This is the second post in a series, "Bootstrap Marketing for Startups", featuring Birch Studio’s David Robinson
In the last article, I discussed a few methods to create a name for your organization. Next step: the logo.
People love logos. Companies love logos. The world loves logos. They also hate logos. Remember Gap? How about Yahoo? Logos are both your own property and public property. And the public can have some very strong feelings about them.
Keep it Simple
A good design firm will take you through all of the requisite steps to create a great logo. If you’re going to hire an entry-level designer, you'll do well to keep your idea simple. Simple ideas are easier to execute, easier to understand and easier to read.
Speaking of simple, logos should be able to make an impression in the blink of an eye. Using no more than three elements and/or colors will help keep the number of visual details to a minimum. Nike, Apple and Target got it right. Google just didn’t care.
Understand its Limitations
What pros know is that logos don't have to convey everything about your business. Sometimes, they don’t convey anything related to what the business does. The logo’s job is to project an attitude about your organization and to be distinctive. We’ve advised many people who have intricate concepts of what their logo should represent, only for them to realize that the idea is much better in theory than in practice. For a simple exercise, think about Nike, Apple, NBC and Starbucks. Their logos tell you nothing—absolutely nothing—about what they do. But they are clean and distinctive, and you can probably summon them up in your head without having to see them. Mission complete.
Look for Examples in the Wild
Millions of logos have been made already and are within a few mouse clicks. The place to start your logo journey is on Google, looking at other logos that have already been created. Check logos in your industry as well as others to get a well-rounded sense of what works. Make note of what you like about them and what you don’t, then use that as a starting point. A good logo will usually go through a number of iterations before settling on a final design.
As you might infer from the flap on the Gap and Yahoo logos, updating a logo is fraught with danger. The more public your brand is, the higher the stakes. If your logo was pretty bad to start with or not very well known, or not consistently used, then you don’t have much to worry about. If people like your current logo, then small, incremental changes are best to avoid calling a lot of attention to the change. Part of your logo process should involve planning the rollout of the changes until you get to your final goal.
If you remember only one thing when creating a logo, keep in mind that simplicity is your friend.
For more info on logos, a typical process can be seen on our blog.