Networking with others in your industry and related industries is the most important thing you can do to get your small business off the ground quickly. But before you start networking, you will need a professionally designed logo, an attractive business card and a polished, interactive website. While you might never be recognized worldwide by just a symbol, like Apple® or Coca Cola®, your logo will be very important in communicating your professionalism and attracting repeat customers. As with your business name, it’s often best to keep your logo as simple as possible. A complicated logo design will have hidden costs in the future; for example more expensive building and office signs. Today I’ll talk about some important considerations in creating a strong small business logo.

Choosing a small business logo designer

There are many gifted graphic designers out there; you probably even have one among your own friends and family. But proceed cautiously when choosing a small business logo designer. Although $500+ seems like a lot of money when you have so many other things to pay for, an experienced logo designer is priceless. Cut corners on this one and you might regret it every day of your business’s life, or at least until you finally decide to spend the money to have it redone. Logo design is a specialty not suited to every graphic designer. An experienced designer will provide your logo in several different formats and sizes: a vector file for printed materials and signs, and a raster file in various sizes for the Internet. If you don’t know what these words mean and don’t know how to resize Cousin Jimmy’s artwork yourself, you will avoid many future headaches by hiring a pro. Trust me!

Choosing your logo colors

It’s tempting to choose your own favorite colors but check first to make sure they appeal to your target audience and fit with your product or service. As you begin noticing other businesses’ signs, you will soon see that each industry or sector has a tendency to use certain colors. Health care logos are often blue or purple. Banking, legal services and insurance all have their own most used colors and font types. Many retailers use red, orange, yellow or some combination of these. While unusual colors might help you stand out from your competitors, realize that your choice could be more jarring to your potential customers than attractive.

Choosing logo fonts

Because your logo will sometimes be used in very small spaces such as on business cards and shirts, it’s important to choose fonts with strong strokes. Fine strokes are impossible to print or embroider when your entire logo has to fit within 1 inch by 1 inch. Serif, sans-serif and script fonts each project a different image. While traditional fonts can work well, a custom-designed font might be just the thing to communicate your business’s personality. Make sure your logo designer knows how to save your files correctly or your print vendors will be asking you for “missing font files”.

ADDING Symbols to your logo

Many famous logos consist strictly of words. Over time, the unique arrangement of the name and font come to represent the company as easily as a symbol. Before you decide to go strictly with a name, though, consider whether its initials can also represent your business when needed in a very small space. For example, you will need a small symbol for the Internet browser tabs of your website, also known as a favicon, and a small image to use on Facebook and other social media pages, sometimes called an avatar or gravatar. Don’t be one of those businesses that tries to use its entire logo in these spaces. Placing ProSign Branding’s entire logo in one of these spaces reveals only the black “o” and red “S” (oS), practically screaming “amateur!”

Storing your logo files

Be sure to get an Adobe Illustrator (.ai), eps or other vector file from your designer and save it to the cloud, a DVD or other long-term storage. You will need it often in the future. Unless you have Illustrator and Photoshop or other image editing software and knowledge, you should also request a jpg and/or png file in several different widths for various uses. We have used our ProSign logo at 300, 250, 200, 100 and 75 pixel widths. We have also used just the ProSign symbol at 166 pixels for our favicon and 200 for our avatar.

Using your small business logo

Once you have the required logo files in hand, you can choose a vendor to print business cards and a website professional to begin establishing your online presence. Get into the habit of exchanging business cards with every potential customer, vendor and small business owner you meet. While it might seem slow at first, you will reap the benefits of today’s hard work in the weeks, months and even years to come. Never underestimate the power of great branding. Contact us for a comprehensive review of your company’s marketing and sales activities, with recommendations for optimizing your return on investment.