This is the first blog in a series that discusses the importance of logo design for the small business and some best practices in finding the right voice for your logo. Do you know what your logo should say about you?
“All I need is a logo!”, Maybe you’ve said it or you’ve even thought it. “After all once I have a logo for my business I have something I can put on my website, business cards, packaging, signage, social media pages and letterhead. Once I have a logo I can brand everything easily.” This is a common misconception about the role and use of a logo that is often made when it comes to starting a business brand.
Your logo is the identifier under which your business operates. It’s like the flag of your own personal country complete with its own culture, beliefs and supporters.
In business your budget is always top of mind, and the things that don’t immediately improve the bottom line don’t usually get a large portion of the operating budget. After all, businesses are meant to make money, and more money can be dedicated to design once it is there to spend, am I right? Not quite. This way of thinking can be counter-productive and could lead to a logo that is created in haste and regretted soon thereafter. Logos created with limited thought can appear cheap and tarnish a reputation that is just developing. The saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” rings true for businesses as much as it does for people. Your logo can make a good lasting impression and give you some credibility if you take care to make sure it is saying the right thing about your business from the very beginning. It is also important to understand that your brand is so much more than your logo but starting your business conversation with a carefully executed logo can speak volumes about your brand.
People make inferences about the world around them on a daily basis. Big businesses will sometimes take advantage of the psychology of colour and environmental psychology when developing visuals, storefronts and graphic identities. They will use personality and social psychology to make decisions on messaging, experiential and interactive design. Big businesses usually have the teams and resources to make a positive and lasting first impression. However, most small businesses and startups don’t have the luxury of conducting exhaustive surveys and beta tests before making decisions. Often times in a small business it is one person taking responsibility for all of the decision making. Weighing the pros and cons of every situation and taking stock of time spent on tasks that aren't directly making money. Small businesses often don’t have the funds to hire an agency to help them with their design and marketing challenges neither. This shouldn’t mean things are developed by chance in a vacuum. What it does mean is small businesses have to find cost effective ways to develop things such as logos. While I would advocate engaging the services of a seasoned graphic designer, there are ways of limiting your costs when employing a contractor’s services. Good research and the opinions of other professionals you trust can be a cost effective way to start to develop a logo that has the character you intend to put forward. Researching on the web is the first step but should not be your last. Exploring design magazines, and books in your local book store or library can open your eyes to the possibilities that are out there and give you ideas for how you want your logo to represent your business. Doing your homework can help you when you need to involve a graphic design expert because you will have done much of the legwork necessary in developing well thought out concepts and ideas. Honest criticism is key. If you can’t count on someone to have a different opinion than yours from time to time then an exercise in finding your logo’s voice will be fruitless.
Your logo is the identifier under which your business operates. It’s like the flag of your own personal country complete with its own culture, beliefs and supporters. It should speak volumes about your purpose, knowledge, character and ability to communicate as a business. Your logo tells the world what kind of business you run and what kind of business you aspire to create. It is for all these reasons that extra care and effort should be taken when approaching logo design. Stay tuned for the next blog What does your logo say about you? Insight ONE: My logo says “I am deliberate and purposeful”