A company logo serves an important purpose. It gives your business a solid identity. It is what your customers come to associate with the business itself. It sends out a powerful message, and can make your brand easily recognizable regardless of where it is used — in print or Web ads, press releases, or even white papers on your website.

A logo done right can convey a lot. Companies need to find ways to stand out in this very competitive market space. Designing a good logo can help you do that for your business. But it can be a very tricky thing to design.

Of course, the first step towards making a logo that captures your essence and resonates with customers is to ensure it is unique. It should bring to mind the name of your company. Think of everything your company stands for. A tagline would help, too. Think about how to portray the soul of your business in a few words. The more exclusive a company logo, the more recognizable it will be to your target audience.

Don’t copy others

It is tempting to copy the logos of companies that are successful in your industry. After all, that would aid brand recall, wouldn’t it?

I beg to differ.

You need to create a logo that is unique to your business, and is not even remotely like anything a competitor uses. Otherwise you risk the chance of people mistaking your company to be either associated with or being a part of that competitor’s business.

Sometimes you may see patterns that companies in a particular industry may use for logos. Steer clear of this, too, unless you have a solid reason not to. Basically, try to stand apart.

Look inward, not outward

When determining a company logo, the focus should be inward and not outward. The company logo describes a brand in two ways — through logomark or logotype. So focusing on the company itself instead of what others have done in the industry will help pinpoint the best ways to present your brand.

It is fine to look at others for inspiration, but copying another logo just because it belongs to a successful company reeks of silly wannabee-ism and should be a strict no-no.

The decision to use logomark, logotype, or both should also be based on what you want to achieve with the logo. Logomark is a logo as an image and logotype is a logo as text. When trying to decide which of the two to use, or if both should be used, ask yourself the following questions.

What is the best way to educate my target audience about my brand?
What is the best way to engage my target audience?

Keep these in mind during every stage of logo creation.

Some companies find it better to use just a logomark. An image is a powerful thing, after all. Also, since we are now in a global market and if you plan to work with international clients, focusing on a logomark to represent your brand may be a better idea.

Images are much easier to understand, especially in cross-cultural settings, than is text. Your logotype may be based on a common phrase in your country, but you should also consider what (or if anything) it might mean to someone from a completely different culture.

The what and the how are both equally important

Once you have figured out what to say in the company logo, you need to figure out how to say it.

How you would describe your brand to a stranger? Who is it meant to appeal to? You don’t have to use text to do this; it can all be done with the right image.

When drafting a logo, it is very tempting to use vivid colors. Most companies want their logos to drip with color since they believe it is color that catches a person’s eye. But I feel that it is more about the message than the color(s). As mentioned before, as long as you create the right message to symbolize your brand, you should have no issues with creating a logo that works.

I’d recommend to stick with two or three basic colors so that you can focus on what is actually being conveyed via the logo. What does Nike bring to mind? What does Coca Cola remind you of?


Final thoughts

A logo is a big deal. Think it through and don’t rush the process. If you gain success as a business, you’ll have to live with your logo. So be clear about what you stand for, and try to present it visually in an enticing manner.


Pete Peranzo

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