On First Draft Mottos

It doesn’t matter if it’s good right now, it just needs to exist.

Phil Coffman’s Blog

When I relaunched this blog last month, some of the ensuing Twitter chatter was about missing our respective personal sites of yesteryear. Happy to see Phil Coffman make a return. Scripty goodness! Personal insight! Come back, 2004 web!

On Procrastinating

‪No task is a long one but the task on which one dare not start. It becomes a nightmare.

Charles Baudelaire‬

Introducing Constraints to Your Product Can Help You Find New Lines of Business

When filming Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harrison Ford was too weak from a case of dysentery and the 130° Tunisian heat to handle a planned 3½ page fight scene. Ford suggested a more expedient option to director Steven Spielberg — “We had Indy pull out his revolver and dispatch the dude.” A particularly nasty constraint led to a character-defining scene in an iconic movie. 

I think constraints are so vital to running your business that you should invent them.

Business Thrives on Constraints

If you believe you’re charging a good price for your product, service, or experience, you have a Choose Your Own Adventure scenario when a potential customer tells you they think it’s too expensive. 

There are other options, but I mostly see 1 and 2. Both seem unwise in my opinion.

Ignoring the market is silly, unless your strategy is to go out of business. But arbitrarily lowering your price undermines the value that you initially claimed. Choosing option 3 means you can still meet a real market need by listening to what potential customers want, and then delivering something valuable to them within a new set of constraints that you control.

Welcome to LogoLand

When I was iterating through the business model for my latest venture LogoLand, I focused on an adjacent market to my brand identity business (small biz owners who typically value a commodity website at $3–5k and needed a logo), and I worked backwards to a price point I thought that market could bear ($1500 for a logo). 

All that was left to do was figure out how to deliver a great logo at that price, and build a business around it. :)

Constraints Are Magical

I didn’t ignore a clear market need by telling those potential customers what things “should” cost. I didn’t lower the price of my existing services just because these potential customers wanted me to. And I absolutely didn’t lower the quality of the product(s) I was offering. I changed the rules of engagement by introducing new constraints. 

In the process, I created a whole new line of business.

How do you sell a service that, on the surface, looks similar to your typical offering, but only costs a small percentage of your typical fee? Bring on the constraints.

First I constrained scope — it’s just a logo, not the full brand identity work my design studio does. That wasn’t enough. Then I constrained time to further reduce scope — LogoLand designs and delivers a logo in a week. It still wasn’t there. Then I constrained choice — there’s no seemingly endless rounds of revisions. Customers purchase the service, and a week later they get a logo. There’s no back and forth, so they can focus on doing what they do best (running their business) and we can focus on what we do best (making them a professional logo at a great price in a week).

Now we were getting somewhere! Now this business could function at a specific price point at scale, with room to grow. Only by constraining the business could I grow the business.

Don’t Ignore or Discount, Constrain

With LogoLand, I want to provide a service to small businesses, but I have to do it in a way that makes business sense for my small business. Introducing constraints that scale back a product/service without sacrificing quality is one of the best ways to get there.

LogoLand — Get a Professional Logo at a Great Price in a Week

So I built a new thing…

LogoLand is a magical place where you get a professional logo at a great price in a week. In practice, it’s a $1499 purchase that gets you a custom logo, files, short styleguide, and puts it all in a Google Drive folder to share with vendors and partners. 


While running my design studio, I’ve lost count of the number of small web development shops that sell $3–5k websites who say “we have clients that need a logo, but they can’t afford someone like you — what should we tell them?” Or potential clients who don’t really need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on brand strategy and identity. Where do they go? Until I built LogoLand, I didn’t have a good answer for them.

The options for small business logos aren’t great. The DIY route isn’t professional. The commodity design services get you a logo, but no guarantee it’s unique or memorable. Working with a solo designer can be a good experience, but the process of finding, vetting, and navigating that relationship is foreign to most small business owners, and it takes time. And the agency/studio route is likely too expensive and too in depth for most small businesses. Some people just want an affordable logo!

We can make the LogoLand price point work by reducing three key things:

So, LogoLand — I hope it’s helpful, and can fulfill a real need in the market. If you’re so inclined, give us a follow on Instagram and Twitter, and an upvote on Product Hunt. If you or someone you know needs a professional logo at a great price, come visit LogoLand, we’d love to see you.

Yours truly,
The Mayor of LogoLand


Thank you Cameron, Ben, and Soleio for invaluable feedback on product, positioning, voice/tone, and experience flow. And, as always, thank you to Mrs. Blankenship for her feedback, encouragement, and spurring — LogoLand literally wouldn’t exist if she didn’t push me to give it a try.

Five Tiny Pieces of Art by Rebecca Guay that Happen to be on Magic Cards

Rebecca Guay is a gallery artist now, but she’s primarily known for her work on role-playing and collectible card games. You can see all 156 Magic cards she illustrated here.

On Work vs. Family

Work is not your family. The only way work shows how much they care about you is by how much they pay you.

Aminatou Sow

Karen McGrane’s Google Doc Blog

Karen McGrane is totally not excellently blogging via a shared Google Doc right now. So far we have “posts” about Tarot cards, Disney Execs, and David Blaine.

What’s the Difference Between Brand and Brand Identity?

I spend my time working with clients on everything from logos to messaging to environments and websites. So when someone says, “You do branding work, right?” they’re right, right? Well, not exactly.

I don’t do branding work; my clients do, by doing their business. They’re the ones building the brand, because they are the brand. 

What I do is brand identity work.

Brand with a Capital B

The terms “brand,” “branding,” “brand identity,” and even “logo” are often treated as synonyms (even by designers!), but they are not the same thing. You might think this is semantics, but I believe defining what designers do is important work that guides our process, and informs the stories we tell prospective clients. 

Keep Reading…

On Showing Up Prepared

I just wanted to make sure that every beat that [Dr. Dre] played for me, I had a rhyme ready to go.

Eminem, on their first day of working together

You had your whole life to prepare for this moment. Why aren’t you ready?

There’s an important parable here about working on your craft now so that you’re ready when future opportunities present themselves. 

What are we doing today for tomorrow?