Branding Your Company with a Logo

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    By Jim D'Amico

    Jim_NoTie-288x300

    Think “Professional”

    When he went into business, an HVAC contractor I know, after deciding on his company’s name, apparently wrote that name on a cocktail napkin in a style he thought looked good.  He then took his design to a sign shop and had his service van lettered in the exact letter style he had drawn on the napkin. And voila! He had a company logo.

    Honestly, the logo is one of the worst I have ever seen.  To me his logo communicates “amature.” And being an “amature” is the last thing that any business person should communicate to the public.

    Unfortunately, he has carried that design through on multiple vehicles over several years now.

    Did that company “logo” hurt his business?  Maybe not. The real question is, “Did the logo help his business?”  I would guess, “Probably not.”

    Qualifications Matter

    Here’s my point.  An HVAC contractor designing his company’s logo is as foolish as a graphic designer installing his own air conditioning system.  Can it work? Yes. Can it work and achieve optimum results? I doubt it. That’s because in both instances, knowledge about the craft is a prerequisite.

    Graphic designers go to college for four years to learn their trade.  They study elements of design. Those elements are:  Line, Color, Shape, Form, Value, Space and Texture.

    A Google search about graphic design provided the following: “Graphic designers develop visual concepts by hand or use computer software to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, or captivate consumers.”

    Looks Matter Too

    Your company logo is your company’s face in public.  It is part of your company’s public persona. It is the first thing that people perceive about your company.  It should draw customers in. It should give customers a reason to consider doing business with your company. As mentioned above, a logo is a design that should “inspire, inform or captivate consumers.”

    Unfortunately as people, we can’t all look as handsome or pretty as George Clooney and Heidi Klum.  However, unlike our personal good (or bad) looks, we can make our company logo as handsome or pretty as we want.  And it doesn’t take expensive cosmetic surgery. But it does take thought and knowledge to come up with a logo to achieve optimum results.  It also takes a professional.

    Selecting a Designer and a Design

    Now if you have never worked with a graphic designer, there are a few things you should know.  The designer will start with your business and industry in mind and discuss with you the elements, such as your company’s colors, that you believe are important.  However, it’s good to be open minded because everything that appeals to you may not be part of the final design. That’s because graphic artists strive to make all of the elements work together and they avoid violating norms of good design that are established and proven.

    You should anticipate that the graphic designer will provide a small number of versions for your review. Based on your preferences and input, the initial design may be just a starting point. However, if you really like what you see, it may be your final version.

    Eventually you should settle in on a design that meets your criteria, but also provides the graphic designer a model of their artistic creativity that can be used as an example of their work.

    Hiring a Graphic Designer

    There are various ways to find and hire a graphic designer.  The best way is to reach out to a few marketing and design groups.  You should have a discussion about your project, understand their fee structure and review examples of the designer’s work.  If you see designs that appeal to you and you have an alignment of budget and personality, it’s likely that designer will develop a logo for your company that you will find satisfying and proud to display.

    It may be best to consider all that you’re looking for by way of your logo and your future marketing.  If you have the budget, you may want to make the logo part of a comprehensive approach to marketing and promoting your company.

    • Many marketing companies have graphic designers on staff.  If you hire a marketing company you may pay more, but you may get a lot more than just a logo.  Marketing companies recognize that a logo is only a small piece of what should be your overall marketing strategy.  They will weave everything together into a marketing plan to promote your company.
    • A graphic design company may take a more focused approach on the logo design tailored to your specific wants and needs.
    • Independent graphic designers sometimes work under contract for bigger firms but take side projects to earn extra cash.
    • Crowdsourcing has become a great way to get a lot of input and options with a great number of logo versions to review.  A future blog post will cover crowdsourcing.

    Regardless of the approach you take when hiring a graphic designer, be sure the logo is an expression of your personality and your company.  And by all means, be sure it will “inspire, inform or captivate consumers.”

     

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