How To Choose a Logo

Designing a logo for your business can be a challenging undertaking—involving time, resources and internal debate. Sometimes the logo choice is clear, but too often a logo design is held up when the decision making becomes harder than it needs to be.

We understand—a logo sets the stage for the rest of your brand. Many times it’s the first thing your clients will see and use to remember your firm by, so it should be taken seriously. So here’s what you should keep in mind when presented with logo redesign concepts:

It has staying power

An effective logo can last you for decades. Don’t pick a logo that’s “trendy” or may become irrelevant over time. It’s best to avoid over stylized fonts or design gimmicks like gradients and drop shadows that will go in and out of style. Instead, plan for success. Business owners hope their company will grow year upon year. A logo should be there with you along the way.

It’s unique

Going against the norm is sometimes difficult. In B2B, where so often the logo is a stylized version of the company name using a typeface, think instead of how your logo could differentiate your business. Icon-driven logos are a nice way to present your brand with an image that leaves a mental “stamp” in your prospective clients minds. For example, CPA firm McGladrey utilizes a logo pairing their name in a sans serif font and a simple icon. While the icon is abstract and simple, it expresses growth and partnership.

It’s versatile

A logo can have a myriad of applications. Aside from the obvious (letterhead, business card, website), today a logo can be found on just about anything. Think of pens, golf shirts, car wraps and more. Even if you don’t think your business will be sponsoring a golf tournament any time soon, you may donate to a cause or receive an industry award. Your logo should easily apply to the needs of these applications.

It’s simple

The whole point of a logo is to build recognition. A simplified logo (think Target, Nike, IBM) makes it easier for prospects to process your brand. Humans are bombarded by imagery everyday, so creating something that is easy to recall helps your business long-term.

It doesn’t say everything

While this goes along with simplicity, it’s vital to point out that your logo doesn’t have to communicate every component of your business at first glance. A literal logo design can pigeonhole your firm. Going back to McGladrey, their business has grown from CPA services and tax consulting to include retirement resources and wealth management. Their logo doesn’t visually represent any of those practices, rather it’s an abstract metaphor, leaving room for future growth and new service deliveries.

It’s consistent

The application of your logo must be extremely consistent. That’s why companies (big and small) utilize brand guides that dictate how a logo should and should not be used. It’s the consistent application over and over again that helps the client link the brand mark with the company. This consistent application is made easier when the logo is both versatile and simple.

Don’t overthink it

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or uninspired by options, remember that picking a logo doesn’t need to incite some overpowering emotion. Many times business owners focus too long on a logo, going through ten or more revision rounds, forsaking the benefit of having a professionally designed logo in the first place. Remember, you don’t need to love it right away. Ask to see the logo in a few applications (e.g. on a website homepage, a business card, social media profile) so you can gain a better picture of what it looks like in its “natural environment.”

Limit the peanut gallery

This is a critical step to pick out a new logo. Logos in the end are very subjective and should ultimately reflect the vision of its leader. With this in mind, limit the number of opinions to no more than three trusted colleagues. More than that and you’ll receive contradictory feedback and no decisions.

Over time the consistent application of your logo and the forward momentum of your business is what gives your logo or brand mark its real value. When the Target executives first saw their logo, their socks weren’t knocked off.  It’s the application of their logo, corporate culture and tremendous business growth, that have given strength to such a brand.


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