Guest Post by John Williams :: A business logo design blunder can cost entrepreneurs a lot of money. People are visual creatures; we subconsciously use memory recall on a daily basis in order to make decisions. Entrepreneurs need to think of their great business logo design as an imprint, something easily recognizable that people will automatically associate with the brand. Think clean, think simple, think what best represents your brand. It’s less about what you should include in your business logo design and more about what you should not.
Here are seven common mistakes entrepreneurs make when designing their brand’s logo:
1. Not investing enough time. Whether you’re hiring a designer or doing it yourself, start planning early. Creating a business logo design is like peeling back an onion. You have to get to the bottom layer and hone in on who your target audience will be. Your taste may be immaculate, your vision innovative, but your business logo design isn’t about you. It’s about reaching your audience.
Ask yourself important questions: What kind of symbol will resonate? An image, an abstract, or maybe a monogram? Do it right the first time by mapping it out and don’t be afraid to start over if it isn’t working.
2. Creating total chaos. Your business logo design should be as simple as possible while appropriately conveying your brand message. If you step back and say to yourself, “Is this too much?” Chances are good that it is. Tweak your font choices and tone down overwhelming color.
When it comes to business logo design, less is more. Too many fonts, too many colors, too many words all lead to the same outcome: Alienating your audience. Choose a business logo design that is easily remembered, stands out from competitors, and relates to your brand. Think clean, appealing and appropriate.
3. Copying competitors. Your competitors may be successful but what works for them might not work for you. Originality will score integrity points and get you noticed. Scoping out the competition is an important step in evaluating your brand but to position yourself as the better option, you can’t blend in. You have to stand alone.
Find a business logo design that, when placed next to your competitors, sets you apart. This may be as simple as a color choice or opposing symbol, but the effects will be everlasting. Originality will give you an edge.
4. Settling for initials. Using your company’s initials is most people’s first reaction. You may have an emotional attachment to your company’s name or your family’s initials, but just because they resonate with you does not mean your target audience will see it the same way.
Initials are easy and monogramming can be appealing, but you need to step out of your comfort zone and play around with the other end of the spectrum before you settle for the obvious. Even if your company is based on generations of ingenuity that was passed down, there are still abstract ways to symbolize that tradition beyond letters.
5. Ignoring your brand’s voice. When Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying,” he must have had branding on the brain. Do you want your brand to look aggressive, edgy and spontaneous? Or, would you like it to convey subdued, patient and assured? You can have your business perfectly formulated, know exactly what message you want to display, but without correlating your logo to this message, it simply won’t register.
6. Failing to consider different media. Often the problem with logo creation is that people settle for what looks good on paper without taking into consideration the different media that your logo will be viewed on.
Your logo isn’t just a symbol that goes on your website. It will potentially be printed in varying sizes and viewed on smartphones, tablets and whatever else is yet to come. It needs to be consistent regardless of where it appears.
7. Not thinking about the future. Make sure to create a business logo design that you can live with for the long haul. That isn’t to say you can’t make changes and tweaks down the road — successful companies almost always do. When you see the final product of your logo, you want it to be something that you can envision with your brand for the life of your business.
LogoGarden.com Founder and President John Williams, a leading logo design expert, literally wrote the book on brand standards for companies like Hewlett-Packard and Mitsubishi. While large, well-funded companies paid John’s firm top fees, he often helped startup businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs at no charge. His contributed articles have been published on sites and in print publications including MSNBC, Microsoft.com, Yahoo Small Business, Forbes, Fast Company. John also served for five years as the Branding Columnist for Entreprenuer.com.