How Do You Create a Logo for Your New Business that Customers and Prospects Will Remember?

When you create a logo for your company, it is likely to represent you for many years to come; do not skimp on the creativity and effort that you apply to it. That is not to say that you have to spend a huge amount of money when you design a logo but you do need to apply yourself in order to get the best that you can. Even the small home business should use an excellently done logo so that old customers and new prospects recognize you.

A common and effective approach is to work with a local design firm where you can meet in person with the designer and go over concepts you have in mind and get feedback from him or her on your ideas while you give feedback on theirs. Typically, the designer will get back to you with a number of concepts. If one impresses you, it will be refined and finished. If you don’t like any of them, it is back to the drawing board, literally, to come up with new designs to create a logo.

You can work with a designer to create a logo on a per-project or an hourly basis. When you create a logo on a per project basis it will typically include a certain number of revisions. If the job requires more revisions, that will be billed separately. If you arrange for a newly designed logo on an hourly basis that can wind up being a more expensive proposition, unless you put a "not-to-exceed" dollar amount in a letter of agreement. Sometimes, when a contractor charges by the hour, they may low-ball their hourly rate only to hit you at the end of the job with an unusually high number of hours. One other thing about working with a designer is that there should be a "work-for-hire" clause in the contract so that you have total ownership of the logo design and freedom to use it any way you wish once it is completed. You may want to consult a legal professional on this. Typically, when you are fleshing out two or three designs, you will own only one. The designer retains ownership of the other designs.

Online Resources to Create a Logo

There are also many online resources for getting logos created. We have dealt with some and although their rate was completely reasonable, we felt that the amount of time between revisions was completely intolerable. A simple logo that could have been designed, commented on and finished in five days took three months. If you use one of these services, make sure there is agreement on turnaround time and consequences for not adhering to a reasonable deadline.

Steps to Take to Create a Logo

With that in mind, here are some suggested steps for creating your own logo or coming up with creative ideas for a more skilled person to create your logo.

1. Go to Google or another excellent search engine, click on the images tab and type in "logos" or "business logos." Check through the images that are retrieved. Chances are you will see scores if not hundreds of logos from big companies and sports franchises. You can also go directly to a company or sports franchise website to see their specific logo. These big companies have spent literally millions of dollars to create a logo, employing the best designers to come up with these magnificent designs. We bet you will find a satisfying design concept right there for your new logo. To see a collection of very different logos, check out the Superman logo, the Apple logo, the Nike logo, the Jordan logo, the Harley Davidson logo, the Pittsburgh Steelers logo, the Adidas logo, the Metalllics logo, the BMW logo, the Pepsi logo and the Honda logo to name just a few. Familiar aren’t they? What appeals to you about them? What emotions are aroused when you look at them? Now look at companies that use just typefaces and perhaps a splash of color in their logos such as Google, Exxon, Disney, Wells Fargo, SONY, Dell, CNN, WebMD, TIME, Ebay, HBO, JVC, Mobil to name just a few. These logos take various approaches and you can learn a lot by studying them. We are not saying to replicate the Batman logo, for example, but rather analyze how they impress you and what you like and dislike about them.

2. Use the KISS approach when designing a logo for your own company—Keep It Simple Stupid. A busy logo can wind up looking amateurish and give your entire new business venture a look and feel of a beginner. Some of the logos that you looked at above are busy and perhaps even old fashion but they are recognizable and people respond to them as they are. On the other hand, many of the most prominent companies have logos that are extraordinarily simple. Look at the SONY logo. It is as simple as can be but who does not recognize it? These logos are simple, clean, confident.

If you wish to experiment in creating your own logo, check out a great website called VistaPrint. Type in your company name or company initials like "HBO" and VistaPrint will furnish you with about 20 plus logo designs. We frankly like the clean, crisp logos that are produced n this website. If you like what you see, you can buy the logo from VistaPrint for only a few dollars. Many websites on the internet produce clunky logos that are about as impressive as a middle school art student’s attempt at logo design.

