Think it’s time for a new logo? Why…and Why Not?
There are the three reasons you may need a new logo:
1. You’re starting a new business
2. You’re doing business in a new way
3. You’ve changed the name of your business
One reason you don’t need a new identity? You’ve decided your business needs a new look. That’s just dressing up the same old business…making customers think you’re doing something different, when you’re not.
But if, in fact, you are starting a new business (or changed the name of your company or are doing business in a new way), your logo creation probably begins right after you 1) name the company and 2) get an appropriate URL. In other words, it’s the fun part: the part where a simple visual will be the identifier for your brand. The logo plays a pivotal role in any company – it’s the visual representation of a brand and will convey, in one quick peek, all the emotions, thoughts, connections, offerings, benefits and value of that particular brand.
Because a logo is so important, it’s crucial to spend the time and effort on creating a new identity. The design may end up looking simple, but a logo is serious business and should be approached methodically, with creativity but also with practicality in mind.
Before creating a new identity for your company, generate a brand positioning statement or brand profile that includes:
Your Brand Audience:
- What are their wants and needs?
- Will they have the budget for your offering?
- Where are they located (do you serve regional, national or global customers)?
- How will you reach your prospective customers — what media do they access; what events do they attend; will you meet them in-person or only virtually?
- Given what you know about your audience and what your brand offers, will your audience buy from you?
Your Brand Attributes:
- The Products or Services your company provides
- How you do business: Services or Products? Online or Brick & Mortar? A combination?
- What are the image, attitude and perception that you’d like to project? (Expensive or discounted? Serious or fun? Established or startup? Hip and trendy or Staid and Conservative?)
Your Brand “Big Idea”:
What’s your company’s differentiator? What do you offer that your competition does not offer?
The Logo Design Process:
Establish a deadline, determine available in-house personnel to manage the project and verify budget requirements (keep in mind that beyond creating a new logo, you may need to develop a style guide demonstrating the colors and usage of the logo, plus design and print new business cards and letterhead and apply the logo to existing online and print promotional vehicles).
Once you’ve determined your brand audience, defined your brand attributes and ascertained resources available, you’re ready to select and work with a graphic designer.
Finding a Logo Designer:
- Ask for referrals from friends and colleagues familiar with your industry
- Use the Internet to research potential designers (Behance.net showcases many design portfolios; Instagram and Pinterest are also valuable resources)
- While friends and relatives (and discounted online logo providers) may be available (and no doubt cheaper), you should hire a professional graphic designer. Their portfolio of samples, experience and expertise in designing identities will prove invaluable in your getting a well-designed identity that truly reflects your brand attributes.
Hiring a Logo Designer:
The designer you hire should be willing to review your current promotion, that of your competition, and the brand profile you’ve completed. You will want them to provide an initial design presentation (including exploration of several different directions and their reasoning behind each design); presentation of different type treatments; exploration of proposed color usage; at least one additional round of revisions to your favorite design(s) and delivery of final digital artwork of the logo (and any required type) in black & white and color in multiple file formats.
It’s also helpful to have the designer create several applications of your selected logo (for example, digitally show how it might look on packaging, a business card or the side of your company truck). Specify everything your designer will provide, for what budget and on what timeline – before you start. And of course, get it in writing.
Once you’ve hired your designer:
- Show them examples of logos that you like (and don’t like)
- Review, together, your brand audience, brand attributes and differentiator
- Be clear on any direction you provide
- Give timely feedback
- If you change direction, be prepared to pay for additional rounds of design
Tips for Good Logo Design:
Keep it Simple – logos need to reproduce and be readable at sizes from ½” to 20 feet; logos that have too much going on will not look good at all sizes (think about how your logo will look as an app button on your phone)
Orientation – a logo that fits in to a square outline is most versatile – going too vertical or too horizontal may limit its usage
Color – many studies have been done about color and its psychological effects on buyer perception and response; a combination of research, personal preference and the desired “feel” you’d like your brand to project all enter color choices
Your logo can reflect what your company does (hammer = construction) but is not required (think about the strong, identifiable brands of Target, Nike or Disney)
Logos can be an icon, a stylized typeface, or some variation with both
What’s your brand style? Will your logo’s look reflect the “attitude” or “perception” of the brand that is discussed earlier?
Readability also applies to the font you select to appear as part of your identity
Trendy or not? While it may be tempting to follow current design trends, it’s preferable to go with a design that will look good 5, 10 or 50 years from today
Memorable – when your logo pops up, viewers should immediately recognize it (this, of course, is a function both of design and marketing budgets)
- Do your market research (not just friends and family) – solicit opinions from others in your industry and on Facebook or Instagram
- To get quality feedback, try to recruit a dozen people who will spend some time answering questions about what appeals to them…and why (color, brand perception, memorability, etc.)
- Live with your new logo or top two to three designs for a few days (at least) and see what sticks
Think of your new logo as the visual ambassador for your business. It’s well worth it to spend the time, money and effort to make sure you’re company is well represented.
Are you ready for a new logo? Martha can help! Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based branding, marketing, content marketing and social media expert. Using traditional and online marketing strategies to start, grow and promote businesses, she works with startups, entrepreneurs and small- to medium-size companies. Martha is the author of the content marketing ebook: The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog.