When my daughter was learning to talk, her first word was “ball.” Her second word was “star” and she found stars everywhere. I remember her tiny index finger pointing to an even tinier star on a printed page. She was pointing to a logo and a consumer was born!

Pre-iMac Apple logo

If your business doesn’t have a logo, wouldn’t you like that kind of visual recognition that even a two-year-old understands? Or do you have a logo that needs an update?

Let’s look at a few design lessons from big corporate citizens. Apple’s original rainbow logo (c. 1976) was simplified to gain greater reproducibility. In 2015 Google changed its font to make it more readable in smaller sizes. Current logo trends are to use less shading, less drop shadow, less bling.

Google logo
Google san serif

So where does your company logo go from here?

WHERE WILL YOU USE IT?  Online! My work with website and social media content has taught me that many logo designs just don’t work well in the boxes and circles provided by online templates. A long horizontal logo can appear tiny or be cropped when used as a profile picture. Having a text-heavy design is often part of this problem. For solutions, check out this article on social media and logos.

What’s Nike without the swoosh?

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? A good design doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Perhaps the most famous logo design–the Nike swoosh–is exceptionally simple and cost the company just $35 in 1971. Co-founder Phil Knight hired college design student Carolyn Davidson to do some work for the company and she wound up designing the Nike logo.

You can spend a small fortune on logo design, but you don’t have to. (Want to know the cost of other famous logos?) Perhaps the better question is how much is lack of visual recognition costing you?

yelp placeholder
Yelp.com placeholder image

WHAT ELSE IS OUT THERE? It’s good to be familiar with the logos that appear in your geographic area and industry. This is also an opportunity to look at how your business looks in a wider context. Online: is there a placeholder image where a logo could go? Does your eye gravitate toward the logos of other businesses? Print: Does your brochure or business card seem generic?

HOW DO GRAPHIC DESIGNERS APPROACH LOGOS? Before you sit down with a graphic designer, take a look at some considerations they should address, including reproducibility, color palette, and font selection. A superior design should be an effective communication tool and meet all of your technical needs. (Take a look at “Six Things to Keep in Mind When Designing a Logo” and “Why Small Businesses Need Strong Logos” for more information.)

WHAT ARE YOU USING IN PLACE OF A LOGO? Remember, if your competition sells widgets, a photograph of a widget won’t set you apart. Ditto scarves, flowers, books, etc. Recognizing a logo is like recognizing a face. It’s an important part of your business identity.



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