Creating a Logo «
Your logo is an aesthetic expression of everything your company upholds as an official establishment. A good company logo reinforces your product to budding customers and partners alike. A powerful logo can build allegiance between your business and your customers, boost brand identity, and present the professional aspect of an established enterprise.
» Types of Logo's
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 unique. 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. Lastly, there are abstract graphic symbols-such as Nike's swoosh-that become linked to a company's brand.
Basic Logo Protocol «
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. Listed below 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 typeface? 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 color.
► Your business name will affect your logo design.
If your business name is "D.C. Jewelers," 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.
► Watch Your Colors
One thing you need to be careful of as you explore color options is cost. Your five-color logo may be gorgeous, but once it comes time to produce it on stationery, the price won't be so attractive. Nor will it work in mediums that only allow one or two colors. Try not to exceed three colors unless you decide it's absolutely necessary.
Your logo can appear on a variety of media: signage, advertising, stationery, delivery vehicles and packaging, to name just a few. Remember that some of those applications have production limitations. Make sure you do a color study. Look at your logo in one-, two- and three-color versions.
» 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 Web site.
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.