Why do I need a logo? This is a question many people ask me every day. Before writing this entry, I searched other blogs on this topic. I was surprised to read a handful of articles that were pretty vague. As a new business owner, I would question the reasons why exactly I need a logo after reading as much as I did and not getting a concrete answer.
Personally, I feel logos are necessary when starting any business. A logo is the face of your company; it’s the starting off point for your entire brand. Let’s look at it on a very simplified level. Each person in this world has a face, a personality, and a name. If we were to break those three things down it would look like this. Your name would be your company, your personality would be what you do and/or sell and your face would be the logo of that company. It would be hard to distinguish anyone in a crowd without a face. We could argue that by mannerisms or style of clothing you might be able to figure it out. Not many of us would stop and take the time to do that.
So my question to you would be, why start a business and not invest in your image? Let’s take a moment and think about the big guys like Target. How many times has Target produced an ad, either in print or media that you have not recognized within the first few seconds of viewing? Probably never. They have an entire marketing team devoted to their brand on all levels and they do a phenomenal job at being clear, concise and consistent with their brand identity. Now, how are you supposed to compete with Target? You’re not, but the concept of being clear, concise and consistent with your branding is attainable on any budget.
The brand you create for your business is your story, invest in that. People want to know you, what you have to offer and why they should pick you over the competition. Take the time to care enough to tell them all of these things in your brand.
It all starts with a logo. There are many choices when it comes to logo creation. You can pay a small price online these days and obtain various logo options from a contest website or you can choose to work with a graphic designer in person via meetings and phone. Online contest logo designers are folks you will never meet or have direct contact with to ask questions and get specific in regards to your business. Essentially, they do not truly care or plan to invest any time or research in your business. So I have to ask, where is the value in that? Most people see it as a way to save money, a cheaper way to get an affordable and quick logo. Sounds great, right? Of course, I will be biased given my profession but I have valid reasoning. The reason I suggest you bypass this route in your marketing plan is plain and simple, direct contact. When you obtain a logo online through a “logo contest website” without a skilled designer that you actually meet in the office or over the phone, you can end up a logo that could possibly have been used many times before. You could also potentially end up with the wrong files you will need for printing and digital design in the future. When hiring an actual designer or ad agency yourself, you can look at their previous work and decide if their style will work for you. You will also be able to explain your vision and get a better end result that has not been used many times before. Need a specific file down the line and you have lost the email the designer sent you? No problem, most designers, and ad agencies keep your files for anywhere from 3 to 5 years and can retrieve those files for you. Need advice on a promotional idea or advertising investment? Graphic designers and firms can help steer you in the right direction. Sometimes they even have connections and can get you better pricing. Want creative ideas but it’s not your arena? Your designer more than likely has already branded your entire line in their head because it’s how we work. We love what we do and we invest in you and what you do.
You can pay a small price online these days and obtain various logo options from a contest website or you can choose to work with a graphic designer in person via meetings and phone.
I spend time with my clients and learn why they have invested themselves in their company. I like a good story. The designer you hire should choose to do the same with you. They should take the time to listen to your wants and needs and even go so far as to create a mood board to ensure that you are both on the same page. Visuals really are key when working with someone. Once the logo is created and revisions are complete, creating a brand board with color, font and patterns directs both creative and client discussion opportunities in regards to the brand moving forward. It does not stop once the logo is done; your brand has just begun.
What are the wrong files?
Once the logo is created my clients get a copy of the outlined .eps file, a hi-res .jpeg, a hi-res.pdf file and a .png file. These files will pretty much work for anything you plan to order for print, social media, websites, or promotional material. If you get your logo design you should request these items. Some graphic designers will not give you the .eps file because if you plan to continue working with them in which case you don’t actually need it. I like to give my clients a copy of all of these items just so they have it going forward. For me it’s a trust thing, you paid for this creation, you get all the files.
Graphic designers and firms can help steer you in the right direction. Sometimes they even have connections and can get you better pricing.
There are many other places where your logo will be seen. You will have business cards, possibly product packaging, websites, social media pages, letterhead, postcards, advertisements, etc. the list is long. Make sure that once you get the vision of your logo that you continue the brand as you go. Can’t afford a high-end paper from an expensive printer, no problem! Work with your designer to come up with alternative routes that keep the brand consistent.
Want creative ideas but it’s not your arena?
One of my favorite little cheats I saw on Pinterest awhile back was a stamp created with all the needed info and they used Kraft paper with a black ink stamp pad for their business cards. It was so simple but super affordable and totally in keeping with the client’s style. You can see the design here at the left that I worked on with Caroline Randall Made. We worked together to create a beautiful logo she could use on Etsy. She had a lovely stamp made of the logo for her muslin bags that she packages her organic baby teethers in. Caroline is a maker who does a lot of sewing so this great idea that gives her clients that extra special touch when they open a package. Those little details are what it is all about.
If you have invested in yourself in your life long dream of owning your own small business then do that in every aspect of your business. Your logo is the face of your business, create it with care! If you do this with your brand from the beginning, no matter the time constraints, it will make life easier in the long run. Your clients will recognize you, they will respect you and they will continue to come back to you. If you invest in one thing in the beginning it should be your logo!