3. While you are looking for a good, simple logo design, be thinking about a tag line to go with your logo. We have always loved You are in good hands with Allstate. It really says it all for an insurance company. We also like Bounty, the quicker picker upper. That tells you want you need to know about a paper towel, doesn’t it? Don’t confuse a tag line with a slogan. The tag line can go with your logo, while the slogan would be used in an advertising campaign. If you cannot think of the right tag line for your company, don’t worry about it and don’t force it. Once again, an amateurish tag line is incredibly negative while no tag line at all is neither a negative nor a positive. We visited an island for vacation and on that island is a company that cleans cesspools for a living. Its trucks have no tag line and not much of a logo but the name itself is totally memorable—R. Brown Septic!

4. Look at the logos of your competitors and ask yourself, what do they convey? Do you want to convey the same thing or something different? Are all of the logos in your business conservative, have a lot of flash, or do they look technical? In the swimming pool construction and service business, for example, many logos feature swimming pool blue-green color in the logo. Would you want to be just another blue-green logo, or do you want to go in a different direction?

5. While on the subject of color, color has a lot of meaning and emotion attached to it. Use it wisely. What do different colors express to you? It is generally believed that: red expresses action, confidence; pink expresses love, beauty; brown expresses convention and order; orange expresses endurance and vitality; gold expresses wealth, prosperity; yellow expresses intellect, wisdom; green expresses life and nature; blue expresses youth and peace; purple expresses royalty and magic; indigo expresses deep contemplation and meditation; white expresses purity and fresh beginnings; grey expresses expectation and restlessness; and black expresses authority and power. (While on the subject of color, be careful how many colors you add to your logo. The more color, the more expensive it is to print. If you have five colors in your logo, it will need to go through the printer five times per sheet for your letterhead, envelopes and invoices. That’s expensive!

6. Be careful when selecting typefaces for logos. When looking at the companies mentioned above, many use just typefaces but in a distinctive manner such as HBO and Dell. Type, by the way, is one of probably three ways that logos get done. The other two ways are to use a symbol with type. A typical example might be if you were launching a house painting business, you might have the name Smith House Painting and then a symbol, such as a paint brush or a can of paint. The third way logos get done would be a graphic symbol. In the previous example of Smith House Painting, the graphic symbol might be a multi-color splash of paint. These graphic symbols mean little or nothing until the company becomes linked to it. A great example of a company forever linked to its symbol is Nike. Another is Apple. Look at them. Even without the name of the companies, the symbols are recognized around the world. (If you opt to go with a symbol or graphic symbol, do not use clip art under any circumstances. It can and will be copied. If you decide to go with a symbol, have a designer or artist make an original for you. You do not want to start your house painting business only to find that three other painters in the area are using the same paint can symbol of their business cards!)

7. Make sure whatever you come up with for your logo that it has flexibility because it must play a lot of parts. Your logo has to look good on your website and business cards. It has to go well on a printed brochure as well as stationery and invoices. It even has to look good on signs. Therefore, keep it simple and distinctive.

8. Speaking of flexibility, your logo needs to be delivered to you in a variety of formats. That way, in the future, printers, designers and web designers have the flexibility to use your logo in the format that they need such a TIFF or GIF. When you create a logo, make several copies of them on CDs and store them safely in different locations such as your office and your home (if they are different locations). You will use your logo for a long time and you need the originals to work with. If there is only one copy, fire, theft, water damage could destroy your only copy.

9. Your business and business name will affect the manner in which you create a logo. If you are opening up a financial advisory firm for wealthy retired individuals, you would do well to have a very classy typeface with gold somewhere in the logo. If you are opening up a golf pro shop, you will probably have a golf bag or golf club somewhere in the logo with a more relaxed, laid back typeface. Let your business suggest what you need.

10. Some experts feel that when you create a logo, it should express a key benefit of doing business with the company. If you want to take that direction, try to develop a name that offers a key benefit such as “Healthy Choices” meals or “Thrifty Car Rental” or “Best Buy.”

11. When you create a logo, plan to keep it for decades, which means you need to keep any pop culture references out of the logo. A pop culture reference will be widely understood today but in just a few years, it will most likely be lost on most people looking at it. Your best bet is to do something classic and unique in your logo.

Find Out More About How to Create a Logo for Your New Start up Business

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