Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Low-Down on Logos

Over the next few weeks, I will be focusing my posts on a six part series regarding logo design. Here goes...

Branding. It's currently a popular catch phrase, and can encompass the entire persona of a company, from the visual marketing to the employee uniform, even down to something as small as how the phones are answered. While a logo is just the tip of the branding iceberg, it is one of the most important visual aspects. A logo serves to set the tone of a company and starts to creates recognition among the market base.

For example, if you see a symbol of an apple, with a small chunk out of the right side, what company do you think of? Apple (or MACintosh), of course. But not only do you start thinking about ipods, iphones, or laptops, you also associate MAC with it's brand, or identity, and think technology, hip, trendy, cutting-edge. This is part of Brand Association, and shows how a simple logo mark can pretty much say everything about your company.

Sure, Mac has millions of dollars to spend on marketing and branding, how can you compete with that as a small business owner? The truth is, small businesses can brand themselves—and must, in order to stand out among the crowds! It all starts with a professional logo. If that logo is then used correctly and consistently in all marketing endeavors (such as business cards, brochures, ad campaigns, or even email signatures), people will start to recognize your logo. Then they will start to associate your logo with your company, your customer service, products, business ethics, etc. This is the start of your brand recognition — creating a reaction with a visual message.

Now that we've established how important a logo is and how it visually represents your company, let's talk about some of the important aspects of a logo, and why it's important to hire a professional.

Logo Tip #1: Warning: Don’t Try This At Home!
Having a computer with some design programs does not make you an identity designer! Hire a trained professional to create your logo design. Do research when selecting a designer. Make sure to review their portfolio, either online or in person, until you find one that best fits your business needs.

A professional will do research on your company, meet with you to get a better sense of your target audience, and will also research your competitors. All these factors will help produce a logo that is specifically tailored to your business, representing you. Hiring outside help also will give you a different perspective of your company. As designers we can see your business as a customer would see it, and will also learn how you view it internally. It's like getting the inside scoop from both sides.

And last, not only will a professional produce an eye-catching and creative logo mark, they'll also be able to produce your logo in all the necessary file formats. Maybe you just plan to use your logo on your website right now, but down the road you decide you want t-shirts made using the logo. These two usages require completely different file formats, sizes, and compressions in order to get maximum results. A professional will be able to think in the long-term, setting you up adequately for future use of your logo in a variety of different ways. (Trust me, this will save you from major headaches down the road)

Stay tuned for more logo tips!

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