Great or Safe – You Can’t Be Both!

MOUSETRAPI’ve seen several cases lately where graphic designers will gather opinions on Facebook regarding logos they’re designing. I can’t help but think that reflects badly on their brand. The client is retaining them based on their professionalism in the field. I feel letting Facebook friends chose their best says plainly that these designers don’t have the confidence to know what is the best solution. A logo speaks to the face of a brand. It’s not a work of art but a communication vehicle. These designers are doing their clients a disservice.

I believe that a designer who is charge of helping to develop brand images must do so based on the brand and its promise to its marketplace. There are plenty of examples of individuals who believe it’s not a good idea to ask the public for their input. Steve Jobs of Apple was one of these. He absolutely believed he knew what people wanted. Henry Ford had a great quote: “If I had asked them what they wanted they would have said faster horses.” I’ve always said to my clients, “I don’t give you what you like, I give you what you need.”

More times than not crowd sourcing delivers mediocrity. The general public are more likely to choose safe over ground breaking. When you engage the efforts of a professional you put yourself in their hands. If you don’t entirely trust them, then you chose the wrong person. Put your brand into the hands of someone who can really make a difference. The last thing you want is to be is safe. Safe doesn’t stand out from the crowd. If you’re a graphic designer reading this and you enjoy crowd sourcing to make your decisions, maybe it’s time you reconsider your occupation. When you’re designing an image your client is the brand that hired you,not the public. They are there to be inspired by the truly great ones.

We should all strive to one of those.

Ed Roach

For more than 30 years, I have worked with hundreds of successful small businesses by helping them develop unique brand positioning strategies that differentiates them from their competition. I appreciate working with companies who see the value of going beyond mere slogans and have a desire to sell from compelling positions. I consult predominantly with businesses facilitating my proprietary branding process. This branding process effectively focuses a company's brand delivering a positioning strategy that can be taken to their marketplace.

I have international speaking experience and am the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today. I'm also a "expert panellist" with Bob Proctor (from The Secret)'s Matrixx Events in Toronto.

I have been interviewed in all media and I also blog extensively and uses the digital realm on the web to connect and promote my services world-wide.

I have international speaking experience including a recent event in Prague, in the Czech Republic and is the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today, the book is available on and the Amazon Kindle store.

My clients are from Canada, The United States, Ukraine, India, United Arab Emirates and Tanzania.

I recently facilitated a workshop in San Diego aimed at teaching Graphic Design companies how to build brands for their customers.


  1. Finally, someone that believes mediocrity should vanish. I feel as if this problem exists squarely due to things on a whole at some point came down to faster being better, and during this the idea of quality was lost. It could be even due to many designers forgetting what it was that motivated them to be in the field. 
    As designers, our job and primary duty is to deliver to the client the best and then some. We should be looking beyond what it is they may like, or their third cousin twice removed may think is best for them, but instead focus on helping them make forward steps of progress towards their business goals, and most of all allowing their brand to positively change a life and ultimately affect positive change for stronger communities.

  2. Not only faster DSMY but cheaper too. Great designers don’t contribute to these problems, but it is the mediocre that is spoiling the pot. Thank you for your input here, I’m glad I’m not the lone voice out there.

  3. Excellent post my friend, congratulations on writing.

  4. Excellent post my friend, congratulations on writing.

  5. MattLBrennan says:

    Good point. As the professional, it’s up to you to know the difference!

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  7. While it may be valid, that people will give you decent tips and advice on fb etc, I have got to agree with Ed that it seems unprofessional. You pay someone money to provide answers, not to ask someone else for answers and do the job for them.

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  9. Trying to build a brand of a client is highly confiedential task, and discussing it on the open grounds like Facebook definitely seems unprofessional, rather it is highly risky to discuss the nature of the brand logo or any confidential matter to be discussed on such an open ground, I highly oppose this idea as it is the question of trust and confidence on the part of client that they have kept on us.

  10. Excellent article! “It’s not a work of art, it’s a communications vehicle” is a line we’ve already adopted around our studio. And the idea that if clients put their trust in us we will make a difference is right on the money. Thanks for posting this, Ed.

  11. @HakiaoKamapa You’re welcome!

  12. If you are a “real” professional graphic designer you don’t have to gather opinions in public. Always put in mind that you have the expertise in this field and the people you are asking may have some knowledge in making designs but they are not as expert as you are.

    • @anikadavis I would suggest that they don’t have knowledge but opinions. It’s fine to seek an opinion but at the end of the day it is your professionalism that carries the day.

  13. Some very good points in this article. We find asking professional design/branding experts within our team reap the best feedback. We can trust each other to give fair and note worthy feedback all with the aim to get the best result.

  14. I think a graphical designer should goes for his design based on his views and understanding of the product. If people goes for public opinion there will be twisted views , which will in turn confuse the designer. He may ending up in designing something with pleases only a small section of audience and not meeting the very objective of design.

  15. I think a graphical designer should goes for his design based on his views and understanding of the product. If people goes for public opinion there will be twisted views , which will in turn confuse the designer. He may end up in designing something which pleases only a small section of audience and not meeting the very objective of design.

  16. I agree with you. Branding tips seems so great. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Awesome point. I’m a designer turned branding guy and whole heartedly agree with this. I remember a site in the design community that crowdsourced their logo redesign and got hammered for it. 
    We can also remember what happend with the new Gap logo…poor souls who used crowdsourcing. 😀

  18. Excellent information, thank you

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  20. It’s refreshing to learn new insights on the proper ways to go about in designing sites. A non-designer like me may not know much about this subject but simple rules of etiquette dictates that what you said is more appropriate.

  21. I would actually agree – but probably add a comment, that is that the best results usually come from employing the opinion of a professional designer after giving them a brief of what is important to you, the ceator, to go into the design.
    The discussion regarding Apple would seem to support my view, because although Jobs did indeed ‘just know’ what people wanted, he did also employ a great number of excellent designers to achieve the results…

  22. Thanks for this awesome post. I really love it, not for the sake of saying it, but because it hits a lot of important factors about marketing online. 
    I mean, with millions of marketers online each day, it doesn’t make sense to be on a safe side, does it? How can you stand up against the rest if you do so? 
    Sometimes, thinking outside the box can really help you achieve the things that you really want.

  23. johnren101 says:

    Interesting article. Lot of things to think out of box. Thank u so much..

  24. The trouble with battling brands is that you’ll always end up with something either similar or totally different to your target product market – this is a difficult choice with long term effort vs gains!

  25. I agree – we too are in the business of developing multiple brands and ensuring that you have a number of avenues to attract customers

  26. juliedawnharris45

    Crowd sourcing is fine since you get to know what the public wants but nevertheless, don’t stick or rely too much on that. I must agree with the last statement, you are designing the brand that represents your company so you should know it better. 🙂

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