To Logo or not to Logo - Branding the business

Yes, I know, the business is in the planning stage, but thinking about branding at this stage is just as important as developing your contracts. A business, needs a coherent image, and your clients expect a level of professionalism for the money that they will be paying.

My business partner and I decided to develop our logo. The logo will be the central design across our business cards, website, invoices, any communications between our clients and the business itself. The new logo will be the anchor. My partner is all business, and I'm not too bad with design, but graphic design is not my strong suite.

We decided to use a company on the internet that I heard about called, 99Designs, and their web address is The website acts as a go between with the graphic designers and yourself.

You hold a contest based on what your design needs are. We just wanted a kick ass logo, but you can go all in and develop a whole branding package or even a website. They have different levels of involvement and the number of graphic designers. We picked the basic level for just a logo design and started the design contest.

We wanted options and a good selection of designs from the graphic designers. We had seventy seven submissions from thirty four graphic designers. The graphic designers appear to have come from around the world, based on their companies' names.

99Designs, wanted us to download the application called Slacker and use it to communicate with the design teams. When the submissions came in, we had many different approaches to our logo.

They where all based on the information that I told the designers: what base colors to use, what general designs that we like, and I even wrote a little note that we where looking for a forward thinking logo design for a company that worked in architectural, real estate, portraiture and wedding photography.

I was asked to narrow down the selection and texted several of them on what changes I would make to their designs. The designs that where completely off the track, I ended up telling them and they where removed from the selection.

The contest lasted four days, and after I narrow down the selections, and my business partner gave her opinion, we came to an agreement on a design.

Here are some of the some of the final selections:


And here is the final selection for the new Vorlago Photography Logo Design: 




We are very proud of the design and thinks it fits our new company. 

Branding - Never to early to think about Branding

I have the name for my company and waiting for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), to work on my application. Which is one of the first step in setting up my business, the name. Now, I'm working on the general look for my correspondence, business cards, website, etc, and that's branding.

With running your own business, you have to know your limits and know when to go outside for help. I understand design, specially photographic design, but graphic design, isn't my forte, not one of my strengths. I'm ok, but I rather hire an expert.

I've decided to work with the website 99designs, and have a competition from a group of graphic designers work on my branding. You select a color range and decided how much work that you want done. Say you just want a logo design, or business cards, website, etc and of course the price goes up. What's great about it, you retain all the rights to those designs.

Sure, I could develop my own logo, business card, but why not use a professional with experience.

What's in a name?

So why did I pick the name Vorlago and not use my own name. First off, my name is very common in the English language and used by many people. That's the problem with having three common names, Jeffrey, Thomas and Bell. You can't get any more common then that. I've seen lawyers, producers, photographers, bartenders, with my name. It's hard to stand out with a name that's so common.

Vorlago is not really a made up name, it's derived from a German word used in the ski jumping industry and means your presentation. I was watching the Winter Olympics, the sportscasters used that word to explain the presentation of the jump. It was all about their body position in relation to their arms and legs as they fly through the air.

Well, photography is a form of presentation and I'm part German, so, I looked it up and changed a letter and went with it.

First you must decided what type of photographer you are, and then what type of work that you want to do.

Sounds easy, what type of photographer are you? What type of photography work do you enjoy doing and producing? Two simple, honest questions that you must ask your self, before you decided to open that door for clients.

When I started my interest into photography, all those decades ago, I didn't have a preference, I just wanted to make money as a photographer. Sounds simple to a young teenage artist, do what you love and make money from it.

I never consider what it would take to achieve that status. I never figured it would take lots of hard work, working with different people, and on different types of subjects, twenty four seven.

After studying photography in two locations, RIT and Salzburg college, I ended up with a government job. Working in the photography department, working my way up from the bottom.

I started out in their photo processing unit because the pay was better then photographing fingerprints. I moved into the forensic studio after several years and photograph things and places that no one in their right mind would want to go see. You see, I ended up as a law enforcement photographer.

In it self, a very interesting career. Many different situations, places and events, all which I can not talk about. Goes along way towards proving to a client that you have over thirty four years as a professional photographer, but can't show any portfolio from those years.

When I wasn't traveling for the government, I would be taking on photography assignments. I joined a non-profit group that taught teenagers photography, I photographed weddings, portraits, theater, events assignments and had few commercial clients. As you can tell, I've tried to keep my hands busy and make a few bucks on the side.

I even joined a professional organization supporting photographers and won several awards. Which made me feel like, I would finally make it in the photography industry. I dapple here and there, but mostly photographing people. I guess in the end, I'm a people photographer. Knowing what you like to photograph is half the battle, and important to deciding the direction you want to take in the next step of your photography career.