My First Paid Logo


I recently shared this in my Monthly Notes email, and it was just too good not to share here as well! Since this blog is new, it seems fitting to share my humble beginnings as a designer. Today, I’m sharing the first logo I was ever paid to create and holy cow guys it’s really bad. Like, wow. But somehow, it’s bringing me a whole lot of joy right now. It’s bringing me joy because it’s showing me how far I’ve come, and that gives me hope for the future. So, here is my first paid logo.

Six years ago I was a freshman in college.

I was a hot mess and was definitely not ready for college, but that’s another story. I had a friend whose mom owned a real estate company, and she asked me to create a logo for her. I had never been asked this before, so of course I jumped at the opportunity. It was February 2012, I was using Adobe Illustrator CS3, and I charged her $50. I had no concept of the words brand strategy or brand design, which are a heavy focus in my business today (don’t even get me started on a brand vs. a logo – I’ve got a blog coming on this soon). I didn’t ask who her target audience was or what set her apart from her competitors. I just jumped in. Want to see the result? Keep on scrolling.

Right?! I told you that my first paid logo was bad.

There’s a gradient, stripes, and hard to read text. But, it also brings a sense of hope towards the future. As much as I really dislike this logo, I love that I can see so much progress from my work six years ago, and I hope to improve even more six years from now.

There’s a quote from Ira Glass that resonates so much with me. It’s long, but it’s totally worth it.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, the quit.

Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this.

We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you’ve got to know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is a lot of work. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s going to take awhile. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just got to fight your way through.”

I’m sharing this to encourage you. So, friend. Keep fighting. Do lots of work. And close that gap. I’m here to help if you need it.