barbara bogue
barbara bogue 22 December 2016

How to Avoid Business Death from a Bad Logo

While it may see superfluous, the right logo can set your business apart and express your business brand. Don't underestimate this very important, yet often difficult step to launching your own business or enterprise, and ensuring your success.

My kingdom for a killer logo!

The right logo for your company and brand is valuable. But it shouldn’t cost you the kingdom. Nor should it be dirt cheap like you bought it at the corner dollar store. If your company is important to you, be sure to give your logo the respect and investment it deserves to be well designed, creative and appropriate for your audience and market. Your logo will help differentiate you from the competition so your customers will remember you.

So where do you start?

Do your homework. Every good business owner should have a business plan that details goals, investments and budgets. Likewise, your homework should include an understanding of who your customers are, who your competitors are, how you will advertise or outreach to your prospects and why they should buy from you versus the other guy. Believe it or not a graphic designer needs to understand all of this before putting pencil to paper. So, if you haven’t already, take a few minutes to write down answers to these questions.

  • What is your company name?
  • What do you sell?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What is your market? (business to business? business to consumer? industry?)
  • Who are your customers? (age, sex, demographics, job titles, traits, etc.)
  • What is their need, concern, pain?
  • How will you reach your prospects?
    • Where do they shop? Where do go online? What types of marketing will you do?
  • What is unique about your offering?
  • Why would customers choose you over a competitor?
  • What are your company values?
    • Think of three traits that describe your culture and/or product.
  • What is your tagline, positioning statement, elevator statement, mission statement?

The more ideas the better

Now that you’ve done your homework and delivered this information to your graphic designer, she will dive into what these answers look like in a visual way. When it comes to this stage, the more ideas the better. Initial concepts and solutions are usually more predictable and not as creatively unique. A designer must work past the obvious and find the sweet spot of originality and clarity. This takes time and exploration.

She’ll explore word-plays and word associations that fit with your company name. She’ll look at both typography and logo marks that combine to evoke meaning and emotion that is appropriate to your company or product. People buy things from people, so a logo bust represent a brand personality that people can learn to love. Never underestimate the power of the emotion behind the logo. Try and tweak and try again. The process is quantity before quality. However, the perfect solution must balance client budget with creativity. Not everyone can afford 100 hours of exploration!

From logo to brand palette

A logo must work in all sizes and applications so it’s best to start with simple black and white explorations. Once a concept is narrowed down to one or two ideas then color is explored and applied. Later, typography and textural elements like illustration and photography can be considered as part of the branding palette. How will these be combined? What style will everything have overall? How will taglines, headlines and supporting text he handled? Are there icons or product images that need to be styled, sourced, designed? The proposed logo will be applied to letterhead, business cards, website and signage to see how it will appear in application, along with all these supporting brand assets. Finally, once a conclusive decision is made, a brand style guide will help document all your decisions for future designers, advertisers and employees who will serve as future ambassadors of your brand.

Spend a few hundred or several thousands?

With all this exploration, it’s easy to see how costs for your logo can vary greatly. To determine what is realistic, a designer should know up front what you’re willing to invest so he can design accordingly. The stages described above can be condensed and truncated to keep costs down as needed. Good communication and focus will keep the project on track and within budget. Also, when evaluating what works and doesn’t work, be sure to keep your audience and market in mind. It’s them you are designing for, not yourself or your spouse. This will make design discussions less subjective and personal. The professional designer knows there are many ways to solve a given problem. Just be sure the problem is being considered when choosing the solution, not just “do I like it or not”. Keep feedback clear, focused and specific.

A good logo goes a long way

Your logo is the tool that can build longevity and loyalty for your company or product. It will likely last as long as your company does although it may need a refresh or redesign from time-to-time. Even the most prominent logos of all time have undergone updates and slight changes to better reflect modern design aesthetics. So be sure to give consideration to what your brand looks like over time and ask your designer if a refresh is in order.

Your logo is a wise investment to your business and your brand. When you faithfully adhere to your brand guidelines and mindfully reflect your brand attributes over time, your brand will thrive along with your bottom-line. So make wise choices now, and long live your logo!

Need a logo or a logo refresh?

Check out some of my logo designs from past projects and feel free to contact me for a free consultation or a brand audit.

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