You need a logo, a mark, some identifying factor for your product. You’ve invested time, money and energy into your business idea and into your product. Now it’s time to put a label on it.
It might seem easy to hop online and invest $25 in a vending machine design company, one that spits out a logo without a single thought about your product or service. But remember, you get what you pay for. Your logo and your brand will be the single most important aspect of your business, NOT your product. Your product may change, evolve, or you simply might think of more products to add to your line. But your branding stays the same, your brand is what your customer will associate with the quality and value of your products.
Here are some things to think about when taking steps towards investing in your company brand and logo.
1 - What does your company sell?
Are you marketing a product or an idea? If you simply brand your product, you may be limiting your brand when it grows. If you make decorative pillow covers, and your logo is a pillow, then what happens when you expand your line of products to soaps, blankets, jewelry and other home décor? Brand your business concept, not your product.
2 - How will you use your brand?
Do you sell your products online? In a retail store? Will you have packaging? Do you sell a service, like real estate or a product like jewelry? How will your logo be printed? Your branding should be designed so it can be applied to various forms of marketing. Think through how it might look on a sign, in full color, black and white, small, large, layered over a photo, in a horizontal or vertical space. Most likely, you should have a logo with a few logo alternatives that can be used in spaces you can’t use your full logo. Having a plan and rules for these logo alternatives will help develop brand consistency.
3 - Logo Details
I touched on this in the last point, but I see this issue in so many logos out there. Full color illustrated logos that rely on those colors and gradients – Big no-no. Not only can these logos look like clip art, it’s not realistic if you want brand consistency. Your logo should be designed in a way where the details will not be lost when printing in black and white, small, large, or reversed out of a dark color. What if your project is limited to 1, 2 or 3 colors? How do you decide which colors to print if you have a full color illustrated logo? Did your graphic designer give you logo alternatives to use when faced with this issue? I believe a good logo can be used in its original form, or close to it, in any situation. I’m not saying a logo can’t be colorful, but there should be a brand guide outlining the rules for your logo in situations where full color isn’t possible.
4 - Market research
What are your competitors doing? What do their logos look like? I’m not suggesting that you copy what they are doing, but I think you should know your competition so your brand will stand out among the clutter. Put your logo next to some of your competitors – does it disappear? Does it blend in? Or does it stand out and say “Choose me!”
5 - Brand Colors
Your colors send a message. Have you ever seen an investment company us red in their logo? No, because it sends the message of money loss. What about red and yellow, does this remind you of fast food? The colors in your logo matter, and they can send the wrong message if they aren’t used properly. Think through your brand voice and message, what does your brand say? How does your logo properly communicate that message?
6 - Consider hiring a professional graphic designer
I have designed many logos for businesses who have paid for a vending machine logo online, and now they want a professional one designed. Not only did they “get what they paid for”, but it cost them MORE money because they are paying for a logo twice. A professional graphic designer will do the proper market research, work through different design concepts, and have a valuable recommendation for your business. They will put in the time to make sure you are happy with your brand and set you up for success. It’s worth the investment – people buy brands, not products. Make your brand stand out among the clutter and tell the story it was meant to tell.
Having a logo designed is just the beginning. Your brand is more than just a logo, it has a story to tell. Next week I will share about developing a brand that people recognize and trust.