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A logo should also be format flexible - A Flexible design should allow your logo to be easily identifyable. Even after sending it to and from an old fax machine. If it passes that test, and many don't, you have a good starting point cos it'll print at low quality B&W.
If you decide to jump in and have a go yourself get a good pen and paper. All the best logos start out this way in my opinion. Once you have a design you like then you can flesh out the 'bits and bytes' using one of the common illustration software packges. Macromedia and Adobe are probably the most recognised manufacturers, but they dont come cheap.
Then its a case of optimising it for different media. (Also laying out a spec is always a good idea so others do not get the scale and proportions incorrect when (if) they use it)
Alternatively pay a graphic designer/under graduate designer to do it for you :)
You get some guys doing logos there for as little as $5 to get a name for themselves and a bit of a portfolio.
And others for up to £100.
First do a search on logo tutorials and related search terms and read up on "theory." Then, whether you do it yourself or have it done you'll have some basis to know what you want for the image you want to create or convey. Wendy Peck has some great materials out there on graphics, for one. And there are a number of tuts for Corel emphasizing logos if you do a search for corel tutorials or corel logo tutorials. I don't remember the name, but there's one guy out there who specializes.
Meantime, get some *cheap* software to fool with or learn - even FREE software and play with shapes, fonts and colors. I used to have a ton of free programs that did all kind of wonderful things - even had a site up the first month after I started learning HTML with links to freebies.
Paint Shop Pro is a standard among certain very talented groups of web designers; it's a fraction of the cost of some others and has vector capability too. Version 8 has a steep learning curve for my taste, I haven't had time to get into it. See if you can find an older version still in the package - it'll be even cheaper, and the new release is only about $100. Anything version 6 and up is fine, and you'll be able to find clearance books less than half price for the "outdated versions." You can also get an older version of Corel Draw which includes PhotoPaint - and is just fine - for around $5 if you look around. I've seen it - it is available for that price.
That said, the best and easiest thing is to follow the advice already given and find someone very reasonable who's got talent. That way you know it'll get done - this year. ;)
In case you're outsourcing, there *are* talented fellow members here looking for a start. You might want to post in Commercial Exchange (scroll down to the bottom of the page) to see what kind of bids you can get.
1. If you don't know the difference between vector vs raster, you could screw yourself when changing the logo size.
2. The color palette should be chosen intelligently by someone who knows the correct way to select color combinatations
3. No one is going to tell you that your logo sucks even if it really does if you tell them you made it.
4. You might come up with a very hackneyed idea -- whereas a designer has a lower probability of doing so.
5. Picking the right font for the design is crucial and a graphic designer probably has a better quality and bigger collection to choose from.
6. There are design principles that a graphic designer understands that you/I are not aware of ....it separates quality from amateur design.
7. Your time is better spent giving a well-written briefing to the designer about your business, it's personality, your brand promise, and a unique value proprosition (positioning statement). This info is very valuable to a designer with a blank canvas.
I would have a hard time accepting a $5 logo not because it might be low quality but because it's effectively "STEALING" -- even if the designer doesn't care. Good graphic designers are so undervalued (btw, I am not a designer) and sometimes have a difficult time asking money for their skills and talent.
If you choose to solicit students at a local county college, ask to see their work. If it is quality stuff on the level of a professional then, pay appropriately.