dragonlady7 - 2:39 am on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)
I work for a small, and old, company. We've been around 27 years.
Our logo changes from time to time, but it's a logo.
What is it?
It's the company name (a three-letter acronym), in Bauhaus font.
Six months ago, our publications department decided to modify it. She (she was the entire department for about a month) decided that instead of totally redoing it, she'd just change the font's weight, add a 3-d effect to it, change the colors, remove the box, and add some lines.
A logo doesn't have to be fabulous. Just pick a font, pick some good colors (I recommend two colors on a white background, or even just one color on white), and do everything on your site using that color or colors. Use that font only for the logo. Pick a catchphrase if you like-- our logo ended up being two parts, the bauhaus acronym and then the company's name spelled out above a horizontal line, and the catchphrase underneath the horizontal line. Write the catchphrase in a second, complementary font. Then, use that second font as a graphical accent elsewhere on your webpage, for strong accents in headings and set-in boxes and the like.
It doesn't have to be complex. Just pick some kind of unified graphic sense. If you have any photos or illustrations, edit them slightly in a graphics program to tint them very subtly towards the logo color, and then use that color in accents (like colored headers, or graphical headers made from your secondary font, etc) throughout the page.
It's little things like that which will make you seem like you've really got it together. be consistent, and if you update (whatever you pick is eventually going to look dated, and unless you want to hang on in grim determination until it becomes retro chic, you'll probably want to update as well) then make absolutely sure you update everything, including business cards and email stationery and all that crap. Make sure your colors stay consistent and you don't ever use more than your two main colors on white.
If you haven't got a graphic design department, it's more important than ever to just be as simple as you can, keep your colors simple, and have your logo be not so much a graphic as a color scheme and phrase. We don't even keep our logo saved in several formats-- if we need it, we just re-create it quickly, because it's just text and a line. Very easy to adjust-- it's on business cards, letterhead, embroidered onto shirts, used in partner links at weird resolutions and sizes, in magazine advertisements and press releases, in online press releases, and of course plastered all over a website. It's even on a sign on the door. It looks fine all those places. You change it a little each time, but you stick with the same colors (Pantone color definitions are good for making sure your eye doesn't fail you and give back the wrong color) and try to stay within the same spirit.
It's not too hard, and it makes things easier. You just have to pay just a little bit of attention, and you look like you've got a whole design staff. :D