Is your logo legit?
What makes a great logo? Is there such thing as ‘the perfect logo’? How do you know if your logo doesn’t ‘make the grade’? Should you trash your logo and start from scratch? Can a badly designed logo affect your sales?
These are just some logo-related questions asked by many small biz owners – maybe you’re also asking them.
After almost 30 years of designing logos for small businesses, I can tell you that there are definitely some rules that need to be followed in order to create a great brand icon. There is such thing as ‘the perfect logo’. If your logo isn’t working properly then you should rebrand because a badly designed logo can definitely affect your sales.
So, what makes a logo ‘work’?
And by ‘work’ I mean bring you the clients you want, and function properly in your brand. Firstly, your logo obviously can’t do this on its own. You need to have all your ducks in a row with the rest of your business. But what a great logo should do, is act as an introduction to your brand. It should give your ideal prospective clients a ‘feel’ for your company and what you’re offering. It should invoke an emotion in your clients relevant to your product experience. Think about Apple or KFC. And it should make people think of your product or service every time they see it.
Your logo icon or symbol is the one element that people will recognise you by.
Whenever they see that little symbol, they will know it’s you. This is why it is so important to have a symbol that is uniquely yours. And I’m not talking about your name in a fancy hand script. That isn’t a logo – that’s your name in a fancy hand script – it’s a signature – not a logo. I’m talking about a graphic icon – like the mark that was used to brand cattle with to tell which farm they came from, or the sigil of a family clan. Yes, you can have your name in a fancy hand script as well – as part of your logo, but don’t make ‘that’ your logo because it’s a trend so it isn’t timeless.
Also, don’t confuse having your name in a script with a wordmark. A wordmark is a category of logo where the company name becomes the logo, like Google, Visa, Coca-Cola, Fedex, etc. These are all short and punchy unique words that are unusual and easy to remember – and not the same as having your name in a fancy script and calling it a logo.
How does a properly designed logo reflect on your business?
If you’re starting out, affording a professional logo can be tricky but it shouldn’t break the bank, and it is very much worth putting away the money to do it properly. A cheap looking logo will make your company look cheap. People will think that your product or service is sub-standard because you’re not making enough money to look professional so they won’t want to do business with you. It’s a vicious circle. If you’re serious about growing your business, you will make a plan to have a professional logo created and learn how to use it.
Use this checklist
Here’s a list of checkpoints you can use to determine whether your logo makes the grade. Grab your logo and your notebook and a pen and make some notes of where/how your logo could be adjusted to make it better.
- Your logo should accurately represent your company and what it does.
- Your logo should be a single image, or a clever combination of 2 ideas.
- It should appeal to and be understood by your target market.
- It should be easy to remember and describe.
- Your logo shouldn’t adhere to any design trend but should be timeless.
- Your logo icon should be able to stand alone independently of your company name (unless it’s a wordmark).
- Your logo should be easy to produce in a single, flat colour, without losing any detail or effect. (Think about how it would look as a stamp.)
- It should be clear and easy to recognise when reduced to a small scale.
- Your logo should fit easily into a square area – horizontal and vertical logos cause problems.
- You should have a vector file (eps, svg) so that you can enlarge it to any required size without losing quality.
So, ideally, a perfect logo is one that adheres to all of the above. Obviously there are exceptions, but unless you know how to ‘break the rules’ in a way that still results in a really great end-result, the above guideline should be adhered to as strictly as possible.