You will start to create your company’s brand long before you create a website or any marketing materials. A business’s brand is the image it wants to project to those in and outside of the company. It is informed by the company’s mission, goals, philosophy, practices, products, and services. So before you begin branding, you need to determine what your company is, what your company will do, and the values the company will hold.
Once you’ve established your business plan, you have the basic information to start branding your company. Branding includes deciding on elements such as color, fonts, tone, and artwork to use. Probably one of the most important parts of branding is a company’s logo. It’s a key element in identifying in your customers being able to recognize your business in print and online.
Logos can be creative and contain “hidden” messages such as those for Amazon or Fed-Ex or they can be simple like the gold, arched “M” for McDonald’s.
- The direction of your logo design should be determined by the following factors:
- It needs to reflect your business. Admiring or taking inspiration from logos of other companies is fine. However, you cannot copy what another business has done (copyright and trademark issues could ensue if you do), and it’s likely what another company did won’t work for you. So design (colors, fonts, images) of your logo should accurately reflect your business and products or services, and send a clear message to your target audience.
- It needs to be adaptable. Your logo will appear in various places and needs to be legible and recognizable regardless of the size or medium. For example, logos are often used as a business’s profile picture on social media sites. So your logo needs to be recognizable at a small size and work in the platform’s profile image shape (many have switched from square profile images to circles). You can try a one-size-fits-all approach or create different versions to work in different situations.
- It needs to stand out. You want people to recognize your logo (and not confuse it with someone else’s). There are a lot of sites that will generate logos or provide starter templates. These services are often free, which is their biggest draw. However, these services provide generic-looking logos that won’t stand out and probably won’t accurately reflect your business. Plus, there’s a good chance that someone else will use the same service and pick the same logo you did.
With these points in mind, let’s take a look at the Raving Software logo.
REFLECT YOUR BUSINESS
To the left is what we would call our primary logo. It contains our company name, tag line, and an illustration. It’s fairly simple, pale yellow text on a black background, but there’s a lot going on.
Our company name is Raving Software. “Raving” refers to our goal of creating raving clients. This goal informs how we will interact with clients and how we will execute all projects. So while we will have set expectations for every project, we will strive to exceed those and deliver a product and experience a client will “rave” about.
The word “Software” and our tagline, “Your Trusted Online Partner,” convey what we do: We are a software company that includes website design and development as part of our software offerings.
The black and pale yellow are two of our main branding colors. We repeat them on our website and in many of our social media marketing efforts. They give us a clean and professional look, but will also stand out against the predominantly white backgrounds found in print and online.
With our font choices, we continue to convey a professional look but also bring in a bit of fun. The tagline and the word “Software” are displayed in Monthoers 2.0 Clean font. The font is fairly simple but still has its own personality (it conveys a serious tone) while “Raving” is a bit more fun and creative as it’s displayed in Sugar Candy font. We want to convey that we are a professional and reliable company and that we also creative, an important trait for web and software design. The star at the bottom helps to combine both our creative aspect and our “raving client” goal.
BE ABLE TO ADAPT YOUR LOGO TO WORK IN DIFFERENT SITUATIONS
As mentioned earlier, your logo should be adaptable. Raving Software has an assortment of logo sizes and variations to fit in different situations. This allows for both flexibility and control when using your logo across different mediums. For example, we have rectangular, square, and circular versions of logo, which allows us to use our logo in different kinds of print and digital marketing efforts. You’ll see that some contain the tagline and others don’t. This is dependent upon the situation the logo is used in. If the tagline won’t be legible, then we won’t include it. Your logo should be easy to read and not distract a customer or client.
This leads us to our final logo version, the circle with just the “R” and a star. We use this logo in several places, but they all have a common factor: the logo will be displayed at a small size, making the tagline and company name illegible. We kept the recognizable elements of our logo — colors, star icon, distinct letter “R” — and made them work on a smaller scale. You’ll see this logo used as our faviconand as our profile image on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. This gives us a consistent look across platforms and keeps recognizable when we appear in the different social media feeds.
HAVE A UNIQUE LOGO THAT STANDS OUT.
The idea of creating a unique logo can be daunting. It feels like it’s all been done and it’s inevitable that you’ll be influenced by other logos you’ve seen. This is all OK. The important part of your unique logo is that it’s not copied from another one and that it’s true to your business. You’ll go through a few revisions before you find the right logo. Raving Software had several revisions before we evolved to our current logo (and name).
Raving Software started our logo design process with templates downloaded from Adobe Creative Cloud Stock. Templates can be a great place to start, especially if graphic design isn’t your forte or you need to brainstorm ideas. They provide a great graphic to work with and you, usually, only have to change the text. However, templates may not be the best strategy to create your final logo.
The templates we worked with were eye-catching and fun, which are two great elements to have in a logo. Despite these traits, we ultimately decided to move away from templates. One reason we changed course was because the templates were not unique to our business. A Google image search reveals these images or similar ones have been used frequently in designs by other companies and individuals. In fact, one of our critiques was that the phoenix idea was commonly used logo for several businesses.
Our second reason for deciding to not use templates is that they did not fit with the message or brand we were trying to create. While the templates gave a fun and creative feel, they didn’t convey much about what the company did. What does a brain or a phoenix have to do with software and website design? Nothing that’s obvious or easily connected to our business.
Ultimately, we opted to create our own logo. While it’s a fairly simple logo and focuses on our name, we feel the colors and fonts used conveys a professional yet fun tone while being clear that we are a software company. Plus, it is flexible and be used in different mediums and at different sizes.
A note on branding: In addition to many logo revisions, you may revise your business’s name a few times, too. Raving Software’s parent company is Logiciel Technologies, LLC. Logiciel means software in French, and we thought that was a fun element to our company. However, we received critiques that are name was hard to remember and spell, and no one understood what logiciel was. We changed our strategy so that our name reflected our company culture and mission.
If you decide that a logo template will work for your business, be sure to carefully read the usage rights allowed by the original creator. Many free templates are only allowed for personal or noncommercial use, meaning you can’t make a profit off of them. While a logo may not make you money directly, it may fall under a legal gray area. If you are unsure of how and when you can use a template, contact the creator directly.
An alternative for a paid template service is Creative Commons Licensing (CC0) websites, such as Pexels and Pixaby. On these sites, photographers and graphic designers upload their work which can be downloaded and used in any capacity for free (though it suggested to leave the creator a donation if you use their work).
Your logo is an important part of your business’s branding and marketing efforts. Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you, is up to you. What you must have done before starting on a logo is a clear vision of your business, its goals, purpose, and products or services. Then, you can create a logo that will reflect your business.
Is there a design topic you want to know more about? Let us know in the comments or contact us through email.