of authenticity

One significant downside is the potential lack of uniqueness. The logo you love might be used by dozens of other companies, making it harder for your brand to stand out.

Customization constraints

While you can often tweak colors and fonts, you may not be able to alter the core design. This limitation can be frustrating if you need significant changes to align the logo with your brand identity.

Potential trademark problems

Without careful consideration, you might choose a logo too similar to a trademarked design, risking legal issues down the line.

Brand strategy misalignment

A logo should reflect your brand’s values and personality. Ready-made logos weren’t created with your specific company in mind, potentially leading to a disconnect between your logo and your brand strategy.

Stunted growth

As your business grows, a ready-made logo might no longer suit your brand, necessitating an expensive rebranding exercise sooner than anticipated.

The impact on brand identity

Your logo is often the first thing people notice about your company. It visually represents everything you stand for. Using a pre-designed logo can dilute your brand identity, making it less distinguishable and potentially perceived as less genuine.

Being undistinguishable

In a crowded market, a unique logo is crucial. Even professionally designed, pre-made logos can be forgettable if many companies use similar designs. This makes it harder for clients to differentiate your brand.

Authenticity matters most

Consumers are savvy and can quickly identify generic symbols. They might associate these with lower-quality products or services, affecting your brand’s reputation.

When ready made logos might work

Despite their drawbacks, ready-made logos can be suitable in certain situations.

Trial period

A temporary logo can serve as a placeholder while you test a business idea, allowing you to gauge interest without significant investment.

Provisional branding

For short-term projects or events, a pre-made logo can create a cohesive appearance quickly and affordably.

Financial limitations

When funds are limited, any logo is better than none. A ready-made emblem can give your company immediate credibility until you can afford a custom design.

The custom design alternative

To fully understand the pros and cons of ready-made logos, it’s worth comparing them with custom-made logos.

The benefits of customization

A customized logo is designed specifically for your brand, accurately representing your values, personality, and unique selling points. This uniqueness minimizes the risk of copyright issues and ensures differentiation from competitors.

The creative process

Working with designers or agencies involves collaboration, allowing for multiple drafts and iterations until the logo perfectly aligns with your brand. This process can provide deeper insights into your brand’s identity.

Long term value

While initially more expensive, a custom logo is an investment in your brand’s future, likely requiring fewer changes over time and better supporting company growth.

The middle ground is semi custom logos

Semi-custom logos offer a balance between ready-made and fully custom designs. These start with pre-made templates but allow for more extensive customization, providing a unique look at a lower cost than fully bespoke options.

The psychology of logo design

Understanding the psychological impact of logos can guide your decision.

Color psychology

Different colors evoke different emotions and connotations. Ready-made logos might restrict you to specific colors, potentially misaligning with your brand’s intended psychological effect.

Shape and form

Logos use various shapes to communicate different messages. Off-the-shelf logos might not offer the flexibility needed to perfectly align these aspects with your brand personality.


Fonts in your logo convey your business type. While pre-designed logos let you change fonts, the limited selection might hinder expressing your brand’s tone effectively.

The legal considerations

Copyright and licensing

Ready-made logos come with licenses, but terms vary. Some may restrict usage conditions or limit how many times you can use the logo.

Trademark protection

Registering a trademark for a pre-made logo can be challenging, especially if the design is too familiar. Similarity to existing trademarks can lead to legal battles.

Reading the fine print

Always read the terms and conditions to understand your rights and any usage restrictions fully.

The technical aspects

File formats and resolutions

High-quality ready-made logo services should offer various file formats, but cheaper options may not, limiting usage flexibility.


A logo should look good at any size. Some ready-made logos might not scale well, especially if they have intricate details.

Color modes

Print requires CMYK color mode, while digital uses RGB. Not all pre-designed logos provide both, limiting versatility.

The impact on marketing materials

Consistency over platforms

A ready-made logo may look great on your website but may not translate well to social media, email signatures, or printed materials. Consistency across platforms is crucial for brand recognition.

Adaptability for different media

Your logo might need to appear in various orientations or monochrome. Not all pre-designed logos offer this flexibility.

Integration with brand guidelines

Creating comprehensive brand guidelines may be challenging with a ready-made logo, limiting cohesive brand identity development.

The future of ready made logos

AI generated logos

AI-generated logos, created based on your input, offer more personalized options and could revolutionize pre-made logo designs.

Augmented reality applications

Logos designed for 3D environments will become essential as AR grows, but many off-the-shelf designs aren’t made with this in mind.

Increasing customization options

To address criticisms, many services now offer advanced customization tools, blurring the lines between ready-made and custom designs.

Making the decision: ready made or custom logo?

Assessing your needs

Define what you want your logo to achieve and consider who will see it, where, and how often.

Evaluating your resources

Consider your time and financial constraints. A custom logo may require more investment but offers long-term benefits.

Considering the future of your brand

Think about where your brand will be in five or ten years. Will a ready-made logo still meet your needs?

Seek professional help

Consult a branding expert to determine if a ready-made logo fits your situation or if a custom design is a better investment.

To sum it up

Ready-made logos offer quick, convenient, and professional-looking solutions at a fraction of the cost of custom designs. However, they come with limitations in uniqueness, customization, and potential legal issues.

Ultimately, the choice between ready-made and custom logos depends on your specific circumstances. For some businesses, a pre-made logo can serve as an effective temporary solution. For others, investing in a custom design may better reflect their brand’s values and support long-term growth. Remember, your logo is a critical representation of your brand, so choose wisely to ensure it accurately reflects your identity and values.

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David Ryckman

David is a regular contributor and sub-editor for Who Design Today. He is a Managing Partner at Kwibb and has a keen eye for design and branding.

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