Being a small business owner and a designer, I am acutely aware of the need to have not only a brand but a logo (just one piece of the branding puzzle). Logos are more than just an image that you chose off the internet because it looked nice, is cheap, or you felt you just needed “something.” A logo is a symbol, a combination of text and images that represents you and your business so you need to be careful not to look like you threw lipstick on a pig and tried to pass it off as a princess (people will know…trust me). You want to set a good impression or at least a true one. My logo, for instance, is a combination of “I take my work seriously” with a dash of “but I am approachable and like to have fun.”
Logos do the following:
- Establish brand recognition
- Help consumers make decisions about your service, product or company
- Create an impression
- Communicate brand values and messages
- Separates you from the competition
- Shows professionalism and builds trust
Logos should pique customers’ interest. A logo does not need to be a direct representation of what you do or the services you offer. There is a whack of logos out there that don’t paint a picture of what the company does. Afterall what has a House Wren got to do with being a Virtual Assistant Company? Loyalty and meaning take time to build, they are part of your brand message, and if done correctly, consumers will identify certain brand traits and results when they see your logo. Combined with your brand message, everything your company does becomes a part of the logo and the brand.
“Logos are a graphic extension of the internal realities of a company,”
Before the logo, there must be a brand, a name, and it does not have to say what you do or offer. The brand gives the logo meaning. Think of Nike. The swoosh says nothing about what they do.” and what is a Nike anyways? But we have come to know the brand and know that the swoosh symbolizes movement and Nike is all about sports. The tagline supports and reinforces “Just Do It.” Put; your “brand” is what your customers think of when he or she hears your brand name. ( Jerry McLaughlin – Forbes)
Before the logo, you must have a clear brand strategy:
- Who is your target client?
- Research your target client
- How are you different, and why should consumers use you (Brand Position)?
- How will you speak to your audience (Messaging Strategy)?
- Develop a logo and a tagline to support (these are not your brand but a way for your brand to communicate, a symbol),
- How will you get the word out and build a name for yourself (Content Marketing Strategy)?
- Develop a website (conveys your brands’ message, tells people about you, what you do and who you serve)
- Hit Go! Implement it all and be sure you have a way to track it.
“A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around. “
– Paul Rand –
In some cases, like REALTORS, Mortgage Brokers etc.., you have a Brokerage or Company that you are a part of that has its own set of brand guidelines to follow., it is just as important, that you also have a personal brand to set you apart within your company and from your competition.
When designing your logo, or having one designed for you, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Be Different – Although they say, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” your logo is where you do not want to imitate. You need to stand out, and your logo must be about you, so your consumers don’t get confused.
- Hire A Professional – Please don’t try to save money by designing your logo unless you are a skilled designer. You want to ensure your logo represents your brand message. Your reputation and your brand are worth more than a cheap logo purchased off a website.
- Brand Guidelines – This is a document about how to use your logo, when to use it, which version to use, colours, fonts and more. Having a brand guide will ensure visual consistency.
- Multiple Uses – Be sure that your Logo can be used or deconstructed in various ways to accommodate a multitude of uses from signs, business cards, digital, favicons etc. It must work well, whether it is on a huge billboard or a pencil.
- Keep It Simple – Make sure that your text is crystal clear and easy to read and keep your colours simple.
Remember these tips when designing or having a logo designed for your company. A poorly designed logo will reflect badly on your company. If you need help designing a logo, you can reach us here. Or, if you would like more information on developing your brand, you can find more helpful information in our post Beyond A Logo: The Importance of Graphic Design In Attracting Customers To Your Brand.