Oftentimes when I work with blossoming and passionate entrepreneurs, they have no idea where to start with their identity and branding.
They may not even bother with it and just jump to a random logo a cousin or friend designed on word or buy a cheap-o at some online marketplace because they feel the urgency to have some sort of design to claim that empty default avatar on their social media profiles.
They want their brand to have a face.
My goal is to educate entrepreneurs about the importance of branding, identity, and logo design and show you where to find a designer.
Start With Your Mission Statement
If you are truly passionate about your business you need to do the work and dig deep to find the core message to develop a strong mission statement that will establish your identity and brand.
Good designers like to work with stories and convey that story through design.
Your story as a business owner revolves around your identity and to narrow it down even further, your mission statement.
From my experience at the Disney College Program while studying Corporate Analysis I learned that there is a reason behind everything that a company does.
It’s not just to look pretty or please the CEO.
The most successful businesses develop strong and specific mission statements and visions to create a purpose behind everything they do.
Here are some questions I ask my clients to get a better idea of their mission and branding identity:
What is your mission statement? “If you don’t have one, GET ONE.” -Woody (Toy Story)
What products do you offer?
How and why do you offer those products?
Are you passionate about your business?
If you answered yes, Why are you passionate about your business?
What three words best describe your business?
Who is your audience (be specific: gender, age, what are their occupations, hobbies, likes & dislikes?)
What do you want your audience to feel when they see your brand?
Who are your competitors?
Why is your business unique? What sets you apart from your competitors?
What are the symbols you want to incorporate in your brand?
How did your business get started? What’s the story behind what you do?
If you can cruise through these and feel that your answers are timeless (they won’t change in the next 20 years), then you have a pretty solid brand and I give you the nod of respect.
What does this have to do with logos?
Having the mission and answers to the identity questions will help your designer immensely when it comes to everything they do to develop your brand.
Conducting research, developing the right shape form, picking out the best symbols, and pulling up a color scheme, and creating any other designs are some of the things good designers will do to help you develop your brand.
The less information you provide for your designer the harder the process will be to create a logo that is just right for you.
It may take longer, as well — When you don’t know the answers to the identity questions, your designer has to make an effort to pull them out of you and do additional research to find the style you like.
Not only will it help your designer, knowing the answers to your identity questions will help you make decisions in the future.
If you have one focus it will be easy to say no to appealing offers and opportunities that have nothing to do you with your brand.
It’s a trade-off, but it’s a good thing. You will be respected for it.
How do know the best kind of logo?
You know it’s the best logo when…
Research has been conducted to pick out the best symbols to match your mission.
Your audience can connect the logo to your business, guess the mission, or get an idea of it, just by looking at the logo.
It is used in solid colors and can easily be converted to just black and white (no grayscale, gradients, or shadows).
It combines one or two concepts into a seamless and beautiful design using form and negative (or white) space.The best logos are timeless, match your mission and use solid colors. Click To Tweet
It is a consistent and never changing design.
Good, Better, Best
Good Logos are used often for small start-up businesses, but are not timeless.
They follow trends and business owners are changing them frequently.
I call them Minimal Logos.
To the maker, Etsy shop owner, photographer, and others with a minimal budget or income may use this type of logo. In this link, you’ll see a variety of logos that use hand lettering, watercolor, metallic or glitter foiled looks, and cute complex doodles and drawings.
These may seem fun a playful, but the problem with them is that they aren’t timeless.
They are trendy.Good logos follow trends but are not timeless. Aim higher. Click To Tweet
This style comes and goes. They require minimal work and minimal or no research at all which translates to a lack of story, brand, identity, and or mission statement.
Most of them also can not converted to a solid black and white logo because they have multipel gradients, watercolor or foiled looks, meaning they can’t convert to a just white-colored design on a black background (which is useful if someone wants to use your logo in a simple way for marketing or partnerships).
Better Logos are something along the lines of just text.
Examples: Facebook, Skype, Google, YouTube, Magnolia Home, CocaCola, BILT, Ninetendo, Walmart
These logos are better because they convert to black and white, they are far more simplified than a Minimal Logo and illustrate the core message quicker through the name.
The best Monograms and Logotypes don’t use a font and it’s not just a design that is typed up. It is created from scratch and each letter is its own unique glyph, that is unified and similar to its counterparts.
The downside: If you pay attention to these brands, they change or slightly alter them every 2 to 5 years, which means they are following trends like Minimal Logo users, but just not as frequently.
Because these business are very well established, they end up spending billions of dollars to make those changes to not only to pay a designer to make changes, but also to swap out on everything that their name is plastered on to show off the new and improved logo.
Best Logos are one or two merged symbols that convey the mission, identity or story behind the business.The best logos are one or two symbols that convey your mission, identity and story. Click To Tweet
They use negative or white space to combine two ideas and some even go as far as using mathematical precision and ratios to create a perfect form.
Examples: Apple, Nike, Target, Starbucks
I refer to them simply as Logos
These are some of the most constant shapes we see in the market.
They hardly ever change… Maybe once every 10 to 20 years.
Apple hasn’t changed their logo shape for 50 years!
They may have added colors, or a shine and bevel to it, but the shape has been constant.
If you want a good read, look up the story of how Paul Rand came up with Apple’s logo.
The best logos are refined and are what the best designers strive to develop.
How do I find a GOOD logo designer?
Plenty of business owners find some random online venue that was recommended by a distant friend or that aunt who started a business way-back-when.
There are many traditional and cheaper options for logo design:
- Logo Garden
- Vista Print
- Logo Maker
- And many, many, many more.
If you had to choose from these I suggest Upwork or Fiverr.
The website layout is a little more intuitive and you get to know your designer in advance before committing.
You may have great success with these sites, however, from my experience and shopping around, most of these designers use pre-existing templates, tweak from a previous client’s template or rip off other ideas.
They most likely will not be creating a unique form or shape that depicts a clear concept that is specific to you and your mission.
It will be a minimal logo at best.
There are also a handful of places that I think business owners are missing out on and you can very easily find them by hanging out where the designers hang out:
- Online Business Facecbook Groups (search words: Creatives, Creativepreneur, Designer, Logo Designer, Branding, Adobe, Graphic Design, Entrepreneur)
- Instagram Portfolios
- ASK OTHER DESIGNERS, not other non-designers
These resources can be very helpful with not only finding a logo, but discovering great aesthetics for design.
Behance and Dribbble are a hang out for designers to share their portfolios and projects and you can create free accounts to contact them.
Instagram is a great resource because designers are more likely to have a business or portfolio account there because it is a visual/photo-based form of social media.
Asking designer friends who have been in the field for some time and have experience can give you a good lead to additional resources or other designers.
Overall, creating a solid mission statement will establish the foundation for everything you do in a business including the creation of a brand and logo.
Do that and you will lay a foundation for an incredibly powerful brand.