Creating a Logo for Your SME

Setting up a small business is enough stress without thinking about a great logo that will represent your company for at least the next ten years. Creating a great logo isn’t done by opening Abode Photoshop and clicking lots of buttons. It takes time, consideration and research.

A logo is the tool you will use to present your brand in front of competition, and you certainly don’t want to look amateur next to them. There’s three different logo types you can choose from; font based, literal illustration and abstract graphic symbols.

The first is using type in the logo, sometimes a shortened version of the businesses name. This has worked for companies like Google, Youtube, Coca-Cola and FedEx. Each of these have used font and colour to create a logo that is simply their name. If you want your logo to appear on its own rather than with your company’s name, this is the way to go.

Literal illustrations are simply a description of what the company does, but instead of words, they use a picture. For example if you’re a painting and decorating service you would have a picture of a paintbrush. This is an effective method for those with a lower budget, although it can come across as unprofessional, so be careful.

The latter includes simple logos such as Nike. This brand has had hundreds of thousands of pounds thrown at its marketing, which means it is able to earn the abstract logo as it is widely known what it stands for –the mission and concept of their business. I guarantee most people will know by just seeing the tick that the logo is ‘Just do it’. Unless you’ve got a big budget it’s unlikely this will work well for your company.

Your Message

The first thing to consider when you’re creating a logo is what tone you want to reflect for your brand. Colour, font and placement are all affected by how you want to portray yourself, so it’s vital to give this a lot of consideration before you begin creating, or asking for quotes from graphic designers.

For example, take our Pandle logo. As a cloud-based bookkeeping software our mission is to provide a clean and simple service for small businesses and freelancers. Our logo reflects a professional business tone, while its intricacy also hints at the in depth online service we provide.

Keep it Clean

A messy logo will never attract customers. If you want to become a professional brand, your logo has to reflect that. Most well-known logos have no more than a few colours and are quite simplistic in their design. Learn from these successful companies but never copy. Anything that seems too similar to another logo will not seem professional, but instead it will appear that you are a copycat brand, trying to gain money from the success of another.

Consider Your Business’s Name

Want to create a great logo? Think about your company’s name. Shell garage? A picture of a shell, of course. Apple? An apple. Starbucks? Image of a siren from a 16th Century Nordic woodcut. Ok maybe that last one doesn’t demonstrate our point too well, but you get the general idea.

If you’re hiring a graphic designer, you don’t need to worry about this too much, but if you’re tackling a logo on your lonesome, make sure you spend days mulling over different ways you could interpret your business name, and clever links you can come up with that are so creative you have to reward yourself with tea and biscuits.

What’s the Competition Like?

Having a look around at your competitors’ logos won’t do you any harm – as long as you aren’t copying them. It’s easy to see what works and doesn’t by the success of your competitors, and the successful logos are worth making note of. The real reason you need to keep tabs on the competition’s logos is to see what’s missing from the market.

You might notice on your browse through industry sites that no one has thought of the great idea you have, which means there is an all-important gap in the market. An original idea is often one that will last a long time, so don’t dismiss your epiphany because no one else is doing the same thing.

Your Hook

Often a company will have one key trait that brings customer back, whether it’s price, quality or a concept. The Body Shop is a make-up and skincare company that puts all its focus on its natural products which are cruelty-free and eco-conscious – they meet strict biodegradability standards and use only ingredients known to be non-toxic to organisms that live in water. Their logo reflects this in both colour and style.

So before you start sketching, what’s your hook? Do you want your company to be known as environmentally friendly, professional and exclusive or transparent? There’s a number of ways to portray your hook with just a logo, so always take time to consider it.



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Slowly Does It

If you’re an established company and simply want a change, a sudden leap from one logo to another may be off putting for customers who think your business might have changes its concept with its new look. To keep your customers sweet, gradual logo changes are preferable. It may cost more initially, but in the long run it will keep you customers happy.

Will It Look Good On A Pencil?

A vital thing to consider during the design process of your logo is what format it will appear in. While you’re just staring out it might be just the website, social media sites and business cards. As your brand grows however, you need to remember that there is the possibility it could occur on different things.

Remember, picking too many colours may make the process of transferring the logo more difficult, not to mention it will raise the expense considerably. If you want to create the best logo ask yourself the golden question; will it look good on a pencil? Considering where it could appear will help you whittle down your options.

Going Professional

The easiest option for the inexperienced logo creator is to invest in help from a professional graphic designer. These prices can range, but it’s worth putting the money in to the logo to get the best representation of your brand you can. Designers will also take into consideration your company’s values and what you hope to get from the logo.

It can be easy to simply hire a graphic designer and expect them to come up with what you want, but without communication from you it will be impossible to know what you want from the logo, and what values you are hoping to portray through it.

Prices for professional graphic designers can range from £300 to over £1,000. Most designers describe the best logos as the ones that have had the most money spent on them, so don’t be stingy when it comes to putting your hand in your pocket!

It’s Mine… All MINE

Owning your logo can seem very confusing and honestly like a bit of a minefield. There are multiple Gov pages dedicated to explaining the different between patents, trademarks and copyright and they are all worth having a look at. Many companies register their logos with the UK Copyright Service with simple application forms.

A trademark can also be applied to a logo if it’s recognised as a brand identity. You can register for a trademark within a region or trading sector. Unlike a copyright, which is internationally recognised, a trademark only covers the logo for the region or country it has been trademarked in. It sounds complex, we know. But skipping this process can lead to a lot of heartache later on so get it done!

Are you considering changing your logo? Or are you a start-up looking for a graphic designer to help you? Leave your comments in the section below!

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