Friday, March 9, 2007

How I Wasted $399 and 30 days with LogoWorks.

A month ago I signed-up for LogoWorks $399 logo design package. It came with 6 initial concepts from 3 designers and unlimited revisions. After submitting a thorough questionnaire outlining what I was looking for, I sat anxiously awaiting my initial concepts. Turn-around time was 3 business days they said.

That 3rd day came and went. On the 4th day I got an email, they needed more time. Eventually I received an email saying the designs were ready to view. I was excited, until I saw them.

It's safe to say three of the designs were totally cookie-cutter logos with no semblance to anything I asked for in that lengthy questionnaire . In fact, I've seen those designs before because they're used by other companies!

The other three designs, not too bad but not too good either. At least they show the designers had read that questionnaire because they weren't too far off the mark. Regardless, they were somewhat laughable designs and certainly could not be used professionally.

Thinking there was some communication problems, my business partner and I phoned LogoWorks to speak to our Account Manager in an effort to fix things. We couldn't get through to our Account Manager and someone else took the call. Amidst the background noise and chaos on that end of the phone, and the feeling that the guy was only hearing half of what we were saying, we were promised another round of initial designs, for free, instead of the regular re-do fee of several hundred dollars.

Now as a potential LogoWorks customer, you need to ask yourself, what do I really expect to get for $399? What if those initial 6 designs are completely worthless, as they were in our case? Are you prepared to pay additional money so the designers can "get it right"? Sure you can take advantage of their money-back gaurantee, but only before your revision round kicks in. Our mistake was not bailing-out early enough and believing them when they told us "your initial designs are just concepts, they will get better".

Another week goes by and we look forward to the new designs, thinking to ourselves "they must get it right this time" right? Look at their gallery, there are some very good-looking logos in there so LogoWorks must know what they're doing, right?

The due-date comes and goes, again. And again, another email for more time. Finally a day or two later the designs are done. They're better but still way off. In fact, in the very first design our company name is spelled wrong. How did that get past the designer? Or the account manager? Some of the designs are still laughable and cookie-cutter. None are usable in their current state. One seems like it may have potential if taken further.

Instead of being smart and bailing-out after seeing the second round of awful design work, we trusted LogoWorks and proceeded into revision round 1. In an effort to head-off any communication problems between us and LogoWorks, I create a mock-up in Photoshop. I tell them it's 50% "done" and give them 2 areas that could use some improvement.

Days go by, the deadline is missed, and again for the third time they ask for more time. The next day the revisions are ready. For the third I sat here disatified with what I saw. They literally copy and pasted the artwork I had sent them and modified 2 little things. The changes were so trivial they hardly constitute a "revision" and were definately not worth another 4 days of waiting.

How trivial? If my examples to them had an arrow pointing to the right, the revision would come back with the arrow pointing to the left. That trivial.

Last Friday I sent an email to our "Account Manager", and I say that lightly because he doesn't seem to be truly managing anything, certainly not our customer experience. In my email I stated we were once again unhappy with their work, pointed-out several reasons why, including the fact that "given the level of artwork I supplied you as examples, do you really think I need a professional company such as LogoWorks to return with such trivial changes as moving an arrow from the right to the left?". Finally, I asked for our money back, less the $75 "Administrative Fee".

A full week goes by with no communication from LogoWorks. Finally today an email hits my inbox from Mr. Account Manager who is sorry it took him a full week to respond. Nowhere did he apologize for our disastisfaction or pledge to make it right. Instead he pointed the blame back on us by stating "our designers took your direction literally" and "if you want them to have more creative freedom you must tell us".

Really? I thought that was what our phone call was about 3 weeks ago. I thought a company such as LogoWorks, who claim to be Logo Experts would know the difference between a professional logo you could present to the public and one you would hide in a box in the basement, never to see daylight again.

My email response was short and sweet. We are done with LogoWorks, we have moved-on. In a 24-hour period we got a professional logo we are proud of, but from a different source. Finally, if they are unwilling to provide good customer service and make it right, then we'll take them up on their "unlimited rounds of revision" and keep their designers busy for the rest of the year.

My hunch is by the time we finally arrive at a logo design we could use, that isn't cookie-cutter or embarassing, LogoWorks will have spent double to triple the $399 we paid on salaries to the designers involved in our upcoming year-long revision rounds.

I can't wait to see what they send us next.