How to Make a Business Logo
Making a business logo is one of the most important things your company will ever do. It's your company's first chance to make an impression. A good business logo should capture your company's essence. Your logo must convey your company's values. We all know iconic business logos like Nike or Apple. Understanding the principles of logo creation can also make your business logo memorable and effective.
Identifying your Brand
Figure out your company's values.The first step when creating a good logo is to understand your company's brand. Although a logo is just one way to communicate the brand, it is often thought of as the cornerstone of a company's brand. To create an effective logo, you need to understand very clearly what your company represents.
- Which emotions do you want people to feel when they see your logo? What are your company's core values? What vibe are you trying to create? What impression do you want people to have of your company? Answering these questions will help you determine your company's brand.
- One way to figure out your brand identity is to create a mood board. On it, place all images that come to mind when you think about your company.
- Write down the key words that describe your company. This is a good place to start when creating a logo too. The words can lead to logo ideas. Minimally, the logos should capture some sense of the words you pick because the logo and brand should reflect one another.
- Consider your company's history. Your company's story is part of its overall identity and brand. A good place to start when determining your brand is to remember your company's origins.
Find a unique selling proposition.Your brand should make you stand out from your competition. You don't want to blend in with everyone else. That's no way to sell a product.
- This is even more important when there are competitor companies that market a similar product to yours. You have to find a way to differentiate yourself from the pack.
- Figure out the single factor that makes you different from all of the rest. A unique selling proposition isn't many things. It's often one.
- Think beyond the product itself. The reason that iconic brands like American Express and Mercedes work is because they connote quality or great service, so people will pay more for their product.
Don't forget emotional response.It's important to determine the emotions that you want people to feel when they see your logo or think about your company's brand.
- A brand is a customer's "gut feeling" about your business. Virgin Airlines is an example of a company that has thrived by focusing on customer feelings and service.
- A brand means people would miss your product. It has meaning to them. Coca-cola connects people to their childhoods. In that way, the brand creates meaning to consumers that goes beyond the product's taste.
- A brand doesn't just encompass what you think about your company. It involves how customers feel about your company and communicate with each other about it. What customers think your brand is, is your brand. Customers choose Starbucks because of its cache and lifestyle promises, not just its coffee.
Do a SWOT analysis.You will want to figure out everything about your company's position in the marketplace. SWOT is a technique that was developed by business experts in the 1960s to help businesses come up with a concrete action plan to improve their practices.Four key aspects make up a SWOT analysis.
- One computer company CEO says his company does the SWOT analysis each quarter. The company uses collective knowledge by involving all employees in the analysis, and the CEO believes the analysis helps the company spot blind spots. Other companies use SWOT analysis as part of the strategic planning process. Sometimes companies will gather employees for a brainstorming session that uses the four-step SWOT analysis. Doing a SWOT analysis can help you figure out how to brand and position your company in your logo.
- The first two elements of the SWOT analysis are internal factors faced by a company. The second two are external.
- What are your company's strengths? This is the first question in a SWOT analysis. Be realistic when you assess your company's strengths and consider competition when doing so. Branding, pricing, and other location are elements that are often considered.
- What are its weaknesses? Don't focus too much on gray areas. You don't want to have too much complexity in a SOT analysis.
- What threats does it face? This is the third part of the SWOT analysis, and it focuses on customers and competition, as well as any other external threats.
- What opportunities exist?
Choosing your Logo Type
Use a wordmark (text) logo.One of the simplest, but most common, logos, this type uses only text, often with a unique font that captures the company's vibe. Think You Tube or Microsoft. These logos put the company name front and center.
- Text logos are very common with Fortune 500 companies. The challenge is making sure they're not boring. However, wordmark logos will help brand your company because they focus on the company's name.
- Text logos are easy to reproduce in marketing materials.
- Don't choose a text logo if your company's name is too common. Google uses a text logo because its name is unusual and thus memorable.
- Be careful to space the letters properly. This is called "kerning" in the industry.
- Choosing the font carefully helps capture your company's feel. Serif fonts are considered more traditional, and san-serif fonts are modern. Pick a font that conveys your company's attitude.
- You can purchase fonts on the Internet or find free versions. I you don't feel comfortable making the logo yourself, though, you could hire a marketing or PR company that will do it for you.
- If you need a logo fast, a wordmark logo is the way to go. It's simplest.
- Text logos won't work well for companies that market in countries without the Latin alphabet.
Use a lettermark logo.Lettermark logos also contain only text, but they showcase your company's initials instead of its full name. CNN and IBM are companies that use lettermark logos.
- Lettermark logos are a good choice if your company name is very long or technical.
- Small products without much space for branding often use lettermark logos.
- It can take time and investment to educate consumers about your initials, so don't pick a lettermark logo if you don't have the ability to do so.
- Sometimes companies decide to rebrand themselves by using a lettermark logo. Think KFC.
