Your company should be more than just a logo—an image on a product label or website. It should be a part of your brand … your company’s character in the (local or international) community. There is a huge difference between a logo and branding, but the two should marry and be united as one, uplifting your company and providing a stable base for you to build.
Let’s talk a little bit about logos. They are a representation of your company and are a very important component of your brand. Over time, when your logo and brand are well known, you can show someone your logo and they’ll connect it to your company right away. That’s the way it is with companies like Apple, McDonald’s, Nike, Applebee’s, Chick-Fil-A, and hundreds of other companies. The same could be true for local companies in your own community. Here are some basics about logos:
- Your logo should tell a story about your business, the history behind the company, or contain a special meaning for you.
- It should be simple. The more complicated it is, the more it detracts from the overall message and brand.
- Pay attention to the color of the logo, as colors can convey meanings as well. Black and white are very elegant colors. Red is bold and daring. Blue represents loyalty and trust. Black could be considered elegant and classy or evil (depending on the image or font used in the logo).
- Type style is also important and can convey a sense of style as well. Are you going to use a script (which can be considered formal) or bold and thick lettering with curly-q’s (for informal and fun)?
- You could even use a symbol (like Apple) along with your company name.
What about branding? Well, branding is the character of your company. It’s what customers see and recognize with your logo, your products, and your company as a whole. What do you think of when you see Nike? Or McDonald’s?
Branding relates to your customers’ experiences when they visit your store, purchase your merchandise, call with questions or complaints, and how they are treated by you, your staff, or representatives of your company. If they’ve had a great experience, consistent product reliability and quality customer service, that is the branding of your company being imprinted on your customers’ minds. That is what you are striving for with your brand. It truly is the character of your company.
Let’s look at McDonald’s. Their logo is the “golden arches.” Everyone in the United States recognizes it. What feelings or emotions are equated with it? What do you think of or feel when you see a McDonald’s as you drive by? For me, I think of fast food—cheaply made, but incredibly delicious French fries. It also brings back memories of high school lunches and fun times with old friends. That’s a brand. The key is to marry your logo with your “brand” so that the result is a consistent image of your company.
Meredith Duke is the owner and chief designer of Sweet Bee Pixels, a graphic and web design company. She’s the author of Introduction to Graphic Design at SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Born and raised in Texas, she is married to her college sweetheart, and loves homeschooling their two teens. The Duke family shares many an adventure at their homestead, San Gabriel Farm. Or, if you are interested in reading more about SEO, marketing, and graphic design, visit her website at www.SweetBeePixels.com. She’s always willing to help small businesses grow and flourish in today’s web-based economy.