HOW TO HIRE THE RIGHT LOGO
By Joe Vissichelli, http://www.ArtifaxArt.com
Recently I learned that an old export-import industry customer of mine had decided to have his art-school daughter redesign the logo I had created for him several years back. He loved it at the time but who am I to compete with parental affection now? Her approach – to slap together some generic clip art images and a dance-party-ish font – was amateurish and inappropriate for his industry and clientele, but he replaced my design with hers on everything from trucks to checks.
I was far from insulted, but I do shake my head when a business owner – whether my customer or not – so clearly shoots his brand in the foot.
Like a human employee, your logo has a job to perform for your company and this role can be summarized in a handful of requirements. Understanding how your logo should serve you will help you “hire” the right logo – the graphic representative of your company.
Delivering the essence of your brand
Your brand summarizes the story of your business: a combination of who you are (your firm’s personality, mission and values), your services or products, the needs you address for your target customers and your uniqueness over your competition. Undoubtedly, you may come up with a long list when mulling over such factors but once you’ve summed them up, edit it down to your true essentials. That nutshell version is what should come across in your logo.
A quick read
Regardless of the final length of your list from this branding exercise, your logo has to sum it all up in an instant. Logos work with how people see and perceive, often more subliminally than literally, and if yours doesn’t magically sum you up in a glance, it is falling down on the job.
This can be achieved whether your design is a graphic symbol with your name in type, a symbol alone or just type-only. Again, a good designer works his magic on the mind of your market. Think Nike.
A distinctive image
Your logo should be eye-catching and unique to you. Following a trend of the day – the swooshmania of the 1990s comes to mind – may seem like a smart way to look contemporary but it’s actually a guarantee you’ll blend into the pack and end up looking dated when the fad passes. Care to look like yesteryear?
Logos that endure need not acknowledge those of others, nor should your company try to fit the design mold of your competitors. Be bold, be different and be served by your logo for the long haul.
Properly featured on all your marketing and visual materials, a logo that addresses these basic job requirements will – like a valuable employee – serve your company with distinction for a very long time.
Joe Vissichelli of ArtifaxArt.com (http://www.ArtifaxArt.com) is a longtime graphic designer and branding strategist who provides big-company visibility for small businesses. This article may be freely distributed on the internet as long as it is used in its entirety and includes this notice and its web site links. ©2009 Joe Vissichelli, all other rights reserved.
SHOW YOUR LOGO LOVE TO BRING LOVE TO YOUR BUSINESS
By Joe Vissichelli, http://www.ArtifaxArt.com
Over the years, a niggling source of post-project headscratching for me has always been the occasional client who invests in a nice, new logo to dress up his brand and then does everything possible to neutralize the value of his investment.
No matter how much I emphasize to logo clients the need for proper usage and handling of such artwork, some small business owners will never consistently apply recommendations for getting the most from the art we’ve created together. Despite springing for the work, they seem unable to understand its across-the-board importance to their company.
The most basic concept of branding is to use one’s logo – the public face of your company – on everything possible. It should consistently appear, exactly as it was designed, on every bit of your company’s marketing, advertising, promotional, and identifying materials. Simple, right?
Like any responsible designer, I make this easy to carry out by supplying the variety of final art formats to cover the gamut of graphic needs a customer may encounter for printed materials, internet usage, signage, etc. I then present multiple disks to the customer, instructing that at least one “for-your-eyes-only” copy (and preferably more) should never be given out to anyone but instead, like the family jewels, be safely stored as the definitive versions of the original art.
So let’s say that a company signs on as a sponsor of an event and the organizers ask for a copy of his logo artwork for their marketing materials. The first question the business person needs to ask is, “What type of file is needed?” And the answer to that is what should be supplied.
If, for whatever reason, the appropriate digital file is not available, I strongly recommend contacting the original designer for a new copy – NOT letting the sponsor or anyone else create new art using what’s on your business card, envelope or another non-digital source. This includes having them scan your logo from printed material because scans need to be responsibly cleaned up and tweaked for such usage and a poor job can make your brand look seedy.
Rather than being the ultimate guardians of their brands some company heads, perhaps too busy to pause, seem not to give a glance to the logo uses and abuses right under their noses. One firm’s private printer didn’t have a digital logo file to work with, so he carelessly created a distorted approximation of the design for envelopes the company now uses every day. Oddly, I could see it was made using some form of the original for reference to even be that “close,” but the effort or ability for a dead-ringer wasn’t there and even a casual observer – like the clientele receiving such mail -– could easily see something was off-kilter.
I see that another business still uses a prior logo design on his web site years after applying a new one to everything else. Such disarray does nothing to create the image of a well-run company and, when picked up by potential customers, it may well provide the impressions that keep them shopping.
Three Simple Rules
To help prevent such nightmare branding scenarios, I offer you three simple rules for getting the most from your investment in a new logo:
1. Keep a set of your original logo art disks in the safest places possible and NEVER give them out. Keep extra copies of those disks and files handy (on your office computers and on disk) for needy vendors, event organizers, printers, etc. Protect your personal stash of the original files at all costs. Be aware that CDs and DVDs do not last forever, so copying and storing multiple copies from your original files may cover you for that rainy day when a disk could be suddenly corrupted.
2. Always supply the specified types of files when logo art is requested for reproduction. Don’t assume that outside vendors will automatically do a good, responsible job reproducing your logo. Ask for a proof or URL that will allow you to check the quality of the image being used.
3. Use your new logo – and ONLY that new one – to death! Put it on everything possible and when you find yourself getting sick of it, remember that the rest of the world may just be catching on to it as your brand identifier. Stay with it.
Show such care for your logo and your logo will take care of you, as the publicly perceived symbol of a well-run company worthy of another’s business. Simple.
Joe Vissichelli of http://www.ArtifaxArt.com is a longtime graphic designer and branding strategist who provides big-company visibility for small businesses. This article may be freely distributed on the internet as long as it is used in its entirety and includes this notice and its web site links. ©2009 Joe Vissichelli, all other rights reserved.
WHY GOOD DESIGN MATTERS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
“Your company’s public image is only as strong as your graphics. Whether it’s your sign, your logo, your advertising, brochure or website, the quality of your graphic materials quickly reveals if you have your business together. Eye-catching, viewer-friendly designs attract customers, project your value, spread your message effectively and give you a leg up on those with whom you compete. For projects ranging from print to signage to the internet – or a company-wide identity program involving them all – I make you look special. Simply put, outstanding graphics make you money.”
Design by ArtifaxArt.com ©2010 Joe Vissichelli All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of any works without written permission prohibited.