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Does a small business need a logo?

Its not like I'm Nike or Coca-Cola.



12:01 am on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm wondering if a small business needs a brandable logo? In the near future, I know I won't be doing enough business where the buyer is going to know my company from an image. I know when look at symbols from major companies I know what company it belongs to. Is my business better served with practical information like web address and contact information embedded into the logo? This way when other web sites use my logo, the contact information is already there.

Any thoughts?

[edited by: sun818 at 2:34 am (utc) on Sep. 12, 2003]


12:37 am on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

A company logo gives continuity in you business instruments. Be it a letterhead, website or business card, you create a thread for people to remember.
It can be as simple as your company name using some typeface, arranged in a pleasing order or even a picture of your dog.
I think that itís an important tool.



1:31 am on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

People don't remember practical information as well as they remember something that catches their eye. Spend some time on it and try and come up with a concept that incorporates both.
A good logo for an online business can really make a difference IMHO. A great logo may even considerably help a small business get big.


1:34 am on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Several times in various user tests we've found that logos lend credibility to companies - even when consumers haven't heard of those companies before.

I highly recommend having a logo. Even something simple is fine.


2:16 am on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I would recommend both a logo and a tag line. Many (most?) of those big companies had them when they were small.

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...")



2:39 am on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

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


2:53 am on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

IMHO - having a logo can be long-term strategic planning. :)

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.


12:10 pm on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member korkus2000 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I agree with everyone here. If you have a business you should make a logo. To me it is the most basic and necissary piece of marketing.


1:27 pm on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Oh, I forgot to mention-- we have a version of our logo that includes our company's contact information, location, and web address. It's just like our other logo, but we strip out the tagline and use that space for contact info. Very handy. Phone, fax, email, web, and street address, all integrated into the logo. I took it off the website because it was too large an image, but it works great as a graphical email sig, and on marketing materials.


2:12 pm on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Test, Test, Test!

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!




2:13 pm on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

> So work up a big sketch in Black and White


I have a friend who is a VERY incredible branding expert. She said a good b&w logo presentation is almost more important than the color one.


2:48 pm on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I agree with the B&W part. There will be times when you must use one color, and you should be sure your logo will present well that way, too.

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. ;)


6:01 pm on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Creating Logo Designs is one of our main sources of business.

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.


11:17 pm on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

On the topic of logos - Essential

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 :)


11:27 pm on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

put a page with an eps, large jpg and b/w tif somewhere for me

That's a great suggestion and it is surprising how many big companies don't do it. It's a waste of time to have to call up someone in a marketing department when all I want to do is access a good quality logo.


11:31 pm on Sep 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

What we found that was a big help, is to design logo's for print, and save down for web. Someday, ans it will be sooner than later, you will want it in printable resolution. ;)


12:03 am on Sep 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thank you all for your feedback. I'm convinced now that a good logo can only help a business.

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... :)

Robert Charlton

6:01 am on Sep 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I'm more aesthetically attracted to abstract logos, like Nike's, but I wonder whether a small company that's a lot less prominent needs a logo that's text based and conveys the company name.

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?


7:20 am on Sep 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Every business needs a logo....it is part of what they represent.

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;)


7:33 am on Sep 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My company, which is still less than 10 people, went through the process of getting a real logo a few years ago. It is something that I think is definitely good to do well early on, though you can always improve it.

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.


7:48 am on Sep 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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?


5:02 pm on Sep 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Lets see... My company name is a 3 word phrase. We started off with a fatter navbar and and had all three words stacked on top of each other. Then the site was redesigned and the navbar got skinnier so the logo needed to become rectangular and have a smaller height. So then it was one fat word on the left and two words stacked on top of each other on the right. Recently I've wanted to stretch out the logo to have all 3 words on the same line and put our tag line below it in smaller type.

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.

cyril kearney

10:56 pm on Sep 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I thin that logos for small companies server as a mnemonic so they should be simple and easily read. The also give the impression that the business has been around for a while.


2:07 pm on Sep 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I started a new venture just last week. I've literally just finished designing the logo - then I stumbled on this thread! Logos are good for any business - big or small!


4:30 pm on Sep 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I agree with everyone here : having a logo is good....whether you are a small or a big organisation! It gives you an identity and people remember your organisation easily....well you logo does'nt necessarily have to be very complicated...choose a nice font and make your company name stand out!
That seems to work well!


3:13 am on Sep 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

For a startup with no money, just about anyone with design sense can play with fonts a bit and come up with a logo that looks far better than no logo or a totally generic one.

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.


7:42 pm on Sep 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member essex_boy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Sure a logo its human nature to follow and associate with symbols - flags and coats of arms for an early example


8:27 pm on Sep 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Tolachi and Rogerd,

Can you recommend some logo design contractors? Please send me a PM. Thank you in advance.


9:21 am on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Here's my TOTALLY BIASED (see profile) $0.02 worth:

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.


1:15 am on Sep 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

There are some logo creating programs out there and a few of them aren't too shabby.
This 36 message thread spans 2 pages: 36

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