Your logo and corporate image

Why is a logo important?

Can I make it myself? All your questions answered. Creating your company logo is one of the most important and most difficult processes you will have to go through when starting a new company. Your logo should communicate the very essence of your company’s image in a single glance… a daunting prospect I’m sure you’d agree.

Simply typing the company name in a standard font and underlining it is not the way to get your company noticed. Unless you are an experienced graphic designer it is well worth the investment of asking a professional graphic design company to create a logo for you.

I want to create my own logo!

If you want to have a go yourself here are a few simple guidelines for logo creation:

1/ Use the right software. There are hundreds of graphic design and logo design software packages available in many different flavours. Don’t limit yourself by downloading a program specifically for logo design. These programs are extremely limited in their application and will inhibit rather than help your creative process. I would recommend one of the larger vector graphics programs such as Macromedia Fireworks, Paint Shop Pro, Coreldraw, etc.

2/ Put it on paper. The first step you need to take when starting a logo design is to first draw what you want the logo to look like. That’s right… use a good old fashioned pencil. The computer is a wondrous tool and can do many marvellous things… but it can often inhibit creativity by limiting you to what is easily achieved rather than what you want to achieve.

3/ Don’t use a standard font for your logo unless you intend to change the letters in some way. Using a more unique font will make your logo stand out above the rest. There are millions of fonts available for every taste, both for free and at a price. My advice is download a dozen different ones that you like and try them all.

4/ Don’t use clipart. Take a look around at the logos that surround you on a daily basis. Do many of them feature clipart? The answer is no and the reason is simple. Clipart just doesn’t look professional unless it is created specifically for your company.

5/ Try everything. Don’t be afraid to play around with the text, colours and shapes in your logo. Change the font size, try using several similar fonts in the same logo. You would be surprised what a difference it can make just to change the font size of one of the words or phrases.

6/ A bit of colour, but not too much. Putting colour into your logo can be very important depending on the image you want to project, but be careful. Use different shades of the same colour and try to keep the number of colours down to 3 or 4. Too many colours can be confusing to the viewer and will cause his focus to move (see below).

7/ Focus. If your logo contains more than a single word, you will want to consider which point in the logo should be the focal point. The focal point is usually in the centre of the logo, but can also be the first letter or even the last letter of one of the words. Whatever you decide, do not create more than one focal point in the logo. If the whole logo is equally important, you will want to maintain the focus at the centre. Colouring one of the centre letters a different color is a good way to achieve this, or creating negative space above and below the focal point is an excellent way to draw the eye.

I think I need professional help with this…

Creating a logo is a lot more difficult than most people realise. More often than not, you will want to get professional help. There are many, many companies who offer logo design and corporate image creation. Some are excellent, some are terrible. The following are some guidelines to help you choose the right company.

1/ If you are planning on having a website designed it is often a good idea to have your logo designed by the same people, provided they are sufficiently expert in this area. Corporate image and logo design requires a lot of research on the part of the designer, as does building a web page. You will often get a better rate by doing both with the same company and you won’t have to have the same meetings twice.

2/ A professional will assess the company’s products or services, it’s target demographic as well as your personal preferences in colour and style. He will produce several options for you to consider and will come back to you several times with revisions over the course of the work.

3/ Only accept a logo when you are completely happy with it. Make sure you give the designer a reasonable deadline (2 weeks is not unusual) for completion of the work. Don’t put yourself in the position of having to “settle” because of advertising, printing and other deadlines.

4/ Don’t go with the “cheaper” option. Remember that your logo will be with you for a long time to come and should communicate the very essence of your company’s image to your customers. I’m not suggesting that you spend thousands of pounds, but paying $75 for a “next day” logo service over the internet is definitely not advisable.

Corporate image?
I’ve mentioned corporate image previously in this article because it goes hand in hand with logo design. Your corporate image goes beyond the company logo. It is the style, colours and fonts that will be used on your cards, stationary, website, advertising, etc. Usually the corporate image will just be a continuation of your company logo, but you should give it serious consideration as a unique corporate image can be just as important as having a unique logo.

Alistair Shaw
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