Brainstorming a Logo

Are you an individual or small business that knows you need some sort of logo to help identify you from competitors? Do you have no idea what you want in a logo, making it hard to talk to a graphic designer? Below are some quick tips to help articulate ideas to shorten the design process and potentially saving you some money.

  1. Look at the logos of other businesses in your industry. Do your competitors use solid, conservative images, or flashy graphics and type? Think about ways you want to differentiate your logo from your competition.
  2. Make a list of your values and circle the top three. Values are what appeal to your target market and are true to you as business. These things are so important that they become rules to guide your company. Values are who you want to be and how you get there. They are your culture.
  3. Make a list of brand attributes (metaphors, descriptive words and symbols) and circle the top three. The brand attributes are personality traits that reflect the idea that businesses can be viewed in much the same way that people are. We react emotionally to all our interactions with them. It’s important to ensure that these interactions are consistently on target with just the right business feel and tone of voice.
  4. Now that you have a list of values and attributes, what images, symbols, or colors come to mind when you think of them? Make a list of them.
  5. Round up a group of other people in your network. Share your values, attributes, images, symbols, etc. to get feedback. Often, you are too close to your ideas. Your network can see your business as a consumer/client and give you valuable information. They may come up with ideas you haven’t thought about. Be sure to write down all ideas, no matter how outrageous.
  6. Your logo should be clean and functional. Your logo should work well on a business card or a billboard. A good logo should be easy to reproduce. Icons are better than photographs since they can be deciphered when scaled small. If you include too much detail, think about what it will look like scaled really small or on a fax.
  7. Using all the information you have gathered, sketch out some ideas on paper. Logos can be one of three types: font-based, consisting primarily of a type treatment; an illustrated logo that literally illustrates what your company does, such as when a house-painting company uses an illustration of a brush in its logo; or an abstract graphic symbol, such as Nike’s swoosh, that becomes linked to a company’s brand. You don’t have to be an artist. If your shape doesn’t look quite like it should, make a note of what it should be. The point is to get a rough idea to share with a designer.
  8. Explore your colors. One thing you need to be careful of as you explore your color options is cost. A five-color logo might look gorgeous, but the price won’t be so attractive when you put it on stationary. Try not to exceed three colors unless you deem it absolutely necessary.
  9. Take your rough sketches and ideas to a graphic designer. Shop around for a graphic designer. If the price seems high, look at it this way—remember that a good logo should last at least 10 years. If you look at the amortization of that cost over a 10-year period, it doesn’t seem so bad. Sure, you can find a cheap designer, but you often get what you pay for. A graphic designer can take your ideas and give them some finesse, as well as make them digital. Since you have done your homework, you cut down on the amount of time a designer has to brainstorm with you, which could potentially save time and money.
  10. Next steps. Be sure to get several versions of your new logo. At a minimum, you should request a color version, a black & white version and a reversed version. Depending on your design, you might also want both a horizontal and vertical version. Insist on getting vector versions of your logo (.eps) with the fonts converted to outlines. You don’t’ need to know what that means and you might not even be able to open the file, but it’s extremely important. You need to safeguard these files as any other business asset. Any time you work with a print company, print designer, web designer, etc. be sure to give them these files. They will love you! Have your logo designer also give you JPG or PNG versions of each version of your logo so you can use it in email, Word docs, etc.

With a well-designed logo, potential clients can instantly discover how your business can serve them.

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