If you’re starting a business in Maryland, or just thinking about it, you have probably done some initial research that confirms there is a market for the products or services you plan to offer. You are encouraged by the possibilities, and the next step is to ensure that the customers or clients you know are “out there” will hear about you and make their way to your door.
The initial steps you take are the ones that are critical to the growth and ultimate success of your business. “Branding” a business is critical today. There is no substitute for the planning and detailed groundwork that paves the path to success. Part of that initial effort is the creation of a logo that creates interest and encourages action.
As a Maryland-based business, you can tap into local enthusiasms and preferences as you design a logo. You should find an abundance of ideas — the seashore and the Chesapeake, water and the popularity of recreational boating and agriculture, historical richness, rural and the importance of local, fresh and natural products, Baltimore sports, and Annapolis naval history. Inspiration surrounds you.
1. Know Your Audience
The key, of course, is to properly identify your target market and align your product promotion with its intended consumers. For that to happen, you must have an understanding of your product line and your company’s goals. But you must also try to define your ideal customer.
Whatever you plan to sell, try to develop an initial customer profile that defines your audience and its cultural, educational, and economic character. Your logo design should reflect that character. In a competitive space, it’s imperative that a logo is able to “speak” for the brand, reflecting its value and sending the same message over time as the company grows and develops, adding new products and services.
Research your demographic in various ways. Seek reactions from friends and family regarding your product lines. As you work on logo designs, solicit comments from associates and from the types of customers you hope to attract. Use blind research studies or comprehensive questionnaires if possible to assess the need and possible customer reaction to what your company offers.
2. Send a Message
A captivating logo will tell a story. Whether you want to project an image of stability or innovation, high style or whimsy, playfulness, or serious business, your logo will help to define your brand. Think seriously about the image you want to project. You will want your logo to stand out, but how it is distinguishable from other brands is key to the message it conveys. Start with a sketch pad and take the time to experiment with different design concepts.
Think of a logo as “Communication 101.” Try to design a logo that needs no explanation. If the message is intuitive, you have a winner.
At this stage, you should also be aware of your competitors’ logos. Study them with a critical eye, and evaluate the varied messages they project. Keep your message fresh and distinctive. As you doodle and evaluate design possibilities, the best options will emerge, and you and your team can begin to refine your favorites.
3. Keep It Clear and Simple
The basics of logo design are clear. Whether you choose a logo that employs words, graphics, a stylized design, or a combination of elements, it should be as simple as possible. It should also be scalable and adaptable, allowing it to be used on varied surfaces and in different sizes. It can help, while you’re still in the process of designing a logo, to compile a list of possible logo uses — everything from packaging to building signs, from business cards to billboards.
A unique, memorable logo offers an opportunity to make a lasting impression. Great logos that stand the test of time are invariably the simplest of designs, timeless, graphically interesting, and immediately recognizable. No one will ever confuse Twitter’s bird with another brand, and Coca-cola’s flowing script is never mistaken for another soft drink.
Some branding experts recommend adopting a logo that is as visually interesting in black and white as it is in color, while others suggest experimenting with different background colors and contrasting borders for different uses. It may be a matter of personal choice, but you’ll want to carefully consider your options.
If you use two or more colors, make sure the tone and intensity are compatible.
4. Choose the Best Colors
The psychology of color also plays a role in logo design. Color motivates in many ways. It can inspire trust, provoke, soothe and reassure, encourage action or promote a wide range of emotional responses. Color combinations can be subtle or vibrant, and the use of specific colors — black and gold, for example — can suggest luxury and stability, while primary colors point to youthful exuberance.
Color is arguably the most important element of logo design, although the choice of typestyle or font is critical as well, particularly when combined with a symbol.
Color perceptions change based on hue and intensity, but the following emotional responses to color are well documented:
- Red attracts attention and signifies strength and power. It is perceived as warm, friendly and positive, but it can also warn of danger.
- Yellow is rich, uplifting and illuminating, perceived as youthful and energetic. Depending on its saturation and tone, it can also induce anxiety or apprehension, and it might be considered showy or unsophisticated.
- Blue is commonly viewed as serene and conservative, the color of loyalty and integrity. It is a universal favorite, and in its brighter iterations, it is fresh and modern. Navy or blue-grey, on the other hand, might be considered stodgy and old-fashioned.
- Green is the color of money, nature and security. It is a color most often associated with harmony, balance and growth. It complements other colors, and combines well with white and black for a serene, but distinctive appearance.
- Purple can be used creatively, but with caution. Some perceive purple as purposeful and idealistic, but it is also sometimes viewed as immature and impractical. It is, however, a color traditionally associated with wealth and royalty.
- Orange is another option to be chosen with care. While it can be refreshing and confident, it is sometimes viewed as pessimistic and superficial. In business, however, because it is a combination of red and yellow, orange can suggest affordability and energy.
Start Designing Your Logo
The last step in the logo design process is to actually get your logo designed. Here you have a few different options depending on your needs and budget. Below are some of your options.
Automated Logo Design Tools – If you need a logo fast and cheap but one that still looks good you can go design your logo with a logo maker. These are online tools – many driven by AI – where you simply add the name of your business and choose your design options and the AI designer will create your logo.
Freelance Platforms – One of the most popular ways to design is a logo is through freelancer platforms. This option is more expensive than automated logo tools but the quality is better, and your logo will be more unique. You can expect to pay anywhere between $50 to $100 for a freelancer to design your logo.
DIY Tools Some people prefer to design their own logos. However, unless you have an eye for design this is not an option for everyone. There are many websites such as Canva that allow you to create a DIY logo for free using drag and drop design elements.
Launching a business is very exciting and designing a logo is one of the first steps in making your new enterprise real. There is nothing like seeing your logo for the first time. It’s a rush!
However, although designing a logo is exciting it’s important that you don’t let the excitement cloud your judgment. Your logo is a key part of your brand identity, and you need to view it with an unbiased eye. So, make sure the final design looks professional and that it represents your brand and your business. However, if you use the above tips you should end up with a logo that’s a perfect match.