Logos are considered to be the visual representation of all the things your company stands for in terms of products, services, values. Having a well-crafted logo could potentially determine people that are not familiar with your business to jump ship or to start using your products or services.
When you think of McDonald’s, the first thing that pops into your head are probably those golden arches. Or, take Nike for example. That swoosh has become one of the most impressive logos that has managed to embody the company extremely well. However, there are so many companies out there that skip or simply prefer to wing it when it comes to this key identity piece.
The best outcome of a well-developed logo is that it will lead to the enhancement of the first impression of potential customers and partners regarding your business. Designing a solid logo can create a bridge between you and your customers, which will create a connection. Moreover, it establishes the identity of a brand and also provides the professional look of an established company.
With a bit of creativity and a lot of work, your logo can rapidly express the positive attributes of your business.
Types of logos
Actually, there are three types of logos. Companies such as IBM, Microsoft or even Sony make use of font-based logos that mainly consist of a type treatment. If you wish to use a logo that falls into this category make sure you use type treatments but with a twist. This will ensure that they are distinctive.
Next, we have the logos that actually illustrate what a company does, take for example a restaurant business that uses a fork and plate as their logo.
The third category consists in abstract graphic symbols – such as Adidas – that are linked over time to the brand of the company.
Americus Reed II, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, has conducted significant research on the triggers that determine customers to identify with and become loyal to a brand. He says that such a symbol is meaningless until the company is able to communicate to consumers what its underlying associations are. Building this bridge will take not only time, but also money.
While Nike’s logo is abstract, a lot of money has been poured in marketing and ads to make it synonymous with the company. In most cases, the main aspects that guarantee the growth of a business is the amount of money invested and the years of effort you’ve put into the creation of these associations. So, in this case, the best way to go is by adopting a logo that is able to clearly illustrate what your company stands for. Moreover, even the type treatment of your company’s name may be perceived as too generic. People should be able to tell what you do immediately when they see your logo.
So, let’s get started. Before you start sketching and learning how a logo should be designed, make sure you first articulate the message your logo will convey. For instance, you could try channeling your efforts in coming up with a one-sentence image and a clear-cut mission statement. While you’re creating your logo, make sure that you will stay true to this statement no matter what.
Unfortunately, that may not be enough to get started. Here are some other aspects which will help you create a proper company logo:
- Do your research. See what other businesses within your business sector are doing when it comes to logos. Do they prefer to use conservative and solid images or do they use flashy graphics and type? Find some way in which you can differentiate your logo from those of your competitors.
- Aim to focus all your efforts on your message. Determine what you want to communicate about your company. What can you say about it? Does it have distinguishable ‘personality traits’ – rather rigid or laid-back? How is it unique in relation to your competitors? Who is your present target audience? Pay extra attention to all these elements when you are designing or redesigning your company logo.
- The logo should be both clean and functional. In the cases of logos belonging to big businesses, they work just as well as a business card if not better. The most common characteristics of a good logo are as follows: it should be scalable, easy to reproduce, distinctive and memorable. Icons are more efficient than photographs, which may become illegible if enlarged or reduced significantly.
- Moreover, you should create a logo that can easily be reproduced in black and white so that it can easily be faxed, photocopied or simply used in a black-and-white ads as effectively as in color.
- Also, consider that the business name can affect the logo design. Depending on the area in which your business activates you need to adapt the font accordingly.
- Logos are amazing because almost instantly they are able to make a statement by means of a picture or illustration, without the use of words.
- Clip art should be avoided at all costs given the fact that it can be copied so easily. Trust me when I say this, original art makes a far superior statement about your company. Moreover, it will help you set your business apart from your competitors.
- And since we’re talking about what should be avoided, make sure you stay away from trendy looks. This is the easiest way to confuse customers or even alienate them. A viable option is to make gradual logo changes. However, don’t make too many changes. Try and find a logo that will remain current and fresh for the next 10 or even 20 years. That’s what good design is all about.
Pay Extra Attention to Your Colors
When you’re exploring the color options at your disposal, make sure you’re aware of the costs. While logos that have more than two or three colors are attractive, once it starts to be produced, the price will certainly increase your blood pressure. Moreover, it isn’t compatible with mediums that use only one or two colors. The best way to go is by using three colors.
Your logo can appear in so many media outlets starting from advertising and finishing with delivery vehicles. However, just remember that some applications have production limitations. Therefore, do a color study. Also, look at the logo in several color versions.
Use a Designer
Despite the help that comes when you’re brainstorming for logo ideas, if you try to create a logo completely on your own you are destined to fail. Yes, it may be the best way to avoid the high costs of hiring a professional design firm, which can charge anywhere between $4,000 to $15,000 for a logo design. The good news is that there are dozens and dozens of independent designers out there that are willing to do the same job for less money. Some may even charge from $15 to $150 per hour, depending on their experience.
On the other hand, hiring someone simply because his or her rates are low is a big mistake. Try to find a designer that has done similar work within your field. If you find the costs to be exorbitant just remember that an awesome logo will last at least a decade. If you take a closer look at the amortization of that cost over a decade period, it may not seem so bad.
While you may have a trained eye for good colors and a sense of what you want your logo to look like, you should still seek the help of a professional designer. Why? Simple because they have the ability to determine whether the logo design can easily be transferred into print or a sign, while you might create an awesome design that simply cannot be transferred or would cost too much money to be printed. The logo is the foundation of each and every of your promotional materials, so while you’re spending a little bit more now, you will see a payoff later on.
The Use and the Protection of Your Logo
Once the logo has been produced don’t forget to trademark it. What does this do? It protects it from being used by other companies. In order to get a trademark you can apply for it at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Web site.
Once it is protected, spread it everywhere, whether it’s business cards, stationery, brochures, ads, your Website and social media where you are mentioning your company name. This will help you build the image of the company while also raising its visibility. Ideally, it will lead to more business.
How simple was that, right? Well, it can be. Just make sure that you remember both your customers and the nature of your business when you’re creating it.
In time, you’ll have succeeded in building equity in your trademark, and it will become a positive and recognizable symbol of your product or service.