By Jack LaRue
A logo is probably the most visible – and versatile – branding tool there is. And when you consider the most famous logos, like the Nike swoosh or McDonald's arches, it's easy to see how valuable they can be.
While your logo may never be as ubiquitous as the "Golden Arches," it can be a valuable tool for a small business – provided it's well thought out and carefully used.
With that in mind, I've put together a few tips to keep in mind as you consider your firm's logo:
1. Make sure it conveys the right feeling about your firm. The best logos encapsulate an entire brand. They evoke a feeling. That feeling can relate to confidence, friendliness, expertise, authority, whatever you want. The important thing is to know what feeling you want to elicit before you begin designing your logo.
2. Keep it simple. A busy logo will be less effective, and it will cause you endless design headaches. So keep it simple.
3. Make it unique and memorable. If your logo looks like everyone else's, it won't be very memorable. That's why it's important to find out what other firms are doing with their logos. Look around at other logos and make sure your new logo sets your firm apart.
4. Choose colors carefully. Choosing colors carefully will make your logo much easier to live with. It's usually best to keep it to one color plus black, but two colors are sometimes OK. Make sure the color you choose fits your firm's image, and make sure your colors are consistent across your logo, your website, your letterhead, etc.
5. Make it flexible. You need to make sure your logo is flexible enough to use in almost any situation. It should work in full color, black and white, white on black. And it should work equally well in different sizes, from very small to quite large.
6. Test carefully. Get some feedback from family and friends, but don't just ask them if they like it. Ask them what it says to them. How does it make them feel? Is that consistent with your firm's desired positioning?
Like a fine wine, a good logo only improves with age. It's not something you'll want to revamp frequently. So make sure you create a well-thought-out logo that you like and can live with for years. If you do it right, your new logo will be something you can use almost anywhere – business cards, letterhead, website, advertising, e-mail, etc. The more you use a good logo, the more effective and valuable it becomes.