In these modern times, keeping up with marketing and advertising has become one of the most important needs in a business. Yet, small businesses are tasked with balancing marketing, advertising, the Web, Facebook, Twitter, etc... while running the business. It is a daunting task. And everyday there is, yet, another new Social something that we now have to belong to. But, do you really need to be on Facebook? Does your business benefit from Twitter? Or, could you be putting more energy into other sources that would benefit your business better? And, worse, are you doing all of them yourself and they all have that "I did it myself" look?
Brand is the personality that identifies a product, service or company (name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or combination of them) and how it relates to key constituencies: Customers, Staff, Partners, Investors etc. More than just a logo, your brand image is the sum of all your tangible and intangible traits — the ideas, beliefs, values, prejudices, interests, features and history that make you unique. Brand image may be the best, single marketable investment a company can make. Branding is not simply the expected features and benefits of your product or service. Branding is uncovering (and sometimes creating) your distinctive difference. How you differ from the rest is what sets you apart from all other competitors. It is what motivates you, your people, and ultimately, excites your clients to choose you over another similar product or service.
The outward expression of a brand, including its name, trademark, communications, and visual appearance. Brand identity is what the owner wants to communicate to its potential consumers.
Do you have a corporate ID? Matching letterhead, business cards, logo, envelopes, etc.? Does your Website carry the same brand as the rest of your company Identity? Every time you mail something, is it sent in the company letterhead? What about e-newsletters? Are you using a Constant Contact template? Or have you had a custom designed template keeping your brand intact? These are very important questions you need to be asking. If you got your logo from the $99. online store, your business cards from the catalog at the printing shop, or the make-your-own at Vistaprint, your envelopes from Office Depot, you are sending out a totally mixed message to your costumers. We help you put it all together while making sure that all your collateral looks like it belongs to you. And, yes, you can still keep using these services, if you like, but you will be sending them graphic design that is consistent throughout and have been prepared to keep all the company colors consistent as well.
A Logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition. Logos are either purely graphic (symbols/icons) or are composed of the name of the organization. Effective Logo Design must be simple, memorable, timeless, versatile and appropriate– think Coke, AT&T, Shell, NBC, Target. You identify the icon as the brand.
So you need a logo...
- What do you look for?
- What is the process?
Here are some helpful steps to walk you through it:
Determine the attributes
Write down descriptive attributes that embody your company. This could be as simple as a list of adjectives that describe your company, it’s features and benefits.
A logo is its own entity, the visual embodiment of your business. It's as important as how you dress, shake hands or present yourself to your customers. How do you want them to perceive you? Create a first impression.
Color carries a lot of emotional weight. Is your brand edgy and young or relaxing and prestigious. What colors connect to your target market? There are countless sources of color psychology. All of it applies to your company's identity. Safe, insurance blue is not what you want to use for an energy drink.
Simplify, simplify, simplify
We can't stress this enough. We all know the KISS method, (keep it simple, stupid) - Listen to your designer, after all, that is why you came to us. Remember that consumers will be doing everything from quickly glancing at your logo to staring at it while stopped at a red light–make sure that it's simple enough to remember and decipher. A logo needs to work in a business card, Website or Billboard. It should transfer from one to the other without loosing it’s strength. A photograph is not logo material. Logos need to be developed as vector art. And all text is a title, not a logo, unless the font has been manipulated in some way – Think Hersheys.
Abstraction or portrayal
Just because you sell a widget doesn't mean you have to have a widget in your logo. An abstraction suggests the nature of your business. A portrayal creates an image that literally communicates the brand.
Abstraction gives a brand a better shot at uniqueness and offers the possibility of brand growth. Wrestle with this issue, make a decision and stick with it.
Look at the Nike "swoosh." It's not a literal representation of anything. It started with a wing but became a timeless swoosh. The meaning is created by a simple, distinguishable shape that embodies movement and speed.... go power... and reinforced by a consistent branding and marketing message tied to the abstract image. The swoosh gained meaning with that combined branding effort and it’s resulting credibility.
Who's makes the decisions?
The more people involved, the messier the process.
- Figure out who really needs a say in the process based upon expertise and responsibility. Those are two separate areas. Expertise means people with professional experience in marketing (and maybe production). Responsibility means the key stakeholders must be involved so you don’t go down your merry path only to be vetoed at the end of the yellow brick road.
- Keep the group small.
- If the CEO gets final say, have that person on the committee. Don’t allow a bunch of surrogates to imagine what the boss will think. It has been my experience that this usually leads to more work and redos.
- Design by committee never works… trust me. The worst possible process is a free-for-all where a committee tries to make everyone happy by combining elements from different designs - the “one from column A and two from column B” approach. This almost never yields a happy result (or a strong design). And it is the fastest way to make your designers run for the door.
- Get everyone to vote thumbs up or down, narrow the choices and keep voting until you have one favorite. And don't ask the guy in the mail room if he likes it unless he owns the company.
Following these rules you will make for easier design process and save you money in the end.