That clip art of a pyramid you pulled out of Microsoft Office and put over your company’s name? That’s not a logo. That swooshy line you cribbed from an ad you saw in a trade magazine? That’s not a logo. That stylized capital-version of the first letter of your company’s name? That’s not a logo. Printing your company’s name in a particular color? That’s not a logo.
What were once called logotypes and are now better known as logos are graphic symbols that are intended to symbolize a company. So many are iconic — from Target’s red bull’s-eye to Starbucks’ s green mermaid to Nike’s “swoosh.” No wonder so many companies believe a logo of their own will create the same kind of cachet. Of course, it won’t. Part of the reason we all can envision the three I mentioned is that there has been a gazillion dollars of promotional efforts behind them — but that’s another story.
A logo can indeed be a powerful symbol for your company, but if you approach it as a do-it-yourself project, it won’t be. Period. Especially if you try to pass off some kind of tired clip art like the aforementioned pyramid. Instead of looking like a high-quality company, you’re going to look amateurish, especially in front of your prospects and customers who know better.
If you want to have a logo that will truly represent your business, you need to hire a professional graphic designer. Again, I said professional — your cousin who has a copy of some Adobe software doesn’t count. The designer will ask about your vision for the company and about your tastes, and then come back to you with amazing representations. In my experience, most designers bring back so many good options that clients struggle to narrow it down to just one.
A professional designer can also prevent problems with your logo. He or she will know that the logo has to work on everything from golf shirts to signage, from business cards to web graphics, and will consider all of those things when creating yours. That nice woman in accounts payable who dabbles in art? She doesn’t know that the pretty design she came up with for your logo will never be readable if it’s rendered smaller than two inches square. And it has so many colors that the embroidery shop owner plans to buy a new Lexus after he makes your shirts.
You’re talking about something that will represent your business in the marketplace for many years. Buy cheaper coffee if you want, but don’t cut corners here. Hire a pro. Period.