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Five critical things to remember when developing a new brand.

So you’re thinking about creating a new logo. It could be that you’re a startup company working to get yourself up and running or maybe you’re a long standing company needing to create a brand within your brand. The task of creating your identity is of massive importance and one of the absolute most critical things you will do in setting up your company or brand.

Here is a list of things to make sure you consider when taking on a task like this.

#1. To Hire or Not to Hire? – As one of my sons used to say when he was younger… Are you a good “drawer”? If you have a knack for design and an ability to put it to paper, then you could possibly design your own logo. However, if you’re idea of design involves stick figures and crayons, you should probably seek the assistance of a professional. These services are not cheap, but well worth it if you’ve never done something like this before.

#2. A Great Idea – When you begin to think of ideas for a logo, don’t just stop with the first one you have. Think of at least three completely different concepts and then kick them around.. The more input you can get, the better, especially if you are getting said input from people who want to help you.

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#3. Kicking Them Around – Show what you have created to multiple people with whom you trust. Get their input. Find out what they like about each one and what they don’t. Fine tune your concept as you may very well find that your end result includes parts from several of your initial designs.

#4. Fine Tuning, and then Some – So now you’ve narrowed it down to the design you like, or even better you may have two designs you equally like. Now you need to fine tune every little detail. Think about what your design will look like printed on business cards, letterhead, envelopes and promotional products like pens, water bottles and t-shirts. How will it look embroidered? It may look really good at a 8″ X 8″ size, but your logo is going to eventually be printed and branded at all different sizes. So while it may look great on a large format vehicle wrap, how will it look on a pen that has an imprint area of 1/2″ X 1/2″?

Are there any really thin lines? If so, you could have problems printing on anything other than paper. Think long term, Once you know you’re pleased with the design efforts, now it’s time to grab the crayons!

#5. Crayola – I know, the kid in you is screaming Yaaaa!, but the reality is that unless you want to photocopy 50 sheets of your design and then spend hours upon hours coloring like a 5 year old in Kindergarten class, you may want to have your design created in vector art. If you haven’t already, now is the time to seek a professional graphic designer to take your masterpiece(s) from the paper to the screen. The beauty of doing this is that once your logo has been created to vector art, you can easily manipulate colors with a few clicks of the mouse. Just keep in mind, the more colors you have, the more cost involved in having your full color logo printed on a very large majority of business necessities.

Lastly, here are a few additional things to take into consideration during your logo development which will help you avoid additional frustrations and costs when using your logo.

  • If possible, avoid really thin lines. While easy to print on paper based products, not so easy when screen printing on a promotional product, of which there are over 750,000 to choose from, so we’re not just talking pens.
  • Avoid gradients if you can. They may look cool on the screen, but they don’t look the same on paper or other products.
  • Know your colors! I encounter a fair number of companies who don’t know the PMS colors of their own logo! If your brain is thinking “PMS?”, please take comfort in that this has nothing to do with the well known Post Menstrual Cycle. This PMS stands for Pantone Matching System and you can learn more at www.pantone.com
  • One more thing on colors, the more colors you have, the most cost involved in in creating your full color logo on products that are screen printed.
  • If your logo is multiple colors, try to create a one color version as well so that you have a version you can use to keep your printing costs down in those times where it is needed.
  • Develop your brand standards guide. This should contain everything you can and cannot do with your logo. It should include information on spacing of text, fonts that are acceptable to use and what specific colors can be used.

Taking these steps will ensure that you will avoid some brand confusion later on. Good luck!

Chris Morrissey is the Owner of Proforma Big Dog Branding, a premier provider of printing services, promotional products multimedia production and e-commerce solutions. To reach Chris: chris@bigdogbranding.com; http://www.bigdogbranding.com/.

* Image provided by istockphoto.com