Business LogoYour logo is the face of your brand and helps to form the perceptions that people will have about you and your business.  It is also the symbol that jumpstarts your brand’s recognition and you want it to be able to stand the test of time.

When you look at large brands like Apple, AT&T, FedEx and 3M, you will notice that although they may have tweaked their logo over time to modernize it, it is largely the same as when they first started.  Because of this, they are able to continue to reinforce their brand’s recognition and following. Anywhere you go, if you see an apple with a bite mark, or a blue spinning globe, you know who it is, even if you only glanced at it.

Often times when businesses are just starting out, they neglect to invest in the creation of one of the most important aspects of their business, the logo.  It is easier and cheaper, to cut and paste some clipart together in Microsoft Publisher, Word, or PowerPoint so that they can get the ball rolling with business cards, a website, etc.  Later down the line, once revenue has picked up or the business is experiencing growth, that is when they decide to invest in their logo, but it is really too late then.

Think about it.

If you are doing well with your business and increasing revenue and experiencing growth, that means that you have built a loyal customer base and following.  You have generated buzz about your product or service.  If you change your brand’s look too drastically, you will confuse your current customer base and will essentially have to start from scratch in terms of building brand recognition, because it no longer looks the same.  It is similar to celebrities that have altered their look drastically either with plastic surgery, or with a change in hairstyle and or wardrobe styling (think Miley Cyrus, Christina Aguilera, and Bruce Jenner).  Their fan base rejected the change and it took time and brand building to bring those fans back (if they came back).

I, myself, have been guilty of not investing in my business’ logo.

Wait…stop the presses!  “I thought you were a graphic designer, it should be easy for you,” I can hear you saying.

I started freelancing while I was still working on my undergraduate degree in graphic design and my first logo was actually a class project. Back then, I was only focused on creating designs that were aesthetically pleasing, but there is much more to a logo than that.  To invest in a logo means to take time, or pay someone to do research in addition to creating the look.  How can you create something that will appeal to your potential customers and cause them to take a second look if you do not know anything about them or even who those potential customers would be?

Market research helps to give the logo’s design a direction to go in.

By researching the target demographic and learning about their attitudes, behaviors and habits, you can determine which colors, shapes, and fonts that will appeal to that audience and draw them in.  Yes, it takes more time, energy, and money, but it will yield better results in terms of revenue and brand recognition.  Market research will also help you identify things that could be potential problems later on down the line.  If you have dreams to take your business global, doing research will help determine if you will have trademark issues in other countries.  It cannot prevent someone from having the same mark or name five years from now, but it can determine if that is the case right now.  Investing in your logo will also give you a custom logo and or icons that you will be able to trademark, unlike clipart.

I wish that I had done this research in the beginning, but I was young and a bit foolish.  A couple of years after graduation, while I was still getting my feet wet, I was still foolish.  I redesigned my logo again, along with a name change.  The name change I do not regret, but the logo design direction I do.  I went from CE Designs to Colleen Eakins Design and although I liked the design of the logo change, I neglected to really think about the application purposes of the design and it proved difficult to work with over the years.  The design was long and when I needed to use it in spaces that were square, it did not scale or resize well.  Now, fast-forward five years later and another redesign to the logo.  With more experience and knowledge gained from my graduate degree in marketing (MBA), I am now a lot wiser and my approach to design has changed. I am now more focused on design that is aesthetically pleasing AND effective.  I am also on a crusade to save entrepreneurs from making the same mistake I made in creating my brand.

This time around, I did the research and put the same energy and thought into the process that I would do for one of my client’s, and I like the results a lot better.  Although I am semi-starting over in terms of brand recognition, I am getting a better response to the new, revamped look than I did with the old one.

So please, invest in your logo!  Choose a marketing company or freelance graphic designer that will do the research. Make color choices and request edits to the designs you are presented with based on the research that they have furnished you with.  Get feedback from family, friends, business partners or people that you think would be potential customers.  If you invest in your logo, you can achieve the same brand recognition and success that Apple has.

Colleen Eakins is a freelance graphic designer that approaches design from a marketing perspective.  She often says, “Anyone can make a pretty picture, but is it effective?”  When she is not busy branding a company, she can be found crocheting on her couch, snuggled with her dog, Petey.

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