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Five Logo No-no’s: How To Market A Small Business From The Get-go
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Five Logo No-no’s: How to Market A Small Business From the Get-go

You’ve got a great new idea. It’s revolutionary! You’re pumped, excited. You may have a business model, a profit margin and a production schedule all laid out. Then it hits you: What about the logo? How can you market your new business without a logo?

A logo is your visual business card. Don’t wave it off with a quick ‘whatever’. Give it some real thought! Here are five things to avoid when developing a logo:

1) Using a Clip-Art Logo

In my town there’s a plumbing company that uses a clip art man carrying a toolbox and a wrench. They’ve done a great job of marketing their image – putting it on everything from semi-trucks to an old-fashioned horse carriage. The problem is I’ve seen at least five other companies in my city alone using that same image for their logo! If you absolutely must use clip-art, find something that isn’t easily reproducible. You don’t want other people to get business you worked hard to get, just because they steal your image.

2) Designing a Logo That Looks Terrible in Grayscale

Say you design this hip orange letters on green background logo, but when you go to fax it, or print it as a black and white – you can’t see the contrast at all. Why? Because you didn’t design the logo in black and white first. There are lots of applications for single-color logos like imprints on give-aways, screen printing t-shirts and faxing. Don’t leave out this important design step.

3) Picking Art Without a Message

If your company name is Great Escapes a balloon or anything travel related would make sense. What does not make sense is a tree, or a starburst or a random swirl of color. Don’t just grab a logo-template that looks nice and plug in your company or product name. Find one that gives the right visual message or you’ll end up confusing your potential clients.

4) Designing Without Focus

Sure you may be offering to do 20 different services, but a logo has to be concise – it can’t have 20 images on it, or even a list of the 20 services. So sit down and choose what your company’s primary message is and then condense that into a logo message. If you had three words to describe your company or product, what would it be? Now turn that into the basis for your logo.

5) Picking Clashing Colors

Look, neon pink and neon yellow WILL get someone’s attention, but such garish clashing colors will mostly grab the wrong ‘Oh dear god my eyes’ message. I’m currently writing several blog posts about colors and their subconscious meaning. Hopefully this will give some guidance on making your logo not only eye-catching, but help it tie in with the rest of the logo’s message.

Demystifying small business marketing and simplifying the design process isn't impossible. Any one can do it and even if you decide to outsource such things to other skilled professionals, you should be empowered with some of the basic principles so you can understand what they're doing!

Street Talk

I consult for dental offices and they are the worst when it comes to logo's. They all have the standard single smiling molar tooth. This logo is so negative. If your message and mission is to try to promote a beautiful smile and save teeth why would you have a single tooth as the logo. A logo of a beautiful smile promotes the concept of beauty and implies saving teeth, not removing them.

  about 1 decade ago

Dentists do have it tough, as do hospitals. I think that is why often times they just use nice typography rather than a catchy image. Humana, Jewish Hospital, American Family Dentistry and Mortensen Family Dental come to mind. None of them use 'symbol' imagery like someone with a broken leg or, yes, a smiling tooth. It's tricky to find a way to visually explain those companies without coming across somehow as negative. You almost have to be negative if you go the visual route because those places' job is to fix or prevent negative things from happening. Smiles could work (Google 'Braces Braces Braces' to see their wide-mouthed logo) but you again run into that monotony problem.

  about 1 decade ago
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