Now it’s time for the fun stuff: creating a logo and finding other materials. The purpose of your logo is basically to give your business a visual identity. If you choose your logo well, then it should be instantly identifiable and people should know to associate anything with that image on it with your brand and your business.
Once again, you also need to be a bit creative and somewhat pragmatic with your logo creation.
How to Create Your Logo
Consider the following criteria for your logo creation. Your logo should be…
So straight away you want to avoid anything that is going to be clichéd or derivative. Forget anything that includes a globe, a lightbulb or a tick – they’ve been done to death. Simple is better because you need to come up with something that people can copy (remember what we said about kids drawing Nike ticks onto their homework diaries?). This also makes your logo more versatile which means that you’ll be able to use it in more places.
Think about it this way: your logo isn’t just going to be used on your website or on your own products. Sometimes, it’s going to need to be on a banner on someone else’s website. Sometimes it might be on packaging. In this case, it’s going to need to be a different size or it might even have to be black and white. You might need to use a ‘silhouette’ of your logo.
So ask yourself: does the logo look just as good when you use it as a silhouette? Much smaller? In black and white?
Finally, make sure that your logo expresses everything you want to say about your business. That means not only communicating the niche, the industry and the kinds of products and services you’ll be selling – but also the mission statement and the emotion. This is why you need to come up with your mission statement before your logo.
So what process can you use to get here?
Once again, a great option is to create a kind of mind map. This time it will be using images though, so it will be a ‘mood board’. This is basically a collection of images, words and ideas that all relate to your brand and you can create them nicely using Pinterest (www.pinterest.com).
From here, you can now try combining the individual elements of your image and this will allow you to create something unique from those constituent parts. Try playing with the word too and using different fonts. Once again, it’s worth making multiple different logos and then showing them to friends or even customers to get an idea of which is the most popular.
Tools and Resources
You can also use a number of tools in this process. One particularly good one is Brandr (http://scgm.biz/brandrr/) which makes the process of creating a logo incredibly simple. Simply put, this allows you to input your company name and to select an industry, and from here you can then generate a large number of different, unique concepts for logos. From there, you’ll also be able to edit and customize your logo to make it look exactly how you want it – and then you just download the file. You can edit anything from the colors to the fonts to the precise positions and this can not only be a great way to get some initial inspiration but also an excellent tool to create a professional looking file.
If you opt against this tool, then your other options are to make a logo yourself from scratch – in which case you’ll probably use something like Adobe Illustrator (http://www.adobe.com/uk/products/illustrator.html) – or you’ll have to outsource it.
When creating a logo, it’s very important not to create a JPG or a PNG. These are what as known as ‘raster files’ and the result will be something that looks grainy when zoomed in and that’s very difficult to edit. Instead, you need to create a ‘vector file’ such as an AI file. This will ensure that your image never loses definition and that it is highly versatile and customizable.
If you choose to outsource this process, you can try a website like Fiverr (www.fiverr.com), UpWork (www.upwork.com), Elance (www.elance.com) or a forum like Warrior Forum (www.warriorforum.com). Perhaps a simpler and more efficient method though would be to ‘crowdsource’ your design on 99Designs (www.99designs.com). This way, you invite as many designers as are interested to submit ideas for your design – you then just select the one that you’re happiest with.
The visual element of your brand doesn’t stop at your logo though! Once you have your logo, you should have a colorscheme and you should have a ‘feel’ for what things are going to look like. You now need to ensure that this is consistent and cohesive across everything you do.
That will start with your website, which should subtly borrow colors and elements from your logo. For instance, you might want to use the color-picker tool in your image editor to get the precise color code of your logo. You can then utilize this throughout the color palette on your website. Even if this isn’t your ‘base color’, it might serve as your accent color. Take a look at the websites for Virgin Media or Virgin Active and what do you see: lots of red!
You may also want to create your own font or typeface, or choose one from a site like Font Squirrel (www.fontsquirrel.com) and then just use it throughout all of your materials and creations.
You can take this even further if you want to and create your own ‘design language’ that will ensure everything you create is consistent. Google does this with their own ‘Material Design’ (https://www.google.com/design/spec/material-design/introduction.html) concept, which ensures all their software and apps have a consistent look and feel. Apple has a less explicit design language but if you look at all their products, you’ll likely find that they have a similar feel that uses a lot of white and lots of clean lines and curved edges. The Apple headphones somewhat exemplify these principles.
At the very least, you’ll need some more materials and images for your marketing efforts. These will include at least:
- Images that you can use on Facebook/in fliers etc.
- A video opener
- Possibly a jingle
Depending on the nature of your business, you might even want to create your own mascot! Mascots are a good choice for commercial businesses and can help to make a product seem friendlier, warmer and more familiar. Animals are a particularly good choice (like the Andrex pup) and something along these lines would be a brilliant fit for our ‘WarmSocks’ business!