In this digital age of getting bombarded by marketing from all angles, you may not even notice logos anymore. They’re so ingrained into our culture that some brand marks have become part of cultural aesthetic, taking on lives of their own outside of their brand’s marketing materials.
But if you’re not a huge international corporation, you may think your logo isn’t important. Don’t let it be an afterthought! Imagine the market is like a dating app and your business’ logo is your profile picture. For better or for worse, people will judge based on that first impression, regardless of how amazing your business is once you actually read its profile. A great logo will make prospective customers more likely to “swipe right”- which means more conversions and brand loyalty for your business!
What’s in a logo
A logo is “is a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol used to aid and promote public identification and recognition,” according to Wikipedia. And if you look to the left-hand corner of that article, you’ll see that Wikipedia has its own snazzy logo- a globe shape comprised of puzzle pieces, each bearing a character from a different language, with the tag line “Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.” This provides you all of the information you need to know what Wikipedia’s deal is- a worldwide free encyclopedia providing information for all nations and languages. It’s also simple, timeless, and clean- it can be printed or digitally displayed using only one color, and uses a classic serif font that will look fresh today and also fifteen years from now. In fact, their logo has changed very little from 2003 to present.
Your small business logo should achieve the same goals- it should be simple, clean, easily reproduced in various sizes, and give at least some sense of what your business is about. Many businesses make the mistake of over-engineering their logo when they’re first getting off the ground, filling a small area with many colors and details in an effort to portray every aspect of their business. This isn’t ideal for many reasons- it’s too busy when displayed in a small area (like a business card or an email header) which can obscure the details, it’s costly to reproduce in certain formats (printing it on t-shirts, in print advertisements, and on swag items can require additional charges for color count and adjustments needed for print), and frankly it isn’t aesthetically appealing. We’ve been trained as consumers to associate well-designed logos with quality and trustworthiness- even if you’re just the local hardware store, don’t sell yourself short! Be the Mercedes of local hardware stores!
How to make a logo
As a small business owner, money is tight- I get it. You want to save scratch everywhere you can so you can keep investing in your business operations and growing your team and offering. But logo design is an area where throwing some money down at the start to nail it the first time can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. It’s all too tempting to fire up MS Paint and just make something that you can put on your website and business cards. But a year or two down the road, when you realize there’s no way you can ever print your 12-color logo on pens and koozies, or you just take a look around at your competitors and realize you can do better- it’s going to cost a lot more money to fully rebrand, redesign, and reprint your business collateral than it would have been to just invest in a great logo at the start.
First, do your research- take a look at your competitors and other businesses in your industry, and save a folder full of logos that you like. Take note of fonts, color schemes, and overall looks-and-feels that resonate with you. Then, find someone who can take your vision board of logo inspiration and magic it into something unique that’s just for you. Look to support other small businesses if possible- find a local graphic designer or small agency who can help you out. This will put money back into your community, and establish a more personal and ongoing relationship with a local artist that can be valuable down the road when you may need more marketing work. If those options are unfeasible for your budget or location, you can also take to the internet- there are plenty of freelance designers who work with clients they meet online.
Online logo design tools and easy-to-customize templates are also an option- they’re a far cry better than the aforementioned MS Paint example, but keep in mind that if it’s easy and cheap, there are a LOT of other small businesses that are also using it, and will therefore have a nearly identical logo to you. These tools also lack the personal touch and knowledge of a trained designer, and without design experience yourself, you may end up with a logo that doesn’t suit your company or industry.
It’s not just a logo
There’s a lot more to the “face” of your business than just the logo- every aspect of the look and feel of your brand should be established and consistent. This means that your website, social media, digital and print advertising, business cards, mailing items, swag items, and storefront should have consistent fonts, colors, taglines, and iconography/shapes. A designer or agency can help you establish these while you’re designing your logo.
Not to mention, having a really excellent logo can essentially provide free advertising- no matter the industry, people love wearing a great logo on a t-shirt or displaying it on a sticker. Make items like these readily available for free or cheap to your visitors or customers and let them get the word out about your business for you!
While hopefully you can find the perfect branding solution within your budget, you may still find your veteran owned small business needing a cash boost to perfect your logo and brand. If that’s the case, it’s time to look at what types of financing are available. We take a deeper dive into the topic in this ebook, “The Basics of Small Business Financing.” Learn more about how to apply for a small business loan, how to open a business line of credit, or how to acquire government contract financing!
This communication is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be an advertisement, a solicitation, or constitute professional advice, including legal, financial, or tax advice, nor is StreetShares providing advice on any particular situation.