Helpful Tips for Seal and Logo Owners
Copyright or Trademark: Which is Better?
Many people ask us which is better: Getting a copyright or a trademark. Our answer: A copyright is always better. Here’s why.
Trademarks are generally used to protect names, slogans and other text. They can be used to protect images, but they don’t offer as much protection for an image as a Copyright does, plus, Trademarks cost $325, whereas, Copyrights (if done online) only costs $35. If you choose to Copyright by mail, the fee is $65. Copyrights are a lot less expensive than Trademarks and offer more protection, therefore, Copyrights win.
We’ve come across our fair share of scam victims, and we’ve heard many stories of “too good to be true offers” that were just that: Too good to be true. While we sympathize with the victims, we have to shed light on a mentality or way of reasoning that pretty much sets people up to be scammed, and this mentality is: Being frugal, or better yet, cheap.
Many times, God lays a charge on our hearts to brand our ministries, but for some reason, many leaders obviously don’t let God finish the sentence. When HE says to brand your ministry, He means to brand it in excellence. In other words, represent the Kingdom of God in a way that draws people to it. After all, people are visual creatures. Nevertheless, a large number of people search the Internet high and low for the cheapest deal, regardless of how the designers’ portfolios look. Because of this, many people end up giving their money away to opportunists looking to make an easy, quick buck.
Tips to Avoid Scam Artists
•Don’t be cheap. We understand that money is something that we want to hold on to, but anything you do for God, please know that He will pay you back. Being a penny-pincher will only lead you to a bunch of scammers and opportunists who see you as nothing more than an easy payday.
•If the company or designer doesn’t have a website…buyer beware. Look at it this way: If the company or designer won’t invest in their own business or talent, nine times out of ten, it’s because they have a wrongful relationship with money. If you hand them your hard-earned money, they’ll likely throw a design together for you or steal someone else’s design, put your name on it and send it to you. Yes, this does happen.
•If the company or designer does have a website that is not professionally put together…buyer beware. Again, this usually signifies that the designer has a wrongful relationship with money. Of course, you may find some genuine designers out there who don’t have a website or a professional website because they are still new to design, but be sure to ask for samples of their work before working with them. Also, make sure whatever samples they show you are theirs. For example, there are designers out there who we’ve caught displaying our copyright designs in their portfolios.
•If the company’s designs look as if they’ve been created by multiple designers, inquire about the designer. At one point, we came across a company online that not only displayed one of our designs as its own, but it displayed the designs of other seal and logo designers. Of course, they were scammers. They didn’t have those logos for sale. They only had the templates they’d seen online; which means, they would only take someone’s money and not have anything to give them in return.
•Try to work with companies who have an already established portfolio and clientele. This isn’t to cut into the new guy’s profit; this is to protect yourself. When working with someone who’s new to the design market, it is better to work with designers if you know someone who’s successfully worked with those designers.
•Avoid copycat designers. Copycat designers are designers usually steal designs and design ideas from other designer. They will often avoid their customers after they’ve received payments from them because their design skills are limited and they don’t want to revise any of the work they’ve submitted.
•If you don’t like a designer’s portfolio, don’t work with him/her. All too often, people will hire designers whose work they do not like simply because those designers’ fees are inexpensive. At the same time, those same people usually have a designer they’d prefer to work with, but they either can’t afford to or are too cheap to work with their preferred designer. What ends up happening is: The customer hires the designer whose work they don’t like and tries to convince that designer to channel their preferred designer’s skill or gifting. This leads to a frustrated designer who will throw something together and refuse to respond to their covetous customer’s repeated emails, and with good reason. The fact is: No two people are the same and every “good” designer has his/ her own style of design.
•Don’t wait until the last minute. Get what you need as soon as you realize you need it! It is not uncommon for individuals to wait until they’ve got days or hours left to get a design before they rush out to find a designer. This often leads them to scammers looking to make a quick buck. Give yourself time to ask around and pray about who you work with.
•If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Sometimes, getting what you want will cost you, but the great thing is: It’ll always pay you back!
•Stick with what (and who) you know UNLESS they’ve given you less than perfect work or unless God tells you otherwise. Here’s the thing. Many people we’ve worked aren’t stable buyers, meaning, they’ll go to whomever they think has the best deal. Needless to say, a large number of them have returned to us with complaints about the people they’ve gone to. When branding your ministry, always try to stay in one place so that your designer can take the time to learn your design personality. An unstable buyer usually has a lot of unprofessional designs alongside a few professional designs. Additionally, they don’t actually have identifiable brands because different designers design differently.
Avoiding Seal or Logo Theft
Believe it or not, there are many individuals who will happily steal your seal and/or logo, have your name painted off your design, have their names forged on your design, and will be at church Sunday morning sporting their stolen designs and laying hands on unsuspecting sheep. Of course, we know that the fruit of theft comes from the tree of Satan, but let’s be real here: There are true Apostles and there are false Apostles and there are true Prophets just as there are false Prophets out there. At the same time, many copycat designers or thieves steal the work of other designers and sell them to their unsuspecting customers. We’ve actually had to report quite a few people to Copyright who’d stolen our designs and attempted to paint over the text on those designs. Because of this, we’ve tightened our security and we advise our clients to do the same.
Avoiding Seal or Logo Theft
Understand this: If your design isn’t properly protected, it WILL be stolen. A lot of times, people say they “hope” their designs won’t be stolen, but if it can be easily manipulated, it will be stolen.
•Make sure you allow the designer to place your name where the designer thinks your name should go. Of course, you can suggest where you’d like to see the ministry’s name, but if the designer says otherwise, our advice is: Go with the designer’s advice. With Anointed Fire, we try to embed our customers’ names in a way that prevents or deters seal or logo theft. All the same, we’ve had a few customers who were passionate about having their names placed in spots that we knew would compromise their designs. Needless to say, many of them found out the hard way that there are thieves in church, and some of them stand in the pulpit.
•Ask your designer to take extra design measures to ensure that your design won’t be at a high risk for being stolen. For example, if the ministry’s name is a place that we feel the design can be easily compromised, we usually ask our clients if we can place their initials someone in the center of the design. Thieves want easy steals, so we try to make their jobs as difficult as possible.
•Don’t try to lead the design. Let the designer be the designer. The reason we advise against trying to control the design process is because designers don’t just put designs together to make them attractive. Most designers strive to embed some type of imagery or style into your design that prevents theft. Nevertheless, every now and again, someone comes along and wants to head the design process, and their designs end up being “their” work and not the designer’s work. Because they are not designers, one of two things will likely happen: The design won’t look as good as it could have looked or the design will be at high risk for being stolen.
•Don’t be cheap. Again, being tightfisted has caused so many people to lose more money than they would have spent had they just obeyed and trusted God. Sometimes, a customer will ask us; for example, to send them a design that’s empty of text, and of course, we don’t sell our designs this way. Those same customers will usually request minimum text on their designs because they want to be able to add whatever text they want to those designs without having to pay us (or anyone else) to add the text. For example, a frugal fellowship that needs five logos and decides to use one logo for every one of their ministries. That fellowship doesn’t want to pay us to place the different names on the logo, so they will likely request minimum text, such as “Apostolic Ministries” to be placed on their designs. We put all of our designs in our Design Portfolio, and because the design reads “Apostolic Ministries”, someone else with an Apostolic Ministry may come along and see how easy it is to simply place their ministry’s name before “Apostolic Ministries.” Again, this is not uncommon and we don’t place our watermark over the designs in our portfolio because the ministry’s name serves as a watermark.