Logos are deeply personal, often sentimental, and are a visible mark of your blood, sweat, and tears! If you have been in business for a while, you’ve probably grown more attached to your logo than Paula Deen’s love for butter. If you’re a start-up, defining your business can be a bit overwhelming, but take heart – the tips in the warning signs below could save you from headache AND heartache in the near future.
The below list are common obstacles presented by 10+ years of customers who were unsatisfied with their logo:
1.) IT DOESN’T CLEARLY IDENTIFY WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU DO
If a customer isn’t able to look at your logo and within 7 seconds understand what it is you do, what it is you are selling, or who you are – it’s time to consider a new logo! Your business is judged more quickly than it ever has before. Your logo has to fit your personality and product and be clear in its delivery. Businesses are often compared to other experts in the same field so consider what makes you unique from your competition. How do you compare? If you aren’t leading in your field, maybe it’s time to refresh your brand.
2.) IT’S THE KITCHEN SINK
Less is more when it comes to good logo design. Consider Target, Apple, Nike, etc. Target could have easily incorporated home furnishings, groceries, and apparel into their design, but they chose one of the most recognized symbols in North America – a bulls-eye. A 2003 Target study found more than 96 percent of American shoppers knew what the bold, red bulls-eye represents! Basically, Target is telling you they have exactly what you need – so certain in fact, they are willing to bet the small circle at the center of a target you will find something (if not more than) you need! Too many fonts/colors/images…overkill!
3.) IT’S NOT THE RIGHT FORMAT
Friends. Listen. If you aren’t provided vector artwork from your designer – your logo was not properly developed. Sure, it might look good on your website or a business card, but what happens when you want to put it on a t-shirt or the side of a building?! You can’t! Well…you caaaaan, but it will look terrible. If your designer says they are building it in Photoshop – find someone else. Your designer should be using Adobe Illustrator to give you a product that scales in size both up and down. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a .jpg and .png image of your logo (which is fine for digital/small size print needs), but you should also be given .ai and .eps files as well.
4.) IT’S DATED
If your logo has clipart, a drop-shadow, beveled edges, etc., you’re waaaay overdue for a new logo. Like wind suits and avocado color kitchens…it’s got-to-go! In my opinion, flat design (no gradient overlays/3D effects) is timeless and classic and will provide the most variety in the end. Because of the way drop shadows and 3D effects are made (we’re talking Photoshop vs. Illustrator again), it will not produce the vector image quality you will need as your business grows. Again, it might look good on a business card – but don’t think so small! Consider your future growth and plan now so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel later!
5.) TOO MANY VERSIONS AND NO CLEAR DIRECTION ON HOW TO USE IT
Do you have one version of your logo for your website, one for the side of your car, one for the sign out front, and one for your business card…but NONE of them match? You’re having a business branding identity crisis. The best solution is to work with a seasoned designer to develop a set of cohesive layouts and brand standards to establish a clear identity. Once your color scheme, fonts, and logo elements are designed – use them correctly and consistently! There is a lot of power behind repeat exposure and building a brand.
6.) IT’S NOT THE RIGHT SIZE
Your logo should scale and not lose it’s legibility and identity whether it is shown at 100% or 10%. I typically deliver logo design in both horizontal and vertical orientations because of the vast mediums it will be used on: blog header, favicon, store sign, etc., they’re all very different sizes. If the tagline is in a font that is too small at 100%, there’s no hope for it at 10%. Always consider your primary use for layout and font choices, but keep expansion in mind.
7.) IT’S SOMEONE ELSE’S
I’ve been asked too many times to copy or emulate someone elses logo. I won’t do it – and you should run for the hills if a designer agrees to do it. DON’T COPY! Good artists DON’T steal! This is one of those times where imitation ≠ flattery. Sell the uniqueness that makes you or your product different! There is a reason why you are in business for yourself…and reasons why you aren’t working for the company you are trying to copy! While you might draw inspiration from something you have seen, DO NOT STEAL! Clear? Good.
8.) YOU’VE OUTGROWN IT
“It’s not you…it’s me.” You’re allowed to say that to your logo. Maybe your initial business goals have changed and you have outgrown your logo. That’s okay too! Don’t be afraid to look at your logo and recognize it’s just not a fit anymore. Maybe it was too trendy? Gaudy? Product expansion? For whatever reason, if you don’t LOVE your logo, create one you do! If your brand is your business, than your business is a direct reflection of you. Your brand = you. It’s okay to break up with your old self to start a relationship with your new self.
9.) CONSIDER YOUR SOURCE
Maybe you have a trusted panel of friends, family or business partners who told you your logo was good. Let’s be honest – most of them aren’t going to be 100% transparent with you because they know your heart is attached to the design. After all, why would you show it to them if you didn’t think it was good? While it’s okay to let others weigh in – it’s probably best that you work one-on-one with your designer to really narrow the focus of your end goal. If you aren’t able to communicate your vision – who can? You know your business better than anyone else. Hire a professional (see below) and work with them until you are in love with your brand.
10.) YOU HIRED CHEAP (OR DID IT YOURSELF)
Your logo is the core of your business. If you can’t afford someone to do it right and invest in you in return, wait until you can – and find the right match. Choose someone who buys into YOUR mission, walks along side of you to understand your values and vision, then hire. It will prove invaluable time and time again. I tell my clients, “if you aren’t enjoying the process, we’ve gotten off track!”. It should be fun for BOTH of you. But don’t expect for free. As my sole source of income, fun doesn’t pay the garbage bill! And what’s more fun than paying for garbage?!
Feeling like you might be identifying with one of the above? Contact us below to get started on your logo review and let’s get your brand back in tip-top shape!