Corporate logos are symbols, usually designed for easy recognition, that
are used to represent companies. Indeed, logos are a ubiquitous presence
on a wide range of materials distributed or maintained by companies,
including store signs, business cards, major equipment, stationery,
marketing materials, packaging, uniforms, etc. Effective company logos
have been cited as important elements in corporate image-building efforts.
Conversely, many marketing experts believe that poorly conceived or
unattractive logos can have a negative impact on a business's
appeal and hence, its performance in the marketplace.
As small business owners and CEOs of major multinational firms alike are
aware, corporate image is an important factor in business success.
Companies that are thought of as innovative, smart, or stable in the
marketplace have achieved that status in part because of the way in which
they present themselves to
clients and competitors alike. Corporate logos are one of the tools that
businesses have at their disposal in shaping that image. As Anne McGregor
Parsons argued in
Colorado Business Magazine,
corporate logos are potentially valuable visual symbols because they can
express both the personality and the mission of a company.
ISSUES IN CORPORATE LOGO CREATION
Business consultants, entrepreneurs, and designers that specialize in
logo creation all agree that several factors have to be weighed when
creating a logo for a company:
Desired Image—This is far and away the most important
consideration, and it can be of even greater importance to business
start ups that may not have the financial wherewithal to recover from
early slips in logo choice and other marketing areas. Entrepreneurs
seeking to make or update a logo, then, should make sure that specific
business objectives, target markets, and competitor image are all
factored into the logo's creation. For example, a new
microbrewery would probably be more inclined to go with a creative, bold
logo that features a stylized image of its product than would an
independent insurance agency, which would place greater value on logo
characteristics that connote stability and trustworthiness.
Industry—Many companies sport logos that reflect the industry in
which they operate. Providing such associations often makes it easier to
attract prime customers.
Cost—Creating a logo, or updating an existing logo, "can
be an expensive proposition," wrote McGregor Parsons,
"affecting a company's entire range of visual
communications from business cards to truck fleets." Opinions
vary about the financial emphasis that start ups and established small
businesses should place on logos and slogans. Some analysts believe that
entrepreneurs sometimes devote too much energy and money to creating a
distinctive logo at the expense of addressing basic financial and
operational needs. Other consultants and experienced small business
owners, however, believe that a visually interesting logo can not only
attract much needed attention to fledgling businesses, but can also
present businesses with opportunities to make additional sales, by
making available clothing, gear, and other merchandise in which the logo
is prominently featured. This phenomenon has been most evident on the
national stage, as athletic shoe manufacturers and professional sports
teams have proven quite adept at selling such wares to customers, but it
can also be seen with local logos that are deemed trendy by young
Impact on Current Customers—Owners of established businesses who
are considering changing their logo should weigh the potential negative
impact that such a switch could have on existing clients/customers. As
Raymond Snoddy observed in
redesigning familiar corporate logos can be disturbing to customers who
have established a certain comfort level with the old logo.
Longevity—Entrepreneurs should beware of using logos that are
overly reliant on passing fads or marketing gimmicks.
"Communications cost a lot of money for a company, so they need
to have the greatest longevity that they can," one logo designer
Colorado Business Magazine.
"That's why we try to focus on timeless, classic design
[when making logos], leaving the trendier things to the more short-term
tactical type of advertising media." Another designer agreed,
remarking that a logo "must stand the test of time."
Distinctive—Experts urge business owners not to use gimmicky
logos, but they also tout the benefits of logos that are unique in some
fashion. Not only do such logos enjoy a certain level of legal
protection from infringement, they also catch the eye of the customer.
Flexible—Logo designs should be made so that they can be used on
a wide variety of promotional materials, from billboards and the sides
of trucks to letterheads and shirt insignias.
Love, Kenneth D., and Kenneth J. Roberts. "Your Company's
McGregor Parsons, Anne. "Making Your Mark."
Colorado Business Magazine.
Snoddy, Raymond. "Familiarity with Design Kills Off Shock of the
October 23, 1997.
Ten Kate, Nancy. "Graphic Design for the Bottom Line."
Underwood, Elaine. "Proper I.D.: With Brand Values Under Increasing
Attack, Companies are Keener Than Ever to Devise Memorable, Meaningful
August 8, 1994.
Williams, Hugh Aldersey. "You are Your Logo."