The logo is often one of the first things customers see. Whether on business cards, product packaging, marketing materials or your website, your logo should always be front and center.
And when you want to make a logo, you need to know that it’s more than just a pretty picture.
A well-executed logo will:
Make your business more memorable
Increase company awareness
Create an emotional bond with your customers
Separate your business from competitors
However, creating a logo is also a very big step, that should be well thought out.
“Your logo is the first thing people often see about your company,” says Bill DeSmet, a professional graphic designer and owner of Ballistic Designs, an award-winning graphic design company specializing in brand communications. “And they’ll use it to form an instant opinion about your business.”
In other words, it’s a serious endeavor – not some whimsical project. So, let’s look at some basic design considerations that can turn your logo into a winner.
Know yourself – and your audience
An effective logo starts by understanding your business and target audience. Think about what makes your company unique, and what captivates your audience.
“A logo is a personalized extension of yourself and your business,” says DeSmet. “But, you need to use that in a way that best entices your audience to buy your products or services.”
Be sure to research your competition to generate possible logo ideas. But don’t be a copycat. Stay true to what makes your business special. Remember, separating your company from your rivals is an integral part of intelligent logo design.
Choose your colors wisely
Simplicity rules when it comes to the number of colors in your logo.
Limiting your design to two or three colors allows your logo to more easily transfer to a variety of collateral options. Think about how it will look on business cards, postcards, stationery, labels, brochures, websites, banners, clothing and even mugs. Be aware – using more than that limits your applications.
What about color choices? Again, it pays to know your customers.
“Different people respond to different colors in different ways,” says DeSmet. “What may look great to you may not appeal at all to your target audience.”
For instance, softer colors – like pastels – could be ideal for a nail salon with a female-based audience. But they wouldn’t play well for a men’s suit store.
Another consideration is how the logo and its colors appear in different environments. There may be a shift between how it appears online, such as on your website or your email, versus on printed materials.
Color combinations also matter in terms of readability. Red and green may look wonderful as a backdrop on a Christmas card, but these contrasting colors on a business card are difficult to read. And, as DeSmet points out, unless you have a business that’s associated with a particular time of the year, it’s best to avoid colors with strong seasonal ties.
Consider typeface options
Logos come in three basic types: those with only a symbol, those with only a typeface, and those that contain both. The typeface or font used should reflect the personality of your business and engage your audience.
“Let’s say you own a quirky coffee house. A fun typeface like Sans Serif could be a good choice,” says DeSmet. “But, if you run a law firm, a more conservative font like Times New Roman or Garamond could be a smart option.”
By the way, many use the terms “font” and “typeface” interchangeably. But, there’s a fine distinction. A “font” is a collection of symbols and letters that make up a type “family.” While a “typeface” refers to a group of fonts within the same style. For example, you might select a Helvetica typeface for your business card, and use font options in bold and italic.
One final important decision
Should you design it yourself or hire someone? If your budget allows it, hiring a professional designer can be a worthwhile option.
If you’re looking for a more affordable route and feel like tapping into your inner designer, there are free and low-cost design tools online. These can help you channel your creativity and develop a logo that captures your uniqueness. Avery offers free software that allows you to personalize a free design or upload your own artwork in a few simple steps.
No matter which path you take, a logo can be a critical element of your marketing strategy. And it’s an investment in your business. When you make sound decisions with your logo design, it can pay off in many ways for years to come.