June 15, 2021 7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Creating an eye-catching and representative logo can be a challenging task for any business. Logos can misrepresent a company’s brand and offerings when business owners don’t consider the overall picture while creating them. So, where are small businesses falling short?
To start, new entrepreneurs don’t always think about the places their logo may appear beyond a website or business card. Your logo may be featured on stationery, merchandise, packaging, signage, uniforms, web design, social media, business cards and more.
Some logos can look great as the header of a website but may lack impact as a smaller icon used to brand social media content. And the fact that your logo looks good on your front door doesn’t mean it will convey the same message on a billboard. You have to think big as a small business.
So, how do you create a logo that meets small business needs at a large business level?
Find the essence of your brand
Designing a logo begins with an idea.
Your business was the result of an idea you had, so your logo should be too. Your logo should make people think of your business when they see it. It should also take into consideration how you want your audience to feel when thinking about your brand. Create a list of all the words that describe your business.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to get started:
What services and products do you provide? There could be a way to include those in an icon or image. Who is your customer? Find out what kind of aesthetic appeals to them. What are your company’s core values? What is your brand voice? Is it more friendly and professional, or more passionate and bold? What makes your business unique compared to your competitors?
Use the answers to these questions and other adjectives you’d use to describe your brand to drive the design. Keep them in mind while choosing font, imagery, and color. Inspiration doesn’t always come easily. Try going for a walk, taking a hike, or doing other activities that will boost your energy and give you time to reflect.
Check out your competition
Your competitors hold a lot of information that could be the key to creating a stunning logo and boosting your success as a small business owner. Look and see what types of logos are already out there. The last thing you want is to have the same type of logo as another business. You should also try to measure the success of your competitors’ logos. Note what areas they could have improved on so you don’t make the same mistakes. Do their logos bring positive and accurate associations with their brand? It’s a good idea to understand what you like versus what you know you don’t before creating your own logo.
If you have a business and are trying to market it, you know that social media and other online platforms are the best way to get an instant response from your audience. What’s trending for your industry at this moment? How does it look historically? Take these answers and use them to your advantage.
Your logo will be closely associated with your brand and help draw people to your business. It’s important to finalize your logo before going public. Trying to redo a logo for an established business can confuse customers and even other retailers.
What kinds of logos are out there?
There are several different types of logos you can choose from. Pictorial logos are dynamic but simple graphics instantly associated with the brand like Nike’s “swoosh” or Walmart’s burst logo. Monogram logos are great for businesses with long names like HP, CNN or NASA. These are also some of the easiest types of logos to rework when needed. Wordmark logos like those of Lego or Samsung are the easiest form of a logo to bring recognition to signature branding. Mascot logos like the Pringles logo or Tony the Tiger are a great way to engage younger audiences and families. Emblem logos consist of a small amount of text within an icon or symbol like Converse, BMW or Starbucks. And combination logos include two or more of the above-mentioned logos. They’re considered the most versatile style of logos and are extremely recognizable, like the logos of Amazon and Dunkin’ Donuts.
You may want a larger, more detailed logo for some aspects of your business and a simpler but still recognizable version for icons.
How to design a logo
Once you’ve defined the essence of your brand, checked out the competition, done some research on what’s trending and have a better understanding of logo types, the next step is to start designing your own. The good news is that you don’t have to be a graphic designer or spend significant capital on hiring one. There are many skilled designers out there ready to help you get the job done. To help you get started with the designer you choose, here are a few basic design aspects to pay attention to:
Color: Research has shown that different colors elicit different responses in your audience. When we see green palettes, we feel much more at peace than when we see a red one. That being said, your logo might want to use a dash of red as it’s a color we associate confidence with.
Font: We often see three kinds of fonts in logos: Serif, Sans Serif, and Script. Serif fonts have little “feet” and are great for establishing feelings of maturity and credibility. That being said, they can look a little too traditional, depending on your brand’s essence. Sans Serif fonts go well with logos that are modern and simplistic. They are also easy to read. Script fonts are a good option to consider if you have a more formal or elegant business.
Shapes: You might not notice shapes immediately when you view different logos in your daily life. It turns out they can actually impart a significant impression on our subconscious. For instance, we tend to associate circles more with positive emotions than we do with squares. That being said, squares remind us of stability – which may be a key part of your brand.
Give your logo a test run
Before committing to any logo, ask your customers what they think. Make a couple of samples and ask forfeedback. Social media polls and email surveys are good tools for doing this. You may even want to try blind testing the logo without mentioning your business to see what strangers think of the design. Ask them what they think about each logo, the biggest concern with each, if the logo showcases your brand, what changes they would make, and what changes you can make?
Once you have all this information, you can begin looking into improving your logo designs. You already know where you went wrong and what you did right in the first round. Take the information you gain and use it positively to build your confidence and create the ultimate logo to define your brand.