Your logo, the visual basis of your company's image, is more important than you might think. What your logo "says" to potential customers means a lot. It tells them whether or not you're competent and professional and it tells them what your company stands for.
Your logo can emphasize key benefits that you want your customers to know about you, your product or your service. For example, do you want to be known as getting the job done fast like a delivery service? Or perhaps you want to stress quality as your main benefit like a fine restaurant? Whatever association you want your company to project, your logo is likely to make that first impression.
There are basically three kinds of logos:
1. Font-based (with only text) such as Coke or FedEx
2. Illustration (a graphic, with or without text) such as the Morton Salt "Umbrella Girl"
3. Symbols such as the Nike "swoosh"
Stand Out in the Crowd
Ideally, a logo will differentiate you from your competition. It should communicate your unique benefits. What do you want your logo to say about you? What impression do you want it to make with your potential customers?
From Business Cards to Billboards
Keep in mind that your logo should work equally well in both large and small media. It should look just as good on a business card as it does on a billboard, on the web as it does in print. Although you may be inclined to use a rainbow of colors for emphasis, it's advisable to stick with just two colors but no more than three. This is cost effective as well as providing optimum presentation. Full color printing is expensive. And remember, black is considered a color in the print world. A simple, clean, concise look goes a long way.
Don't Try This at Home, Kids
Hiring a professional graphic designer is your best bet to design a custom, attractive, captivating logo. When searching for a designer, don't opt for the lowest quote; look at their examples and see if you like their style. Additionally, look for a designer with experience designing logos in your industry. They have done their research to find out what works and what doesn't in your target market. Since a logo should last you at least a decade, don't skimp on this very important aspect of your branding. Find the best and pay for the quality you need.
Once you've got your logo, trademark it. This can be as simple as using the TM or SM (Service Mark) symbol in conjunction with your logo. For a more legally binding process, visit the U.S. government's trademarking website at http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm.
Use it on Everything, Everywhere
Once you have your logo designed, start using it on everything, everywhere! Visibility is key. You want that design to become associated with your company so use it on all advertising and communication - on the web, in print, everywhere!
Redesigning Your Current Logo?
One word of caution for those of you considering a logo redesign: do it gradually. Most likely, your logo has become associated with your business - and even though we all need to update our look after many years - don't make your change so drastic and so sudden that it loses its association with your business. Just as a name builds goodwill, so does your branding and you don't want to lose that. Make small changes such as with the color and gradually make the transformation complete - over time.
Whatever type of logo you choose, ultimately you want it positively linked to your company emphasizing your best features. Give some serious consideration when having your logo designed; you'll be glad you did once it becomes identified with your company's benefits and clients know who to go to for your specific product or service.