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A logo is the visible personality of a company. With tight budgets, most start-ups compromise on this important branding element. LogoDesignCreation.com by Gizwiz Studio solves this problem by providing professional online logo design services for businesses at a fraction of the normal cost. What’s more, Gizwiz promises speedy delivery thanks to an amazing website platform, which allows clients to interact directly with designers. Gizwiz has already received international acclaim for their creative genius from the likes of the Wall Street Journal and Web Design Index. Over the next 2 years Gizwiz plans to become the preferred design agency for start-ups all over the world.

Industry : Software

Our Core Product(s) / Solution

LogoDesignCreation.com is an online logo design service provider that focuses on conceptualizing creative logos for businesses worldwide. We cater specially to startups. Our primary aim has always been to provide the highest quality in design services and solutions within an affordable budget and under the tightest deadlines. 						

STORIES

Global Designers, from the shores of Malaysia!

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By Renuka Sena

As Featured in Digital News Asia

LogoDesignCreation.com has been making waves in the global market yet I dare say, not many in Malaysia know that at the helm of this online graphic design provider are two Malaysians.

Jasmine Hor and Andrew Khaw started logodesigncreation.com as a product under GizWiz Studios in a home office in Penang. It took about a year and a half to get the website up and running as both of them were working full time when the idea was first conceptualised but once the website was developed and launched in 2004, Jasmine crossed her fingers and quit her job.

Through her innate entrepreneurial instinct, Jasmine knew that the only way for a small startup to grow quickly was to go online from the get-go – a decision that many local entrepreneurs shy away from, thinking that they have to establish themselves in the domestic market first before they test the waters elsewhere. 

The other reason why they decided on the online strategy was their chosen target market. “Most design agencies target the larger corporations where they charge high fees for branding/ design services. This strategy by agencies excludes small and medium companies that have smaller budgets and have organic branding and design needs”.

“We decided that we would target startups and SMEs – an underserved market but where there was a huge volume to tap into. World-wide, there are about 150 million small businesses that are in the early stages of their venture,” she says with a smile emphasizing the fact that the start-up market has huge potential.

“We were inspired by Air Asia – who targeted to obtain passengers from the majority of the population who never before considered the option of flying because the cost was prohibitive.”

“If anything, startups and SMEs need design services more because they need to differentiate themselves. We knew that by providing services online, we could provide this market with beautiful graphics at an affordable price”.

 Having decided on their target market and their model for providing design services, Jasmine decided to launch logodesigncreation.com primarily to the US and European market because purchasing services online was not an alien concept in those markets.

 Another factor that played an important part in this decision was culture. “Asian service requirements are much higher than Americans. They want more changes and expect at least 3 to 4 edits compared to the Americans who respect design choices of professionals and are satisfied with at most, one edit,” says Jasmine.

International Recognition

“When we first started, we did not have a large capital base to draw from” shares Jasmine.  As such, they focused on strategies to get logodesigncreations.com’s rankings up on Google searches. At that time, they could not afford advertisements and therefore all marketing was conducted through affiliate and reciprocal marketing i.e. exchanging banner links with other websites.

What started off as a home-based business burst into the global market after getting a mention in WIRED Magazine’s October 2005 issue, “This Brand Is Our Brand” article. Jasmine and Andrew’s online design platform caught on like wild fire amongst start-ups in Silicon Valley.

Then in the July 2009 issue of the Wall Street Journal (Vol. CCLIV, No. 13), LogoDesignCreation.com’s design package was featured as being the “best value” compared to the other companies that were reviewed for their article “Can Logo Design Services Make Your Mark?”

Since then designs from the company have been nominated for various awards and every year a number of their designs are selected and published in LogoLounge Master Library – proving that their decision to target the global marketplace had paid off.

Competing in the Global Arena

How did they achieve all this, you may ask?

They leveraged on their competitive advantage! As an online service provider providing service from Asia to the US and European markets, logodesigncreation.com had the advantage of currency exchange rates and the time difference to their benefit and they planned their strategy to capitalise on these advantages.

