Coca-Cola. Nike. Apple. Ford. McDonald’s.
While these recognized business logo designs have evolved over time, the graphic logos themselves have continued to serve as indicators of each company’s values and foundation. Consumers only need to catch a glimpse of the “Swoosh” to associate it with a Nike product. The apple logo may be naturally associated with your smart phone or MacBook and spotting the two golden arches that form an “M” may result in a sudden craving for a hamburger and fries.
What do these huge corporations with lavish advertising and marketing design budgets have to do with your need to design an effective business logo for your small or medium business? Simply put, small businesses can learn from the best and make their own mark in their communities.
There are basically three kinds of logos.
- Font-based logos consist primarily of a type treatment, such as Sony and IBM. Some have a flair that makes them distinctive.
- There are logos that illustrate what a company does. A company that sells fireplaces and wood burning stoves may include flame artwork and a business that provides landscaping services may feature a tree or flower.
- Lastly, there are abstract graphic symbols such as Nike’s Swoosh.
“Your logo is a visual representation of everything your company stands for,” a Marketing Bootcamp on Entrepreneur tells us. “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.” Gary Priester, principal of www.gwpirester.com, the Web arm of design firm The Black Point Group, believes customers should be able to tell what you do by just looking at your logo.
Let’s keep that in mind as we start this creative process.
First, it is important to articulate the message that you want your logo to convey. Do you have a logo now? If so, does it need to be spruced up or require a complete transformation? Refer to your company’s mission statement or write a brief image and mission statement. This will serve as a guide throughout the project. Entrepreneur.com offers a few other suggestions:
- Evaluate the logos of other businesses in your industry. How are local and regional competitors portraying their companies and brand? You’ll want to differentiate your logo from other businesses.
- Concentrate on your message. What makes you and your company unique and what do you want to communicate about your business?
- Keep the logo clean and functional. Elaborate logos often fall to the wayside. Remember, your logo will be a crucial to marketing your small business, appearing on business cards, possibly on a menu, an outdoor sign, in a print or online advertisement or painted on the side of a vehicle. Art icons are preferred over photographs.
- The business name will affect the design. A classy font may best portray your business. Or, you may end up with a logo with a sense of humor or a dramatic art element.
- Illustrate your company’s key benefit. Are you a one-stop-shop for services, a 24-hour operation or an exclusive provider? This is an opportunity to make an immediate statement with the design of your logo.
- Avoid clip art. Set yourself apart with original art.
- Stay away from trends. What is popular and trendy today may be uninteresting in a few years. Focus on the core strengths of your business.
- Balance color. Too many colors in a logo can result in printing and reproduction problems. Play with color, but keep it easy on the eye.
During this process, you may sketch out a few ideas and continue to collect samples of logos that have caught your attention. The next step is imperative - hire a designer. Ask business associates for references and consider local and regional resources. Whether you reside in a small town or a metro area, you should be able to find a talented designer who will work with you to create a logo for your business. You may want to interview a few different designers. Eventually, you may wish to trademark the logo to protect it from potential use by other companies.
“The visual identify of a logo can make or break a brand in the eyes of a discerning consumer,” writes Maria Cohn and Morgen Bromell in The 50 Most Iconic Brand Logos of All Time. “Seeing a logo triggers how you feel about a company and what they provide.”
Time to get the creative juices flowing and begin the exciting process of designing an effective logo for your business. No million-dollar marketing budget is needed, just the enthusiasm and readiness to put your awesome company in the spotlight with the right business logo design.