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Corporate Logo

Why you should take your corporate logo seriously

By Noelle Bates, VP Corporate Communications, Logoworks

In the business world, first impressions are important. Companies spend millions designing their showrooms to be comfortable, clean and eye appealing for customers. They have training and dress codes for employees to make sure customers have a good experience with the company. Even websites and advertisements are designed to make the company look good — all to make a good first impression.

But have you ever thought that the very first impression your company makes is with its logo? Before the customer drives up to the business, clicks on your website or interacts with a well-trained employee, they most likely will have seen your logo first. So, isn’t it obvious that having a great looking logo is just as important as having a shiny showroom floor?

Your logo represents your brand

If you hadn’t thought about it before, a logo is the visual representation of your brand. The shapes and colors in your logo are what people associate with your company and their experiences with it. A high-quality logo can help retain customers and create interest in your company to lure new customers. A bad logo can have just the opposite effect.

When a logo is well designed and properly used, it can be one of the greatest assets a company has. If you are driving through an unfamiliar town and your car breaks down, where is the first place you’ll turn? Probably, you will seek out the place with a logo you recognize and trust — even if the parking lot is dirty and the mechanics are greasy. If you can’t find a place you recognize, then you’ll probably go to the place with the best logo. Even with no prior knowledge or experience with the company, you’ll automatically trust a company who has a professional appearance more than one that does not.

Are you sending the right message?

You know that a logo says a lot about a company, but is your company sending the message you want your customers to receive? Are you using the right combination of colors, images and messages to strike a chord with your target customers? Large companies have spent millions of dollars to find the meanings of different colors and shapes in order to create the right logo. Much can be said about color and shape psychology, but I won’t expound upon it here. There are plenty of resources available to aid you in learning more about the topic, and it wouldn’t hurt to do some research to be more familiar with what works and what doesn’t.

One key to proper logo design is that a simple logo is much more powerful than a complex one. The most prominent logos in the world are usually the least complex. FedEx, HP, Chevron, McDonald’s — the list could go on forever. These companies all use simple shapes and color combinations that are easy to remember. The more colors and images you have in a logo, the harder it becomes to remember anything about it.

Don’t feel like you need to summarize your company with a logo. McDonald’s doesn’t need to include a hamburger in its logo for you to know that they sell hamburgers. Chevron doesn’t need a picture of an oil field, a refinery or a tanker truck for you to know they sell gasoline. Keeping your logo simple will make it easier to remember and recognize.

Another thing we can learn from the world’s top brands is their consistent and appropriate use of their logo. Most of the time, it is unwise to change a logo temporarily. The colors and the relationships between the different shapes must always remain the same. Even the slightest change in the shade of blue you use can give the impression that the logo represents a different company. Of course, slight changes may need to be made when adapting the logo for use in different applications, but these should not change the shape, color or feel of the logo.

When does it make sense to change a logo?

Since a good logo can have such a powerful positive influence with customers, it’s important to make the logo last as long as possible. When a company has built a successful, powerful brand using a good logo, it would be foolish to design a completely new one. Imagine what the impact would be if Chevrolet started using something besides their classic “bow tie” shape on their vehicles?

But there are times when a new logo is necessary, or when a facelift could really make a difference in the company. Obviously, if you are starting a new business, there is no better time to invest in a professional logo than now. But, for those not lucky enough to start out with a clean slate, a new logo might still be worth the investment.

If your business is not attracting the kind of customers you want, or if people don’t view your company the way you want them to, it may be time to consider getting a new logo. Looking at your success in meeting your business goals, examining the kinds of customers you have and asking people how they view your company can tell you a lot about the success of your current logo. Other times a new logo should be considered are when new management takes over, when a new product gets launched or if the name of the company changes.

Logo makeovers are more common than brand new logos. Most logos will not last forever, and after a while they will need updating to keep looking good. The changes can be minor and should not drastically alter the look and feel of the logo, because that will alter the look and feel of the company to customers. The idea of a logo makeover is just to freshen it, to keep the company looking up-to-date, and to help customers feel like your business is not falling behind the competition.

Options for getting a new or updated logo

There are a lot of avenues for getting professional logo design. The most obvious is to do it yourself. While this option is cheap, the resulting logo often reflects the price. Customers will be able to sniff out cheap logos. Another option is to hire an advertising agency. Ad agencies are the traditional source for professional logo design, but are also the most expensive, with average prices ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, which is why many small business owners forgo this option.

A third alternative is hiring a freelance designer. This is normally much more affordable than ad agencies and much more professional than logos designed at home. But since freelancers usually work on an hourly basis, prices will vary depending on the designer’s abilities and business owner’s spending power. Another downside to freelancers is that it’s difficult to gauge the skill level and credibility of the designer, and dealing with timelines can be frustrating. Also, since only one brain is coming up with ideas, freelancers are limited in the number of designs they can envision.

The newest option for logo seekers is to look online for solutions. Online logo design companies cost much less than ad agencies, use professional designers, and can come up with a greater variety of designs than a freelancer. Make sure you do your research when looking online for solutions. Below are some good questions to ask:
  • How many designers will work on my logo? (The more, the better.)
  • How many concepts will they provide?
  • What if I don’t like the designs they come up with? Is there a revision process or return policy?
  • How much do they use my input vs. their own ideas?
  • Does the company do anything besides logos?
  • How long will it take to come up with a logo concept? How soon can I expect revisions to be done? When will I see the final product?
  • Can I see some of their previous work to see if I like their other ideas?
  • Do they have customer support in case I need to talk with someone about my logo?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Are they approved by the BBB (Better Business Bureau)?

By having a professional logo, your company can make that all important first impression in style, and with a good professional image, people will remember your company the next time they need whatever you have.

Authored by Noelle Bates.  Original article published 11 December 2007 by Ten Spider Enterprises.
Article Copyright Logoworks, Used with Permission.

About the Author:   Noelle Bates joined Logoworks as VP of Corporate Communications in September of 2004. Prior to Logoworks, Noelle was the Director of Corporate Communications for Melaleuca, a direct sales company generating $600 million in sales in 2004. Noelle has worked for two hi-tech-focused public relations agencies, in Utah and San Francisco, where she was responsible for dozens of accounts ranging from multinational software companies to Internet security start-ups. She has public relations experience in the software, pharmaceutical, consumer, and health and nutrition industries.

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