As the name suggests, their basic product was logo design services. This was their bait. According to Jasmine, for a basic design package, competitors were charging between US$149 to US$299. They offered their basic services for US$39. Additionally, they provided an Express Logo Package with a 24-hour turnaround time guarantee.

The article on WIRED helped create this awareness by highlighting that LogoDesign Creation.com has an “overnight turnaround time” and was the fastest among the design firms that were reviewed in a test group, quoting that “after placing an order at the end of one day, we got three logos to choose from the next morning”. Jasmine was ecstatic, “we didn’t even know that the order came in from Wired because they did not identify themselves”.

Most of their sales come from Silicon Valley. The combo of price and service proved to be a hit with the customers and provided a base for them to upsell higher value services like web design, stationary, name cards and all other branding collaterals that are essential for start-ups.

“It was tough! I was the only one handling the design creation and I used to work till 4am, then sleep for a couple of hours before continuing, “Jasmine reminisces.

Scaling Up

As sales increased, Jasmine moved the business into an office and hired designers. She soon discovered her Achilles heel – managing people.

“Andrew and I are both creators, not managers, “she says exasperatedly, “no matter how much of benefits and additional allowances we gave the designers, it never seemed to be enough!”

Jasmine realized that she needed help.  Even though she was serving a global market, the environment in Penang where they started out didn’t provide her with the network she could tap into to grow the business.

The turning point came when she attended a briefing about the Coach and Grow Programme (CGP), a coaching programme spearheaded by Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd – an agency under the Ministry of Finance – and conceptualised and implemented by Proficeo Consultants.

They applied and were accepted in the pioneer batch in 2011 into the Go4Growth Program, which was targeted to help successful companies scale up their businesses. 

 â€œWe informed the coaches that our biggest challenge in scaling up was talent acquisition and management and the advice received was that designers must be able to see how they perform in the eyes of the customer.”

We began implementing strategies discussed during coaching and changed our recruitment processes to target designers with the caliber and personality that would match online services and customer expectations.  To manage remuneration expectations of designers they hired, Jasmine explains that they reworked their platform to incorporate a system that captures customer feedback on work output which will then be used to rate designers’ performance.

 â€œThis advice helped me eliminate disputes over increments and bonuses, “she says with a grin.

During the CGP, she also changed her pricing strategy.  “Our initial approach was low pricing and volume orders. We achieved our initial goal but this was not scalable. In order to gain higher ROI from each designer, we increased the fee for our standard package from US$39 to US$89. This was still affordable for the international market but now, with less orders, we needed fewer designers to provide services and therefore we could hire more experienced talent. The initial take up from the market was slow and when we first revised our pricing, we didn’t get a single order for a couple of weeks but slowly, the orders started coming in again and now we are seeing the returns to our business” says Jasmine with relief.

The entrepreneurial journey is never easy and the ones that succeed are like Jasmine and Andrew who have been resilient and nimble towards changes in the market. They realized early on that the crucial factor was to go global from the start and that in order to sustain their growth they had to be part of the ecosystem even though they are an Internet-based business.

“Networking and exposure is where you gain the experiences that will help you improve”, advises Jasmine.

“Participation in the CGP also gave us a lot of exposure to the local startup scene and international based startup organisations and events. We attended as many events and networking sessions as we could” Jasmine shares and “invested time in building relationships in the ecosystem.”

 The pay-off? logodesigncreation.com has become the “go to” design team for StartUpMalaysia, AngelsDen, Foundersasia.com and the CGP Alumni which in turn provides them with exposure to their target market – startups!

Jasmine and Andrew were recently involved as mentors for Global Startup Youth (GSY) a satellite event organised by StartUpMalaysia as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2013 in Kuala Lumpur – and who incidentally also developed the website for GSY.  “We loved working with the creative youngsters in our team from around the world and share experiences and learn from each other.” beams Jasmine.

GizWiz Studios were crowned the winners for the NEWMAN Creative Pioneer Awards 2013 in the category of Art & Design and finally, nine years from launch of their online service, the team from Malaysia have received local recognition.