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Inked God is not your Logo

Living and doing marketing in South Dakota, we have seen our fair share of "DIY Marketing." The same hard work ethic that built this Midwestern area from the ground up gives people the courage to go out on a limb, start a business, and pinch pennies while they build their profits.

And I'm not against that. I've been surprised throughout the years by creative marketing ideas that have been generated at the grassroots level by inspired small business owners and, (GASP!) people without college degrees.

But, I've also seen a lot of Rapid City marketing firms and small business marketing missteps. "The typical new business started in the United States is no longer in operation five years after being founded. That's true whether statisticians at the BLS or Census are doing the measuring and it's true whether you measure new establishments or new firms." (Scott Shane, Small Business Trends) When you are taking a huge risk starting a business, you can't gamble with your branding and marketing.

inkedgodWhich leads me to this point: visiting a free font website and downloading the most obnoxious .ttf or .otf does not equal a logo design and doesn't benefit your brand development.

There are at least three local businesses that are using this font "Inked God" as their logo. This font is loud, interesting... and not a logo. While I snickered a bit at the liberal use of this particular font in Rapid City's marketing, I realized it is also used by a fishing boat on the National Geographic Channel's show Wicked Tuna. It's important to note that this font may be downloaded for free, but is not free for commercial use. It is important to know if you are following copyright and commercial use laws before you begin making signage, business cards, and billboards with a free font.

A great font IS an important part of your brand and your logo. But it isn't the entire piece. Relying too much on a canned (free!) font detracts from the originality of your branding – especially when you know someone else is using the same thing.

Logo development and branding packages are a necessary step in starting your new business. Don't cut corners. Build the image you hope to obtain early on so that you can put your best foot forward!