When you think of great logos, companies like Nike, Target, Apple, Microsoft, Volkswagen, and Starbucks come to mind. While most of these brands have altered their logo over the years, they have all succeeded in creating logos that are instantly recognizable and carry the meaning of their brand well. As part of our small business marketing efforts, we all want to achieve standout branding. Creating a strong logo has the power to do just that. To create a logo with long lasting staying power and impact requires initiative and planning; it’s not just something you throw together on a whim. Before you begin making your company logo, keep the following key areas in mind.
Longevity and relevance. The goal of your company logo is create something that will be recognizable and represent your brand in a positive way for a long time and be marketable on a variety of levels. Brands will change their logos as the business evolves but the memorable ones generally preserve some of the same elements of the original logo design.
State your name. Be sure to include your company name. While some of the major brands like Apple and Starbucks have dropped the name from their logo, they didn’t start out this way. The only reason removing the company name from logos works for certain companies is because they’ve already obtained global recognition. Your small business isn’t there… yet.
Sub Marks. The benefit of having sub marks is that you can use these elements across all your marketing materials like marketing brochures, business cards, direct mailings, and so on. When creating these sub marks, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Use recognizable design elements. Each subsequent mark of the original logo should include recognizable brand and logo elements.
- Use the same color palette. You should always use the same color palette across all your marketing materials.
- Use the same fonts and patterns. They way in which these elements are put together don’t have to be the same but they should draw from the same fonts and patterns of the main logo.
- Standalone test. Above all, secondary and tertiary marks should be able to stand alone and represent your brand wherever they are placed. You should be able to recognize your brand from these elements when they are used independently.
Text and Taglines. Add text and taglines only if it really adds to the distinguishing branding of your product or service. It would be a good investment to hire a professional copywriter for this task. Taglines that really stick are short and to the point. They also make a clear statement about the product. Some of the most memorable branding taglines include Just Do It (Nike), Got Milk? (California Milk Processor Board), The Ultimate Driving Machine (BMW), and A Diamond Is Forever (DeBeers). These taglines have a great impact because they are simple and concise. When placed with the company logo the impact is even greater.
Professional or DIY. As you think about designing your logo, you should definitely evaluate the benefits of hiring a professional designer. You do not want to pull from clip art for your logo! A little time and money invested initially will pay off. If you can budget it, hire a professional. DIY can be a money saving effort but not if the end result leaves your logo looking amateur.
Creating a stand out logo is imperative to your small business branding. Don’t rush it. Allow for revisions and variations to be reviewed. Since you only get one first impression, you want that impression to be positive and memorable. Go ahead and make your presence known! Get your brand out there and let it shine.
Nancy Arnold is a Seattle area blogger who writes about small business marketing and startup life. You can find her enjoying the sun when it is out and going on adventures with her family in her free time.