The Power of Branding: What's in a Logo?



In today's fast paced, visual-heavy world, it is very important to brand your company as the obvious choice for clients needing your services. Because of this, many CEOs and entrepreneurs are taking the wheel and designing their companies' logos. For example, Yahoo's CEO, Marissa Mayer, played an integral role in creating the company's new logo in 2013. However, without any sort of design training or knowledge, this task can seem daunting to most. Here are a few things to consider to make sure your final product doesn’t fall flat:

Credit to:

Credit to:

Keep it simple.

Over-complex logos confuse your potential customers and can deter them from using your services. What’s worse, not having a logo will give them doubts of your legitimacy. The brand giant, Apple learned this lesson and adapted to it quite well over the years:

It should work without color.

If your logo needs color to stand out, it’s likely a weak trademark.

It should work in all sizes

A logo is only as good as its versatility. Your logo should work in all mediums (i.e.: web, print, embroidery, etc.) Companies have been known to slightly alter their logos depending on the medium. At the end of the day, it all comes down to what looks visually correct.

Don't settle for the first concept.

From my experiences as a designer, the first concept you come up with usually isn’t the greatest or even particularly original. Use this first version as a springboard to decide the direction and personality you are trying to convey in your final drafts.

Pick your color(s) wisely.

Even though as a society, we have come very far in controlling our first impressions, we have all developed knee jerk survival reactions that are associated with colors. When you are ready to decide your color, reference this excellent guide by Rachel Gillett. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Red creates urgency. Go to Red Box and try NOT to give them your email address when their email capture screen appears. Your gut will want to sign up, and you won’t know why.

  • Yellow grabs attention. Those clearance jeans you just bought were a great deal. Did you notice the color of the tag on them? Optimism and urgency rolled into one color.

  • Blue is easy on the eyes and calms. Major social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) all use blue, making the information presented easier to read ... imagine if these sites were all red or orange ... you would likely run for the hills!

  • Orange is for construction or confidence. Harley Davidson … you know these guys are all about confidence!

  • Green is for environmentalism & health. Try to find an environmental movement that doesn’t attach green to itself; this has been occurring long before the term ‘Going Green’ was coined.

  • Purple. Think of the robes of kings. Success and mental strength are to follow. Have you ever wondered why Crown Royal's bottle appears so tasteful, yet the price of the product isn't too expensive? That’s the power of purple.

  • Black represents the formal, sophisticated or powerful. It's the black dress and tuxedo of the industry. With black, your company is looking dapper.

If you know what you want but lack the ability to polish it up, there's no shame in allowing professionals to take your great logo idea and make it fit the part. If you are considering outsourcing this work, here are a few options available to you today:

  • Hire an agency. This is typically the most costly option, and it's likely you'll get professional work. Make sure to review the agency's portfolio and references, and meet with their team to ensure they are the best fit for your company. Even if the agency does original, creative work, their style may not be compatible with yours.

  • Hire a freelance graphic designer. This option typically costs less than an agency and should still result in professional work. A freelancer worth his or her salt should be able to produce concept options in a very short amount of time. Again, check their portfolio and shop around a bit before picking your complementary designer.

  • Have designers compete online. Many designers suggest against this because it lowers the professional's value, however I believe that these types of sites are great if you want many decent logo concepts for a lower price. Your final concept will be a roll of the dice but since these sites are full of amateur to intermediate level designers, you can negotiate with the designer to make tweaks to the final concept.

  • Hold a logo design contest. A very cost efficient method of getting a logo designed. These are tricky, however, because you need to describe very concisely and accurately what you want to be produced. Unfortunately, you will have to pick a winner whether or not you necessarily love the final piece. Of course, you can request the artist help revise the piece or take that art concept to a professional designer for final polishing.

Don't wait — start building your better brand today!


Connect with Chris:

Chris Coles is the President and CCO of Dreamcapture Design. He loves helping business owners develop effective branding and marketing strategies for their businesses.

Chris Coles is the President and CCO of Dreamcapture Design. He loves helping business owners develop effective branding and marketing strategies for their businesses.

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