Designing a Professional Logo, Part 1

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

You know it's Coca Cola because that red and white logo has been embedded into your consciousness since childhood. The big golden M? You've got it, McDonalds. The logo is a vital part of your brand's identity and it needn't cost a fortune to create a good one. This is part one of a two part article.

Brand recognition is vital for any business that wants to stay in the forefront of consumers' minds and the company logo is perhaps the single most powerful aspect of a company's image.

Designing a Professional Logo Part 1

But designing a good one can be costly if you seek the services of a professional graphics company so that's usually out of the question in terms of budgeting for start up businesses. However, with today's graphics programs logo design is something even the fledgling business person can undertake with great results. These tips will help first timers create a big impact logo that stays within a small budget.

Don't follow trends because they won't follow you

While you want your logo to look current don't try to be too in-with-the-in-crowd. After all, the fluorescent look might be all the rage now, but it's guaranteed to be so-last-year by the middle of next week. You want a logo that will stand the test of time, after all, in an ideal world it will be representing your company for many years to come.

Opt for something that could be updated if needs be without losing its identity. That doesn't mean to say you can create something that has a clean modern look, it's just best to steer clear of a look that is too identifiably 'now' as you will only regret and find you need to change it sooner than you'd like. And if you keep changing your logo it will confuse customers. People like to know where they are when it comes to the brands they favor. Look at it this way, if you kept wearing a different mask every time you went somewhere it would be hard for people to instantly know it was you, right?

Consider your target market

Chances are a futuristic style text might appeal to you personally if you are a devoted Star trek fan, but is it likely to alienate your clients? If the demographic of your target audience is the over sixties and you sell comfortable walking shoes then a young and spikey type face isn't something they will identify with. Because there is such a wide range of fonts to choose from as a basis for your logo, it's easy to get carried away. Try not to, for most markets simple works best.

Research and learn from others

You can learn a lot about logos by analyzing what other companies have done. Consider the logos of successful firms and those of the guys who didn't do so well. What is it about the major company logos that gives them their individuality? Collect as much visual stimuli as you can before designing your own logo.

Avoid embarrassing or offensive symbolism

No, seriously, it happens! If you're going to include an image as part of your logo, think very carefully about how this will be depicted. The graphic stylizing of objects can render them unrecognizable; it can also unwittingly render them offensive. Enough said. It has happened, and it will happen again. An internet search will throw up plenty of blog posts that reference disastrous logo decisions that have been made. You'll be surprised at how many swastika-like shapes appear in logos inadvertently. And we're not talking about unsavory types who include offensive imagery in a subliminal way. We're talking about how easy it is to make mistakes, embarrassing ones that won't do your company image any good at all. You have been warned.

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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