Sunday, April 23, 2006

Putting the Mojo in Your Logo

Designing a logo that reflects the style and energy of your business can be challenging and fun. As a small business owner, the expense of a logo design may not be a top priority. But, which of these companies would you most likely remember? Sales JaZ or......

Some logos are simply pictures - take Target stores for example with the red and white bulls-eye or the Nike swoosh. A logo serves as a jumpstart to the brain's memory and leaves a greater impact than mere words. The important thing to remember is for your logo to be unique, simple and easy to recognize.

Here are 7 tips for designing a logo for your small business.

  1. Know Your Concept. What type of "big picture" message do you want your business to convey? You must first determine what your logo will say about your company. Do you want to convey the message of trust, honesty, safety, stability, environmentally friendly, etc.? I recently redesigned my logo and wanted to maintain an action oriented theme. Since my company is called, "Sales JaZ" I was playing off of the word "jazz" which promotes a cheerful, upbeat and motion oriented theme. My website also has a man playing a trombone. I wanted the "S" in "Sales" to look like a treble clef and the "J" in "JaZ" to look like a musical note. Again playing off the word "jazz."

  2. Jazz it Up with Color. The psychology of colors in logos runs the gambit: yellow means faith and friendship, blue means peace, love and loyalty, purple connotes royalty and spirituality, orange exudes passion and enthusiasm, green signifies money and wisdom, red means danger, heat and speed, and black shows sophistication and mystery. Here are a few things to consider when using color in your logo:

    • Multiple colors increase the printing costs of letterhead and business cards. So consider the economics before selecting a 3 or 4 color logo.

    • While shading and color gradients look great they may not show up well on faxes, business checks or copies. All of the jazzy colors that look great on your website may not translate to other print media. Make sure your logo is easy to read and looks great in one simple flat color.

  3. Consider the Mediums. Your logo will be used on your website, letterhead, business cards, newspaper ads, magazines, etc. Readability in small and large sizes and fonts is important.

  4. Consider the Trends. Since designing a logo is an expense consider using images that will be viable in 5 to 10 years. Try not to be too trendy so that your logo can maintain its relevancy in years to come. Your logo should have a contemporary look and the message you are trying to convey to your customers should be clear.

  5. Graphics. There are 3 types of logos: text only, illustration only and the combo text and illustration. While the cool details of a logo can be fun and exciting remember that less is more. Even a unique font like the Coca Cola logo is effective. If you use both text and graphics in your logo then keep it simple.

  6. Tagline. This is the short jazzy sentence or phrase below your logo that sums up the essence or philosophy of your business. Mine is "Jazz Up the Sales of Your Business." Narrowing down your business philosophy to one short phrase is a serious challenge. Keep in mind that your tagline can change over time while your logo can remain the same. Consider Coca Cola's taglines over the years: "It's the Real Thing", "I'd like to Buy the World a Coke," "Coke Adds Life," and "Have a Coke and a Smile". When creating a tagline start by thinking of 1 or 2 words that exemplify your business philosophy and use them as your creative base.

  7. Do I need a trademark? Once you've decided on a logo you should consider registering your company name and logo as a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Typically you will register your company name first and then your logo. The USPTO has a minimum filing fee of $325 per class of goods and services. An attorney will first want to do a full search of U.S. availability of federal and state trademarks before filing the application. For definitive questions and answers about trademarking contact a trademark attorney.

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