Pick a brandmark logo.These logos are sometimes called symbol or icon logos instead. They are what they sound like: They don't use words at all. They choose to brand a company with a symbol alone.
- Companies with long or technical names might benefit from using a brandmark logo.
- One study found that only 6 percent of companies used a brandmark logo..
- People often remember symbols better than they do words. For some companies, brandmark logos have proven very effective. Who doesn't know the Nike swoosh?
- Unlike text logos, brandmark logos can be open to multiple interpretations. So choose the symbol carefully, and consider different meanings.
Select a combination mark.Some logos use both text and symbols to convey their brand. These logos can capture some of the benefits of each of the two logo types.
- The text in a combination logo can help clarify the meaning of the symbol.
- In combination logos, the text and symbols usually stand separately.
- Red Lobster is an example of a company that uses a combination mark.
- Symbols can create deeper emotional reactions than words. So think your symbol choice through carefully.
- An emblem logo places the text inside of a symbol. Thus, an emblem is a form of a combination logo.
- Emblem logos are sometimes called shield logos.
- Emblem logos convey tradition and stability, so they are great for family-owned companies.
- The car manufacturer Ford and coffeehouse Starbucks are examples of companies that use emblem logos.
Considering Other Elements
Determine your budget.This matters when it comes to choosing a logo type. Can you afford colors? How much money can you really afford to spend on this? However, a logo is too important to mess up by going too cheap.
- Don't use short cuts. Your logo can make all of the difference whether your company succeeds or fails. So spend some time and money on it.
- Clipart is rarely a good idea. It won't be unique because it's used by many people. And it makes your company look cheap.
- It takes a lot of advertising money to make the public understand what a symbol logo stands for.
Be creative.Logos don't have to communicate exactly what a company does. For example, McDonalds' logo is not a hamburger, and Nike's logo is not a shoe.
- Don't use cliches. You want your logo to be creative, not corny. If your company logo contains a cliche, it won't create the proper feeling in consumers.
- Consider custom lettering. You don't have to use the same old cliched fonts that everyone picks. You can create custom letters that will give your logo real flair.
- Basing your logo on a trend is dangerous because trends can change fast. You want your logo to be durable. UPS is an example of a company that doesn't rely on trends to succeed with its brand. After all, its basic color is brown. But the company is known for reliability, and that works.
- Leaving out concrete, literal details can allow a company to go in new branding directions if needed.
- Apple's logo works because the company makes many different products. If the logo was a PC, for example, it would be hard to place on an iPod.
Choose color carefully.Be aware that different colors provoke different emotions and meanings. So research colors, and pick them with caution. Make sure they fit into your entire branding identity.
- Colors should be next to each other on the color wheel. Avoid bright colors that hurt the eyes.
- Pick your colors last. They shouldn't be the driving force of your logo. For this reason, designers often make the logo in black-and-white first.
- Consider contrast. You want a logo with tonal variation. This will help your logo stand out from others.
- Business logos often consist of only one or two colors.
Go simple.The most iconic logos are often those with greatest simplicity. Apple always comes to mind because it's a very simple logo that almost everyone knows.
- Logos are not meant to explain. They are supposed to convey immediate meaning or recognition.
- Typically, logos should only have one or two fonts or they will be distracting.
Choose size carefully.The problem with cluttered logos with too much going on is that they can look terrible with very small logos. Remember that your logo will probably have to work in different sizes.
- Try printing the logo on an envelope to see how it translates with a smaller size. It should not lose quality.
- Figure out where the logo will run. The logo should work on business cards and sides of company trucks too, if applicable. The type of company you have and the audience it serves can help you determine the kind of logo you need.
Trademarking your Logo
Search the trademark database.You can protect your logo by registering it as a trademark. This means that another company won't be able to use a similar logo, confusing your customers. First, you need to figure out if another company already has your logo trademarked.
- A trademark legally means your "intellectual property." You can hire a trademark attorney to do the search.
- It's possible to search the U.S. government's trademark database online.
- One benefit of registering a trademark is that other companies will be deterred from using your logo, and you will have exclusive rights nationwide to use it.
Register your Trademark.Once you are satisfied another company doesn't have your logo, you can apply to register it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
- You will need to clearly spell out the products and services you offer.
- You will have to provide a sketch or picture of your logo.
- If you only do business in one state, you could register your trademark through your Secretary of State office instead, but that won't give you national protection.
Create a trademark watch.Having a trademark doesn't mean much if you don't keep an eye out for violations of it. There are companies that will do a trademark watch for you.
- If you find a violator, you can send them a cease and desist letter. If that doesn't work, you may need to consider a lawsuit.
- A trademark watch means you are notified when someone uses a logo too close to your trademark.
Do you have to choose the size of your cards even as a kid?
Video: How to Create an Iconic Logo
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