Quick, can you name the logos for McDonalds, the Olympics and Apple?
If you said the golden arches, interlocking rings and (duh) an apple, you win the kewpie doll. But can you say with any certainty what characteristics these best-of-the-best logos share? They are all simple, memorable and easily recognized.
Now, what about your business logo? Can you say the same?
Your logo, the public face of your business, provides the first impression that you never get to make again. So think carefully before committing to a logo that may give potential customers the wrong idea about your business.
Three Reasons Your Logo May Drive Away Customers
1. Your logo is busy and confusing
If your logo contains a design, business name and tagline, you've got two too many elements. A clean, simple logo does more than help your customers remember your business; it projects a clear business image.
For example, you may recognize the Olympic rings, but the logo for the 2012 London games was lambasted as a mess. Many didn't know what to make of the abstract "2012" and made their own assumptions. Some thought it said the word "Zion," while others thought it borderline lewd for some reason.
Figure 1: The 2012 London Olympic logo is a good example of what not to do when designing a logo.
To avoid these problems, keep your logo simple: simple font, simple image, simple everything. Then show it to everyone and anyone to get their impressions before running with the design.
2. Your logo puts your customers to sleep
On the other end of the spectrum, you have boring logos, and you can file this example under "when bad logos happen to good businesses." The Gap met with a firestorm of criticism in 2010 when it tried to change its classic blue box logo to a more generic font with a smaller box. The company quickly reversed course and reinstated the old logo, but that was, no doubt, an expensive lesson to learn.
If a major corporation can't seem to find a simple-yet-interesting design, is there any hope for your business? Of course! To start, look at what your competition uses and differentiate yourself from them without going off the deep end of design. And for the love all that is good and decent in the world, DO NOT use clip art graphics (see point number three).
3. Your logo screams amateur
We know you love Aunt Ethel, but she shouldn't be creating your logo simply because she took a design class at the senior center. Your business logo is not the time to call in favors from friends or relatives. Nor is it the time to get cheap and decide you have previously un-tapped design talents.
Hire a professional designer -- no contests, no crowd-sourcing. Not only will you get a better design, you'll get a properly vectored image that you can use in a variety of settings without any amateurish pixilation. Finally, a design pro can help ensure your logo will look just as good in black-and-white as it does in color.
You've invested a lot of time and energy in your business. Don't you deserve to have a logo that makes you proud and, more importantly, brings in customers?
Maryalene LaPonsie has been writing professionally for more than a decade on topics including education, insurance and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Western Michigan University.
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