You know why you are in business, and you've settled on a name for your business. Now you want to make sure you can advertise it ASAP. So, logical next step, you need a logo.
Except...it’s too soon.
While having a new, shiny logo finalized is exhilarating, there are several steps that need to be taken before you approach a designer:
You need to know who you are
You need to know who your ideal customer is
You need to be able to clearly communicate what problem you solve for them
If you’re thinking about getting a logo for your business, or even about redesigning a logo for your business, be sure to think through each step carefully.
Over the next three weeks, we're going to visit each of these topics and help prevent you from taking the logo step too soon.
Who You Are
You may be thinking, "Wait! I have a name and a purpose. Obviously I know who I am. Why can't I have a logo yet?"
The reality is that there is a big gap between naming your business and understanding your businesses' identity. Your identity takes into account what you value as a business (for example, speed in delivery, or high-quality craftsmanship); how you want everything to look and feel; the emotional connection you want to evoke from your audience; and the personality you will have when communicating with your audience.
It can take time to answer all these questions, but it is very important that you know the answers before you approach a designer. It is difficult to create a symbol to represent something when that something isn't well defined.
Here are some exercises to help you understand who you are:
Values Spend time writing down words that you'd like associated with your business. Think of this as a free-writing exercise; write down any and every word, and then think of synonyms for those words. For example, instead of just writing "cheerful," you can write down "forward-thinking," "optimistic," "service with a smile," "full of grace," "helpful," etc.
Look and Feel Put together a visual board of companies or brands that have the look and feel you want to emulate. This can be a Pinterest board, or a literal physical board with items pinned on it that have the colors, fonts, tone, and texture that you want reflected in your brand. This will save your designer A LOT of time during the design stage. Rather than trying to tell them what you want your logo to look like, you'll be clearly able to show them.
Emotional Connection This is most often communicated through imagery. Photos have a way of communicating without saying a word, and it is that emotional connection that attracts customers. Look at items 1 & 2 above, and then find examples of imagery that matches the values, look & feel that you are looking for. Establishing this up front will make it easier for everything to match later on.
Personality (word choice) This honestly will come into play the most in social media and advertisements, but it's important to think about the personality your company will have when communicating with others. Are you going to be formal? Casual? Helpful? Quirky? Make sure to pick a pleasant personality--you want people to like you! But you will still have your own unique voice based on the words you choose and the way you choose to use them. Look through social media accounts of brands that you want to emulate, and see how they interact with customers. Save these examples so you can reference them in the future.
Now, keep in mind that the answers you collect here may change, and that is okay. Identity is a process of discovery, and as you work through this process you may change your mind on your values, or on the personality of your brand, or on what colors you choose. As you work through this process, be flexible and don't feel that you "can't" change to something that feels more right just because you picked something earlier that doesn't line up. That's why you're doing these exercises--to try and get things worked out before the logo is created!
Invest in yourself NOW, and take the time to work through these questions. You'll be glad you did next week when we discuss your ideal customer.