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[edited by: sun818 at 2:34 am (utc) on Sep. 12, 2003]
If you own your own business, you are not an average person. If you are a computer geek, you are not an average person. What I am trying to say is that you can not trust your own perspective and judgment on things as they apply to your customers because - you are not an averge person, but most of them are.
The average person will remember a logo and a tag line. They will also see these as signs of credibility. (My brother, a fairly successful brick and mortar business owner said this well - "On the Internet you can be anything you want...")
I agree with DLady that simple is good. I have seen some biz cards that use logos that look like they need 2000 color separations to print - ain't going to work.
Ideally your logo should go on your letterhead, biz card, website, maybe even tattooed to your a$$ ;).
Nothing says amateur hour more than some online biz-card logo template #262.
I knocked together a great (IMHO) logotype for someone recently who just walked into my office and said "I need a logotype, right now!" and I put something together for him in 10 minutes - 5 minutes of which was, "getting to know you" chit chat.
One of my favorite books for inspiration is: Graphic Design: A Concise History by Richard Hollis - a little survey book, full of great examples of graphic design from 1800's on.
From experience it is essential you road test a few different designs before you decide on your final one. The way you(as designer?) interpret the logo compared to your clients/users is often surprisingly different. Given a range of choice the finger often points away from the ultra designed all bells a whistles logo and looks for the simpler motif.
Colour has many cultural and historic references and is a big factor in successful branding
Remember that a good logo should be able to reproduced in all manner of different mediums on all shapes sizes and textures. So work up a big sketch in Black and White before you employ money, technology, colour etc.
Oh and have fun!
Something else to watch out for is how well it reproduces in various sizes and media. A logo for a home page can look great with color gradients, small details, etc. Put the same logo on a business card and the details blob together and the gradients don't reproduce. Moral: Keep the logo simple and clean, and be sure to test it in various sizes.
I think there's an emotional side to logos, too. In the same way that you might feel more confident wearing an elegant, well-cut suit to a business meeting (vs. an ill-fitting Wal-Mart jacket), you really will feel better communicating with professional-looking letterhead, business cards, etc.
I just completed a new logo project for one of my sites that competes with a couple of much larger public companies. Even though we are a tiny fraction of their size, I now feel we have a superior logo and more effective branding. No more inferiority complex. ;)
You do not need to be Nike or Coco-cola:
<snip from site>
In todayís market, a company logo design is necessary in order not to
avoid any missed advertising opportunity. A logo design represents
a symbol of identity, a means by which customers can instantly recognize
your product or service.
Regarding Color; it all depends on the industry and where your logo design
will be displayed.(i.e. a full color logo design can be costly on corporate wear)
With a logo design, your letterheads, business cards and envelopes can
become that much more professional.
The benefits of having a logo design definitely out way the cost.
While we're on the subject of logos - something I spend a lot of time doing actually - in your contact info, or somewhere on your website - put a page with an eps, large jpg and b/w tif somewhere for me! ;) I'd like to see it become the norm that all websites have a corporate brand page where logos and perhaps even typefaces can be accessed easily. That would make my job so much easier :) You would be amazed at the number of people who copy the logo from their website and send it to me at 50x120 pixels or whatever and expect me to rebuild all the detail for printing larger.
hint hint to all the webmasters out there :)
limbo, can you go into more detail about the cultural and/or historic references to colour? I wouldn't want to turn off segments of the buying population because I used the wrong color or image! Honestly, I can't say I've ever considered tracking customers by race, sex, or income (zip code via Census) and designing with those considerations in mind. But now you got me thinking... :)
Also, if you're not a designer and can't do it yourself, what should a good but low budget logo cost? I know you can spend upwards of thousands of dollars. Wonder what Nike spent?
It doesn't need to be expensive.....look at Google...write out the company name....color it in like a five year old....bevel it if you wish, add a drop shadow for a fancy feature and you have one in less than 2 minutes!
The Nike checkmark probably cost tens of thousands of dollars....to my mind it could have been created for pocket change....but either way, today is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.....pick the bones out of that;)
When we got a logo we asked about 5 or 6 graphics firms/people to send us a sketch based on what we said we wanted. After getting opinions on all the proposals we went with one guy and went back and forth for a while until we had something we really like. That ended up being a little more expensive than going with one business from the start, but I think it was really worth it.
One thing that I wish we had done was to get the logo adapted for more situations. Sometimes you need a square and other times a rectangle. A layout that looks good big may not look as good small. I've ended up cutting and pasting the original high res image, but I think it would have looked better if we had got the graphics guy we contracted with to do it.
Sometimes you need a square and other times a rectangle.
Hmmm, I was thinking a rectangular logo was all that I would need. For instance, the webmasterworld logo is rectangular and so is the sponsor. In what situations would you use a square? Are there other logo shapes I should consider, like a skyscraper?
I guess looking at what type of ads you would want to run is good way to approach the issue. I'm sorry I can't offer anything concrete. What your needs will be are definitely not completely forseeable. Maybe rather than planning for every contingency try to stay in contact with whoever does your logo on some level and make sure you have it in a format so that you can do a lot with it if you need to.
As with many services, you can pay next to nothing or a lot of money for a logo. My recent logo procurement experience showed that the going rate for a moderately professional effort is $300 - $400, with some additional variations depending on whether you expect a full corporate identity package (e.g., business cards, letterhead).
My designer selection process: While reviewing online portfolios, I did see quite a difference in quality between suppliers. Some used quite a lot of cookie-cutter design elements, while a few made each design quite original. I was looking for a "corporate" look, which eliminated a few designers that seemed to specialize in busy, artsy designs.
With a short list of four designers, I made a page of sample work & compared color printouts. Two, I decided, were better than the others; after further review and checking of past client comments, I picked one.
The design process was very satisfactory. The designer had us complete a fairly extensive survey about the business, its clients, its competition, marketing objectives, etc. He then came up with a half-dozen concepts, all somewhat unique and original, and all related to our business. No clip-art swooshes. We went through about two more rounds of refinement, and came away very satisfied.
If you're serious about doing business, you really need a logo.
This doesn't mean you have to hire a graphic designer; if you can come up with something decent on your own, that's better than nothing (IF the end result is professional:-).
As several people have said, simple is good and it must look good in black and white too, however, just because a design has gradients, etc. doesn't mean it will look bad in b&w.
A lot of people seem to think that Internet-only businesses don't need a logo, when the opposite is often true. If you're Internet-only, it's all the more important that you present a credible, trustworthy image and a logo can be a big part of that.
Just as a side note in defense of designers, LOTS of people want the "swoosh". All you can do is present the client with other options and then honor their decision. :-)
Regarding color, you might want to check out "PANTONE Guide to Communicating with Color"; it's pretty handy.