We experience thousands of brands every day. Some we are more conscious of, for example, you are watching your favorite show and see some delicious looking food trying to entice you to make a trip to your local Chili’s. Others we are not as aware of. There is branding everywhere, from the Covergirl mascara you apply before work, to the Ford logo on the middle of your steering wheel as you drive in. There is the Apple logo on your computer screen as you sit down at your desk for the day and the Diet Coke you pop open for that much-needed caffeine. All of this branding was well thought through by a team of creative professionals or a talented graphic designer and had very specific intentions for your experience with it.
Your company’s identity and branding needs to be memorable, strong, strategic and timeless. This foundational piece is an essential springboard that impacts countless future efforts. It is the essence of who your brand is and what you want to communicate to the world. Brands are so oversaturated that your business is clamoring in the crowd to gain attention and credibility.
There are a ton of pieces out there about designing the perfect logo for your company and some varied opinions about what that process looks like. We are not saying that we are the end-all-be-all when it comes to writing the book on everything you need to know about logo design. That being said, we sure have learned a few things in our day that we think can be of help to your brand and its image.
Make an impact.
As mentioned earlier, people experience brands every time they turn around. What will differentiate yours from the crowd and make it memorable? We recommend the clean, simple and timeless approach. Invest in your logo. We know as you are starting or running your business there are a lot of expenses. This is one you shouldn’t scrimp on because it follows you around, if not for the life of your business then for a long time. Do not frequent Fiverr. Do not use Microsoft Word and go the Times New Roman route on your own. Downloading from IStock, Shutterstock or Getty Images or just copying the looks of others in your industry is also not the right path. Look to sites like Pinterest for logo inspiration. Create a private board that you will be able to share with the designer that you have chosen. Communicate with that designer about your business and preferences and let them do what they are good at.
Another benefit in making the leap to hire a quality designer or creative agency is that you can expect to receive back finalized logo files in a variety of the most common formats. Not sure what the different formats mean. Ask them! For example, you will likely receive a PNG and JPG as a part of those files. If you are making your own PowerPoint presentation I recommend the PNG file. This file, if saved correctly, will have a transparent background and you can place it on top of whatever background you want. The jpg file would have a white square or rectangular box around it and does not give as nice or professional of a presentation of your brand. Part of that bunch of files will also likely be an AI or EPS file. These files will be vector versions of your logo. These are really important to keep safely stored for future needs. You will send these to an embroidery place for them to create the files needed for the embroidery process. This format also allows your logo to work on something as small as a business card, or as large as a billboard…and everything in between! The worst thing you can do for your brand is having a blurry asset that has been stretched too large and makes you and your company look like they don’t know what they are doing.
We also recommend asking your designer to send over any relevant font files used. You may not have any use for these unless you have design programs yourself. Future designers will thank you for asking for this information and having those readily available. Often as part of a logo design package your designer will create branding guidelines. This will define different version of the logo, appropriate usage and spacing, colors and fonts.
Don’t go color crazy.
When it comes to crayons, we like a lot of color options. When it comes to logos, the simpler the better. Don’t get carried away with crazy gradients or too many colors. While this might be tempting, just don’t. You will thank yourself later. Where this really comes into play is with the different applications of your logo. The more colors you have for embroidery or screen printing the more expensive and complicated things get. You can also run into some trouble with how many acceptable variations there are of your logo, since the more colors you have means the more potential trouble there is with putting your logo on top of different backgrounds. Don’t even get me started on if you have to pay and go through Pantone color matching 10 different colors every time you want to put your logo on something.
Think about your applications.
This comes into play on a number of fronts. What I mentioned earlier to working well for applications both small and large is a must. A good graphic designer will also consider the fact that your logo will likely be used on backgrounds of all colors. Some colors may work on both light and dark backgrounds, but many logos will need to have several approved variations to account for these differences. If your logo designer or agency turns over a file without taking this into account it is important to know to ask for it before you get too far down the road and may lose communication. Not that this cannot be created later, but it is all part of a proper identity and branding process. A logo with only black font will get lost when place on dark backgrounds. You should have a white text, or light text, version available.
Often logos may also have horizontal and stacked versions of the logo. Certain applications lend better to one or the other. Social media profile graphics tend to look best with the more stacked or square orientation logos, for example.
Continue to protect the branding you invested in.
So, you did it! You made the leap and paid a professional graphic designer to create an amazing logo that really speaks to the essence of your brand and is sure to make an impact on your target audience for years to come. Don’t let that investment go by the wayside as years go on and you have more and more team members applying your logo to various materials. We have seen it a million times. People don’t know where all of the appropriate versions of the logos are stored so they pull a low-quality one offline or use an old version. Or they don’t know the importance of making sure to have one high-resolution enough to drag into their PowerPoint or Word doc. They also might stretch it disproportionally and misrepresent your company's branding.
It is important to make guidelines for your materials clear and let people know where they can access these materials. You would be wise to even create standard templates for people to work off of so that you can avoid some of these potential problems. This would be done on things like letterhead template, PowerPoint presentation templates, etc. This is not a one-time conversation. It needs to be consistently reinforced to protect your brand image. Every sales team member or admin will not have the same experience as your marketing department appropriately using your brand files.
So, there are a few major thoughts that come to mind when pulling from our experience designing logos for ourselves and our clients. Need help with this process from an identity and branding team you can trust? Call SDM to discuss your new logo today!