Branding is all around us. The foods that we eat, the clothes we wear, and the places we buy it all. Each has its own logo and that logo immediately identifies the brand to us. When you think of brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Taco Bell, and Walmart, you can probably clearly see the logo in your mind. That logo becomes part of the brand’s overall image.
As a business owner, you want to create that same sense of identity for your own brand. When customers see an image and your name in a particular font, they should not only think of your products or services, but they should also get a sense of what your business is about. Are you a fun, family-friendly retailer or a more serious, professional services company? It all starts with choosing the right logo, and we’re here to help.
Know who you are
Before you can communicate to the world who you are, you need to first understand it yourself. It’s very possible to open a business without ever defining what your brand image will be. That can be a big, big mistake. Successful brands pay close attention to market demand and create a product or service that meets it. They also take the time to think through what their mission is and how they’ll further that mission with what they do every day.
In our new ebook, How to Get the Perfect Logo for Your Brand: A Step-by-Step Guide, 99designs defines five major elements that successful companies embody in their branding:
- Market position
If you haven’t already, spend some time thinking about each of these and determine how you want your brand to perceived. To do this, it can help to look at the competition and identify what will set you apart. Once you’ve identified all these elements, you can begin to decide how you’ll communicate it to your audience.
Research your options
The next step in your process is to do a little research. There are seven general logo types:
- Lettermarks—Your brand name is used as a design element in the logo.
- Wordmarks—Your brand name is the complete logo.
- Pictorial Marks—Pictures, symbols are combined with your brand name.
- Abstract Marks—Like pictorial marks, but non-representational shapes are used instead of pictures. The above-pictured logo is an example of this.
- Mascots—An animal, person, or inanimate object is used to represent your brand.
- Combination Marks—Combines some of the above elements artistically.
- Emblems—A traditional logo type, using a badge, seal, or crest to represent your brand in one unified shape.
You’ll also need to put time into choosing the right colors, contrast for those colors, font style, and font size for your brand. This is very specific, but color psychology can play a strong role. For example, red communicates power and passion, while purple communicates luxury and royalty. Play with various color combinations until you find the one that fits your brand voice.
Choose a designer
A professional designer can make a big difference in your logo’s effectiveness. Even if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, consider the fact that you can take one logo and incorporate it into all the collateral you design yourself. Designers train for years to gain the technical skills necessary to build effective logos, so trusting them with the design can give you a great piece of branding that you can apply to everything you do moving forward. If you opt to go it alone, though, there are tools that can generate simple logos, including logomakers like Canva or TailorBrands. However, it’s important to consider the results you’ll get with these tools versus working with a specialist, including ownership, licensing, and customizability.
Thanks to the internet, hiring a professional designer has never been easier. You can browse the portfolios of numerous talented designers and find those who most closely match what you want in a design. You can even read reviews from others who have worked through those designers to ensure the person’s collaboration style fits your own. Lastly, you can go the traditional route and hire a design firm if you have a solid budget, as agencies can come with a hefty price tag for branding work, while working with a freelancer is normally much more affordable.
Test your logo options
Before you choose a logo, you should also try each of them out in a variety of formats. Test each of them on your website and see which one is most eye-catching in that context. Scale them down to see if they’ll still get the message across when used on letterheads or business cards. Once you’ve chosen a logo, you should continue to revisit the design occasionally to make minor updates. This will keep your business from appearing outdated as competitors evolve or enter your market.
Your business’ logo is important, but you’ll find plenty of help online when you need it. A professional will design a logo you’ll use for years, freeing you up to focus your energy on the many other tasks that come with growing a successful business.
Camille Franc is a Marketing Manager at 99designs. Having graduated from Toulouse Business School, he is passionate about helping entrepreneurs make their journey successful and enjoyable. This, combined with his 5 years’ experience in digital marketing drives his passion for helping business owners to grow. When he’s not championing the 99designs brand you’ll find him practicing meditation or playing violin in the city of Berlin.