Seven logo questions that have nothing to do with design

You can spend five dollars to get a logo designed (although I wouldn’t recommend it!) or thousands of dollars. Compare the two and you’ll definitely see a difference in quality, expertise and the level of service you receive. But both can have one thing in common if you’re not prepared – they can both be ineffective in representing your business.

A logo is a visual representation of your business. When you can answer these seven questions about your logo that have nothing to do with type, design or color, you will end up with a successful logo that creates a good connection with your target audience and becomes a cornerstone of your brand. Ignore them, and you’ll end up with a pretty picture – nice to look at but not at all representative of your business, and imminently forgettable.

Both results will speak volumes about your business, but they will not be saying the same thing! So, ready, set, go – here’s your homework:

  1. Who is your target market and what are you offering them?
    OK, that’s actually two questions, but they are the most important ones. It’s Marketing 101 – if you can’t clearly explain what you sell and who you sell it to, the best designer in the world won’t be able create a logo that will resonate with anyone. Clear direction here will be the inspiration for style and design.
  2. What’s the name of your business?
    Sounds easy, right? But consider if it’s important to include Inc., LLC, DBA. Do you want a comma before LLC or leave it out? Does you name need to appear on one line or can it be broken up into 2 – or more? Knowing what you want beforehand will save you costly revisions down the line.
  3. What about your tagline?
    Decide at the outset whether your tagline needs to be an integral part of your logo. Don’t add it as an afterthought.
  4. How should your target market feel when they see your logo?
    Warm and fuzzy? Hip and modern? Scientific studies have repeatedly shown how people connect emotions with color and symbols – we’re visual beings who learn to understand pictures long before we learn to read. While a logo alone can’t set the tone for your business (your overall brand does that), a logo can elicit an emotional response and support your brand.
  5. Who are your competitors?
    Identify your competition and learn from their success and mistakes. But don’t copy them! You need to stand apart, not be a “me, too” business. Stay away from the clichés in your area of expertise and allow your designer to create your own unique spin.
  6. Can you describe your business’s personality?
    This is the part of your brand that should be reflected in your logo. Is your business traditional or progressive? Casual or elegant? Fun or serious? The words you choose to describe your business will drive the look and feel of your logo.
  7. How will you use your logo?
    On billboards and business cards? On tchotchkes like pens and coffee mugs? As an avatar on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook? Thinking this out beforehand will assure you don’t end up with typefaces that break apart at small sizes or heavy fonts that look great small but overwhelm on the side of a truck.

Even if you have a logo that you love, it doesn’t hurt to determine how it stands up to these 7 questions. You might be surprised at what you see (or don’t see)afterward!

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