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.
Before you begin sketching or learning how to design a logo, 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. Do your competitors use solid, conservative images, or flashy graphics and type? 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? These elements should play an important role in the overall design or redesign.
- 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. Icons are better than photographs, which may be indecipherable if enlarged or reduced significantly. 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 colour.
- Your business name will affect your logo design. If your business name is “D.C. Jewellers,” you may wish to use a classy, serif font to accent the letters (especially if your name features initials). For a company called “Lightning Bolt Printing,” the logo might feature some creative implementation of-you guessed it-a lightning bolt.
- Use your logo to illustrate your business’s key benefit. The best logos make an immediate statement with a picture or illustration, not words. The “Lightning Bolt Printing” logo, for example, may need to convey the business benefit of “ultra-fast, guaranteed printing services.” The lightning bolt image could be manipulated to suggest speed and assurance.
- 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’ll set your business apart from others.
- Avoid trendy looks. If you’re redesigning your old logo, you run the risk of confusing customers-or worse, alienating them. One option is to make gradual logo changes. According to Priester, Quaker Oats modified the Quaker man on its package over a 10-year period to avoid undermining customer confidence. But don’t plan to make multiple logo changes. Instead, choose a logo that will stay current for 10 to 20 years, perhaps longer. That’s the mark of a good design. In fact, when Priester designs a logo, he expects never to see that client again.
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.
Then, once it’s protected, use it everywhere you can-on business cards, stationery, letterhead, brochures, ads, your Web site 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.
Creating a logo sounds easy, doesn’t it? It can be. Just remember to keep your customers and the nature of your business in mind when you put it all together. In time, you’ll have succeeded in building equity in your trademark, and it will become a positive and recognisable symbol of your product or service.
Related: (Slideshow) 20 Brilliant Brand Logos
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Compiled from articles written by David Cotriss, Kim T. Gordon and Steve Nubie previously published on Entrepreneur.com, and from excerpts from Start Your Own Business .