1. Know What to Look For
Four Characteristics of a Great Logo (Inc.com)
- Its Timeless- for example, NBC’s logo is as stylish today as it was when the company was founded in the 1920s
- Unique- It is more important to stand out than to say everything with your logo. Starbuck’s logo has nothing to do with coffee, for example.
- Appropriate- If your clients are businesses, your logo needs to be professional. If your clients are hippies, your logo should be down-to-earth. Also, it is important to understand what your colors will say to your end-users.
- Adaptable- Your logo should be simple enough to look good printed on a business card, yet recognizable enough that people would recognize it on a 20 foot high billboard.
Eight things not to do when making a logo:
- Have your logo designed by an amateur.
- If you want your branding to be professional, hire a professional. Even if you have a great idea, you need somebody with printing expertise to make sure the design is adaptable to many different mediums. You also need somebody with strong skills in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop to create the graphic.
- The best logos are those that will be as well received ten years from now as they are today. Logo design trends change each year, which means a trendy logo will soon be out of style and you (as well as all your competitors that opted for a trendy look) will have to redesign.
- Having many colors on a logo makes it costly to put it on printed materials, t-shirts, mugs, billboards, and much more. It is important to consider all the potential ways you will be promoting your brand, and if you are willing to bear much higher printing costs for the sake of your multi-colored design.
- Ultimately, there will be situations where your logo appears in black and white.
Are you published in a newspaper? Making last minute copies for a
businesspartner? Faxing anything? To be ready for situations like these, you want a design that looks good in black and white, which usually means having a simple design without too many colors.
- Complex logos will be difficult to reproduce when printed or reproduced on a small scale. A good test of this is that you need to make sure your logo looks
good on a business card. Also,complex logos tend to not look as good in
black and white. Whileusing a gradient with your logo may look great on your website, it will print poorly on items like shirts and business cards.
- People see clip art every day, often as a part of a sleep-inducing PowerPoint presentation. This is not what you want your brand to be associated with. Your logo should be a unique identifier that people associate only with your business. In addition, because clip art is found everywhere, it is more difficult to get a trademark with a design based on clip art.
- This can get you in trouble for trademark infringement. It can also help their branding more than yours.
- Some designers say the font is the most important part of your logo, and it deserves meaningful attention and conversation between you and the graphic designer. This also requires some research. Generally, fonts when used as a logo are subject to any copyright restrictions placed on the font. Some fonts, such as Helvetica, are old enough that this copyright has expired and they are free for anybody to use. Even if you are planning to use one of these fonts, it is crucial that your designer know the intellectual property restrictions behind it, if any, and that they discuss these with you.
2. Know Yourself
Answer these questions to get started with brainstorming your logo. Answer every question, and as you do, sketch out potential logo designs.
- What is the mission of your business, in one sentence?
- Does your business have a slogan? If so, what is it?
- In one sentence, what is the single greatest benefit that people will get from your site?
- Who is your competition, and how are you different? You should highlight anything that differentiates you if you can.
- What is the personality of your business? (check all that apply)
- Something else: ________________
3. Know your competition
Research the logos of similar companies in your industry:
4. Follow Through
Two things to do after your logo is made:
- Put your logo everywhere- from business cards to shirts to letterhead. This is a crucial part of branding.
- Apply for a trademark to protect your logo- see http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/basics/index.jsp
-Guest written by Paul Collier