Your logo is a visual representation of everything your company stands for. Think of McDonald’s golden arches or the Nike swoosh – these two impressive logos embody these companies well. But many companies still skimp on developing this key identity piece.
Ideally, your company logo enhances potential customers and partners’ crucial first impression of your business. A good logo can build loyalty between your business and your customers, establish a brand identity and provide the professional look of an established enterprise. In this article from Entrepreneur, you will see that with a little thought, creativity and the right design partner, you can develop a logo that can quickly and graphically express the many positive attributes of your business, too.
There are basically three kinds of logos. Font-based logos consist primarily of a type treatment. The logos of IBM, Microsoft and Sony, for instance, use type treatments with a twist that makes them distinctive. Then there are logos that literally illustrate what a company does, such as when a house-painting company uses an illustration of a brush in its logo. And finally, there are abstract graphic symbols – such as Nike’s swoosh – that become linked to a company’s brand.
Before you begin sketching out your ideas, first articulate the message you want your logo to convey. Try writing a one-sentence image and mission statement to help focus your efforts. Stay true to this statement while creating your logo.
But that may not be enough to get you started. Here are some additional tactics and considerations that will help you create an appropriate company logo:
- Look at the logos of other businesses in your industry. Think about how you want to differentiate your logo from those of your competition.
- Focus on your message. Decide what you want to communicate about your company. Does it have a distinct personality – serious or lighthearted? What makes it unique in relation to your competition? What’s the nature of your current target audience?
- Make it clean and functional. Your logo should work as well on a business card as on the side of a truck. A good logo should be scalable, easy to reproduce, memorable and distinctive. And be sure to create a logo that can be reproduced in black and white so that it can be faxed, photocopied or used in a black-and-white ad as effectively as in color.
- Use your logo to illustrate your business’s key benefit. Sometimes a text treatment isn’t enough. Consider imagery that will give the viewer instant information as to what your company is about.
- Don’t use clip art. However tempting it may be, clip art can be copied too easily. Not only will original art make a more impressive statement about your company, but it will also set your business apart from others.
Hire a Designer
While brainstorming logo ideas by yourself is a crucial step in creating your business image, trying to create a logo completely on your own is a mistake. Small business owners on a tight budget should shop around for a designer. But don’t hire someone just because of his or her bargain price. Find a designer who’s familiar with your field … and with your competition.
Even if you have a good eye for color and a sense of what you want your logo to look like, you should still consult a professional designer. Why? They know whether or not a logo design will transfer easily into print or onto a sign, while you might come up with a beautiful design that can’t be transferred or would cost too much money to be printed. Your logo is the foundation of all your promotional materials, so this is one area where spending a little more now can really pay off later.
Using and Protecting Your Logo
Once you’ve produced a logo that embodies your company’s mission at a glance, make sure you trademark it to protect it from use by other companies. You can apply for a trademark at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website.
Then, once it’s protected, use it everywhere you can – on business cards, stationery, letterhead, brochures, ads, your website and any other place where you mention your company name. This will help build your image, raise your company’s visibility and, ideally, lead to more business.
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