On Logo Design
Why design a logo? A logo is a symbolic representation of your company. It’s instant recognition of your company in print, in ads, on web sites. Consistently brand your company with your logo and your company’s name will automatically leap to mind when people see your logo (think of the golden arches).
A logo also helps to establish credibility. Its use gives your company a professional appearance. It differentiates you from other similar companies, or companies with similar names. It needs to be unique, and not like any other logo. (See Bullet-Proof Logos: Creating Great Designs Which Avoid Legal Problems by David E. Carter)
The cost of your logo will vary with who is designing it for you. There can be a dramatic difference in what an on-line logo factory, a freelance designer, and a full-service agency will charge for logo creation. Which you choose will depend on your budget and desired outcome. There is a lot to be said for meeting face-to-face, so that the final art reflects your personality and that of your company. It will be important for your designer to research the competition, what are they using, what shapes, what colors? How is your company different? How can all of your company be represented in one small symbol? The final effort will need to be used consistently throughout your literature and communication pieces.
Points to consider:
- Keep it simple. Simplicity of line will allow it to be used easily across a spectrum of media, from business cards to promotional pens and mugs. It will also be more readily scaleable, fitting the usage from very small (the pens) to very large (billboards).
- Color for printing. One-to-two colors work best for print, keeping print costs down. Generally, it’s best to design the initial logo in black, and add color later. If it works in black, it will work in color.
- Color choice. If there is a color your company already uses predominantly, whether in communications or interior design, consider using this in your logo. But also consider changing color, based on what works well in your industry. People relate to colors differently, for example, warm colors increase appetite, cool colors are calming. To learn more about the psychology of color, check out Pantone’s article, The Psychology of Color.
- Consistency. Set up a style guide for the use of your logo. What exactly does it look like, what specific colors and fonts are used in it, how are graphics and fonts combined for a horizontal version? A vertical version? Or will there be one version? What colors can the logo be printed in, in a one-color piece, two-color, four-color? How does it look reversed out of color or black?
- Have your designer create logos for the different uses you need: fax, web, business card, etc. in Mac and PC formats.
Should we change our logo? One rule-of-thumb is that when a company has used a logo for five or more years, it’s an established brand and is best left alone. Think of the brands that have been around for years – Coca Cola, Arm & Hammer – the high recognition of these logos precludes them being changed. That said, updating your logo can give you a fresh image, and a reason to do a press release. If your brand is established in peoples’ minds, if they recognize you by your logo, then it’s best to tweak your logo and give it a mild face lift. Be wary of fads. Today’s grunge font may date your logo tomorrow. Keep it timeless, and again, simple.