We frequently talk about the importance of your content, your brand, and your social media presence. But when was the last time you thought about your logo, and whether or not it really represented your company?
Josh Cartu, a Canadian Formula 1 racer whose social media presence has made him virtually synonymous with Ferrari, recently talked with Forbes about advertising on the Formula 1 circuit, and had this to say about the importance of logos:
A logo represents your company to the world — whether it’s good or bad. Obviously, you want to make a good, lasting impression on the people who come into that brief contact with your company. You can have a great logo, but if you’re not targeting the right audience, you may not get the return on investment you hoped for. Expanding the reach of your company means you need to get your logo, your brand in front of the people who are most likely to be interested in your product and so that’s all about targeting. There needs to be a synergistic relationship in some respect to your audience and the activity that you’re promoting.
So if we accept this to be true, what goes into creating a great logo?
Unless you’re trained, don’t DIY your logo
There are lots of parts of marketing that solopreneurs and small businesses can learn on the fly and ultimately succeed at. Writing great content, posting on social media sites, and accounting are all skills that you can pick up with a few online or community college courses.
Graphic design is, quite simply, not. If there’s one part of your business that you’re going to hire out, make it your logo design. If you don’t have a lot of money, you can often find people on Fiverr who do great logos without charging a fortune.
Why is it so hard to create a logo? Because a logo does a lot of work for your company. As Ron Johnson wrote,
A great logo incorporates all of the elements of your business in a single image. It needs to distill the attitude and personality of your company in an understandable way. It must be unique but memorable, professional but not without character. Your logo also needs to scale to different sizes, work on print, the Web and on merchandise.
Don’t assume you can change it later
Sometimes businesses think that they can make do with a doodle or their name written out in a font for now, and change it later.
That’s not always the case.
In 2010, worldwide clothing company GAP decided to unveil a new logo. Instead of what they’d been using for years, their name in all capital white letters on a blue background, they revealed the name written out on a white square, with a small blue square in the upper corner of the “p”. GAP expected a neutral to positive reaction, but found their fans furious. Their logo was much more popular than they’d realized. After about a week, GAP reverted to their old design, and has continued to use it since.
Take your time and get it right
With all this talk about the importance of logos, it can seem like you should have a logo before you start writing your business plan. However, what’s more important than having a quick logo is having a great logo. Martin Christie, an executive with a British marketing firm, told the BBC that “it’s common sense to spend time on your logo – it’s the first thing that people see; it’s the look of your company; and it’s going to reflect what you do.” Robert Jones, a branding professor, added:
Your logo is how people recognize you, and it helps express how you’re different from your rivals – warmer, greener, stronger, and so on. And people need an image to look at. As Aristotle said, ‘the soul cannot think without an image’. But [at the same time], people assess you not on the strength of your logo, but on the quality of your product or service. So all of that real stuff matters more.
As a new company, work on your logo, and make sure it matches your brand – but don’t forget to build a great company at the same time.