If I had a dime for every time someone got on my case because my blog (much less my business) has no logo, I’d have a lot of dimes.
It isn’t because I don’t want one. It’s that logo selection is TOUGH.
Selecting a logo isn’t like deciding on a salad dressing for your lunch. It’s more like choosing a spouse or a business partner. It’s a decision that you have to like now, 10 years from now and under a ton of different conditions.
I can throw a salad away if I don’t like the dressing. It’s difficult and expensive to throw out a spouse or business partner…and likewise, a logo.
Putting it in context
Things to think about while falling in love with that incredibly cool, glossy metal-look electric blue logo that looks great as it fills the screen of a retina display iPad.
If only that was the only place they’d ever see it. But…it isn’t
A few questions to ask yourself (and perhaps, your designer):
- How will the logo look in a large format? Consider a trade show booth, billboard, the side of a building, signage, private jet or blimp.
- How will the logo look in a small format? A good example is a favicon (the icon you see on the address line on your browser) or avatar.
- How will it look in a browser? Consider what it looks like at 72 DPI, properly sized with other content on a webpage.
- How will it look in print? Think newspaper ad, magazine article, business card and Â letterhead
- How will it look on a button, such as an election campaign button?
- How will it look on a mobile device or as an icon? Consider different sizes from retina iPad to Blackberry to Mac to Windows.
- How will it look on a colorless device, like a regular Kindle?
- How will it look on your products?
- Is the style timeless or trendy? Does that matter to you? Will you be tempted to change it in 2-3-5 years if the logo’s style dates your business?
- Is the logo complex? Does it have fine lines or high gloss? These things don’t always translate well when resized, printed, etc.
If these questions produce territorial, defensive, offended or angryÂ responses from you, your staff or the designer, you have the wrong logo and/or the wrong designer.
Some bigger picture questions that might help you decide on a direction or between finalists on a list of logo concepts presented to you:
- What does the logo say about you and your business?
- What message does it send?
- Does it need to send a message?
- Is it consistent with your other materials?
That last one is really important.Â When you see something from Apple, you usually know it’s from them before you see the logo or company name. You’ve also seen inconsistent materials. Inconsistency is jarring. Uncomfortable. Is that what you want to do to people when they switch from a website to a brochure to a trade show booth? I don’t think so.
If the new logo is inconsistent with your current materials, that’s OK…if you are OK with changing your current materials. You’ll be tempted to use the existing supply until it’s gone. I understand that. I’ve done that. All I’ll suggest is that you consider where to use the existing materials and what impact that inconsistency may have.
Example: 10 boxes of letterhead with your old logo can be cut into notepad sizes piles in almost no time by a professional print shop. They can be bound on one edge like real bought-at-the-store note pads. Use them internally. Give them to a school, art project or senior home. Use one to level that annoying off-balance table at the local coffee shop. There’s a productive use for them.
These “bigger picture” questions are important to ask yourself because logos become unworkable at the worst possible time – right before a deadline. Examples include the run up to a trade show, product launch, strategic mailing or website design.
Deadlines often force last minute decisions that you later regret. They also have a price once you figure out what you really want.
Some of those things are why I don’t have one, but mostly because it hasn’t been important to my branding. For you, it might be huge.
A graphics person will ask you for colors, message, theme, whether or not you want words in the logo (go back to those first two questions on format). The more info you can give them about what you want, the better the outcome. If ” I don’t know” or “I don’t care” is your answer to the color/message/theme questions, it’s not a good start.
If you give your designer a blank sheet and just send them off to create something, I think you’ll be disappointed in the logo you get – no matter how good they are.