Creating Your Own Logo

A logo is more than just a little design or your company name written in a fancy font. Logo design is a special skill, and there's no one definitive method that is better than the others. All good logos, however, have a few things in common.

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A logo is more than just a little design or your company name written in a fancy font. Logo design is a special skill, and there's no one definitive method that is better than the others. All good logos, however, have a few things in common. When you're designing your logo, aim for something that:

  • Isn't trendy and doesn't need to be redesigned each season.

  • Will look good even in black and white and reduced to fit on a business card.

  • Is adaptable enough to fit on different products or marketing pieces.

  • Is integrated into your overall marketing strategy.

You'll probably want to use a combination of your company name and emblem. That's the best, safest bet for most small businesses. Done correctly, your logo can become an important part of your intellectual property and can offer real value to your business.

Who Are You and What Do You Do?
If you want your logo to communicate effectively who you are and what you do, you've got to know precisely who you are and what you do. That sounds obvious, right? But far too many businesses can't articulate what makes them unique. In 10 words or less, what is your business? You need to discover the essence of your industry and what people want to find there. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • If your business is a medical practice, most people are looking for trusted experience and advice.

  • If you own a vintage clothing shop, people want to find quality merchandise and knowledgeable salespeople.

  • If you run a day care center, you want to convey a fun and secure environment for kids and a sense of trustworthiness for their parents.

What Can You Do for Me?
You're about to learn a secret far too few business people understand. When you describe your business to other people, you need to focus on the benefits you provide to your customers. Most people, when asked to come up with a list of benefits, come up words like: reliable, fast, honest, conscientious, professional, experienced.

These are features, not benefits. The difference is that a feature is merely a description—a fact—about a product or service. To move from feature to benefit:

  1. Write a sentence that describes who you are and what you do. "I am a trustworthy accountant who works hard to manage your money," for example.

  2. Ask yourself, as your potential customers will, "So what?"

  3. Answer that question: "I have been an accountant for 15 years, and I can manage your money effectively."

Now you're on the way to a benefit. This statement answers the customer question: what can you do for me? In this case, the benefit you can offer, at its most basic, is: I can manage your money. That's what you want to convey behind your messages, behind your logo.

Options for Logo Design
Now it's time to go out and get your very own logo. There are several options for doing this.

  • Create your own logo. Designing your own logo is the cheapest option available. And you don't have to spend time trying to communicate the details. However, you may find that it's difficult to translate your vision into a logo if you're not a professional designer. Worse, you may find that you get what you pay for—and when you pay nothing, that bargain price might be reflected in your new logo.

  • Hire a freelance designer. Working with a freelance designer requires more investment—potentially significant in both time and money—than creating your own logo; however, it also has its advantages. Freelance designers create logos for a living and have a lot of knowledge and research to support their creations.

  • Hire an ad agency. If you can't find a freelance designer you like, or if you're just wary of doing business with an individual, you might want to look into an advertising agency. In many cases, several designers will likely collaborate on your logo. That's good and bad. Good, because more creative visions mean more ideas. Bad, because sometimes too many cooks can spoil the soup.

  • Use an online logo design service. A relatively new development in the design world is the advent of online design services. These companies provide fast-turnaround logo design at low prices—to the tune of a professionally designed logo in three days for under $300.

How you choose to obtain your logo is your decision. It depends on you and your business needs. Only you know your budget, time constraints, and comfort level.

Have a question about creating a logo? Connect with a SCORE mentor online or in your community today!

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