Ten Things to Consider When Creating Your Company Logo

Your company logo is a vital part of your company, giving the outside a world an instant visual impression of your brand, but it’s not easy conjuring an image that captures your vision and emphasises your company’s strengths.

Every entrepreneur has a picture in their own head of what their company stands for, but it can be difficult to capture your idea on paper, or to convey it to a logo designer.

Here are ten things to consider when starting to think about your company logo, to ensure the end result does you and your company justice .

Get the proposition right
Getting the proposition and wording right before you do anything else will save you time and money in the long run. Is there something unique or interesting in your business’s history or some importance or meaning behind the business name you’ve chosen? Is there anything quirky or interesting you can tell your designer that may spark an idea? If you’ve got an answer to one of these questions it could feature in your new logo.

Be very clear about how you compare and differ to your competitors and try to come up with a short succinct statement that describes exactly what you do and why people should use you.

Include a strapline – good or bad idea?
Imagine you are talking to a prospective customer, what language would you use and how would you describe your business? Try to distil this down to a few words, the fewer the better. It should really sum up your business proposition. A good example of this is the innocent logo and its strapline, little tasty drinks.

You’ll notice that most well established companies don’t have a strapline. Some, like Apple and Nike, remove the company name altogether and only have a symbol or image.

However, as a small business, with little brand heritage, it can really help to have a few key words to reinforce the message you’re looking to convey.

TOP TIP: Don’t make claims that are over the top

Start-up businesses have a tendency to make claims that are unsubstantiated. Things like ‘The World’s Leading’ or ‘The UK’s Best’. If that is true you don’t need to say it. Rather concentrate on the essence of your business. Use your 3 or 4 words simply and wisely.

Think about your values

Something as simple as deciding to use lowercase lettering can say a lot about your business.

Using lowercase can suggest a friendly, accessible and fun company. Professional services on the other hand may well use capital letters for authority and consultants tend to use the founder’s initials as they are the business. Make a list of your values, then pare that back to the 1 or 2 most important words and explain your reasoning to your designer.

Choosing colours for your logo

Colour selection can make or break a logo design. More often than not it is a good idea to stick to two or three colours for your logo.

Colours are a great tool to help develop the mood and feeling that you want your business to portray. Your designer will have a really good idea what colours will suit the mood and message you want to convey.

Put the emphasis in the right place
Perhaps there is one word in your company name that’s far more important than the others. If that’s the case your designer can make it bigger, bolder or brighter in colour than the other words, drawing the eye to the important part.

Choosing a typeface
Each style of font can convey a different feeling or message and there are hundreds of fonts.  Looking at the fonts stored on your computer is a good start, and there are many websites you can easily locate on the internet that will help you identify a style of font. However, I would leave this job to your designer. Ask them to pick out a few styles based on your brief and take it from there.

Does a logo have to have a symbol?
You don’t always need to have a symbol or icon in your logo. Some businesses find the icon can be helpful to visually depict the industry sector; for example, a bakery may use an image of a cake. Others may go for an abstract image that can be used across all marketing materials to display the brand without always using the whole logo.

It can look equally professional just to have your logo made up of a word mark. There is a lot of power in the written word, and certain enhancements and effects can be applied to make it more interesting and stylised.

Think about where your logo will be used
The size and configuration of the logo will dictate how it is used across different media. This basically means how it will ‘fit’ on all your different types of  collateral such as, letterheads, website, merchandise, shop frontage, banners, print adverts and work vehicles to name just a few. Let your designer know the main uses of your logo and they will make sure it works in different sizes.

Keep it consistent

To ensure consistency, once you’ve taken receipt of your final logo it’s a good idea to ask your designer for some logo guidelines.

What I’m suggesting is a few key details that you can pass onto another designer to keep any future materials you produce consistent with your logo. As a minimum you should ask for the colour references for print (CMYK) and web (RGB) and the font(s) used in your logo. Any decent logo designer will provide you with this free of charge. In addition, you might like to ask for a black and white version of your logo and multiple different file formats jpeg, gif, pdf and eps are the main ones. I explain more about file formats on my website.

Remember a consistent visual identity promotes reliability, strength and trust.

What should you pay for logo design?
Cost for logo design varies hugely. A logo design can range in price from £50 to £500 for a pretty standard online package, or stretch into the thousands if you decide to use a branding agency. It then comes down to personal preference, and budget. There’s no right or wrong answer. Just as you would select any supplier I recommend talking to the designer, checking out their work and seeking testimonials before committing to payment.

Designers are trained in what they do, just as you are. So trust them to come up with ideas and keep an open mind. It’s great to be surprised by a design that’s better than the image in your mind’s eye.

For the past 7 years Lucy Smith has worked with start-ups and small businesses, providing information to help them succeed. Taking this one step further, Lucy is now part of the team at Small Business Logos, a design service for start-ups and small business owners, giving new businesses the start in life they deserve by creating memorable logos.

Simone, this was an informative article about company logos as addressed by Lucy.
Lucy talked about the strapline as part of a logo and that it can really help to have a few key words to reinforce the message you want to convey.
We are now living in an era that most companies have an online side, or they can be 100% internet based. We see online companies that use offline methods to design their logos. Are the rules the same?
Given the fact that search engines cannot "read" image-based logos, isn't it wiser to move to text-based logos?
Also, they have found that online sales conversions increase when the logo is not a prominent part of the webpage. Are we moving into a new era of company logos?
Mariella Lombardi

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