4 Logo Design Tips for Small Businesses

Updated on April 25, 2018
JenniferWilber profile image

Jennifer Wilber works as an ESL instructor, substitute teacher, and freelance writer. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and English.

freeimages.com / Adam Ciesielski
freeimages.com / Adam Ciesielski

The Importance of Effective Logo Design

Your logo is often your customers’ first impression of your company’s brand. It is the defining feature of your visual branding and appears on everything from your company website to your physical storefront to product packaging. It is, for all intents and purposes, your company’s identity. An effective and memorable logo can make or break your potential customers opinion of your brand and company.

You would think that, as important as an effective logo is to a company’s image, every business owner would be sure to take the time and spend the money to create an effective logo. As important as a quality logo is to a brand’s image, you would be shocked by how many small business owners don’t put as much thought into the design of their logo as they should.

Unless your business deals in graphic design, you will want to leave the creation of your logo to a professional. Invest in hiring a professional graphic design firm or an experience freelance graphic designer to create your company’s logo. Avoid the temptation to simply create something yourself if you aren’t well versed in graphic design or to use a generic stock image as the basis for a homemade logo. There is no shortage of “bargain basement” freelancers offering their services on the web for almost nothing, but you should avoid “graphic designers” who claim they will make you a professional logo for only $5 (you get what you pay for). An effective logo takes professional skill to create.

To avoid sending the wrong first impression to potential customers, it is important to carefully consider the message your logo is sending when designing or commissioning a logo for your business.

Choose Your Font Wisely

If your logo includes text is important to incorporate a font into your logo that both compliments your brand and is easy to read. One of the most common design mistakes that small businesses make with their logos is choosing a highly stylized font that is difficult to read. If customers can’t read the text in your logo, it may be more difficult for them to remember your business’s name.

While some major corporations, such as Apple, have logos that don’t feature their company name, it is a good idea for new startups to include their company’s name in their logo. If you aren’t as universally recognized as Apple (yet!), you don’t want to risk having potential customers forget who you are. If your company becomes a household name, you can always redesign and simplify your branding later.

Ask Apollo virtual healthcare consultation service logo by Jayeshsan
Ask Apollo virtual healthcare consultation service logo by Jayeshsan | Source

Keep it Simple

Generally speaking, simple logos typically work best. You should avoid the temptation to overload your logo with too many complex elements. If your logo is too complex or too stylized, it might be difficult for customers to understand what your company does. A good logo for a small business is simple and clearly shows something about what the company does. For example, many photographers use logos containing a camera motif. Flower shops might include a subtle floral design in their logo. It is important for your logo to send a clear message.

Gray and white Apple logo. The design of the logo started in 1977 designed by Rob Janoff with the rainbow color theme used until 1999 when Apple stopped using the rainbow color theme and used a few different color themes for the same design. Apple
Gray and white Apple logo. The design of the logo started in 1977 designed by Rob Janoff with the rainbow color theme used until 1999 when Apple stopped using the rainbow color theme and used a few different color themes for the same design. Apple | Source

Choose the Right Color Scheme

It is important to use colors that project your brand’s personality. An arts and crafts based business might want to use brighter colors to send a message of creativity, whereas a law firm would probably want to stick to more subdued colors. Use a color scheme that says something about your industry or product. The color scheme you choose for your logo will inform the design choices you make for the rest of your visual branding, so choose your color scheme wisely.

When choosing your color scheme, remember that legibility is just as important as aesthetics in logo design. You probably wouldn’t want to use dark purple text against a black background since it would be difficult for customers to read. Keep in mind color combinations that would be difficult for colorblind customers to read as well, such as red and green. An effective logo can be read and interpreted easily by all potential customers.

Logo for the United States Olympic Committee
Logo for the United States Olympic Committee | Source

Avoid Giving the Wrong Impression

You also want to be careful that your design cannot be misinterpreted. Sometimes certain designs can be seen in a different way by different people. What you think looks like a perfectly innocent and professional image could be seen as something completely inappropriate by someone else Before going live with your new logo, ask for second opinions from as many people as you can to avoid ending up with an inappropriate logo like the ones in the video below.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Jennifer Wilber

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      • wheelinallover profile image

        Dennis Thorgesen 

        9 months ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

        Colors matter. So does black and white. If a logo doesn't work in black and white it won't work in color.

        Simpler is better. I as well have seen some logo's which shouldn't exist. Last week I had a client call wanting to show me his new logo. It wasn't a logo at all. What I told him is it was a marketing graphic. He did understand.

        In six years of online business not a single logo created could be misinterpreted. This is because everything we

        have done has to pass a group test.

        I think it is important to understand the logo represents the brand. There is a lot more to brand building than the logo.

      • JenniferWilber profile imageAUTHOR

        Jennifer Wilber 

        9 months ago from Cleveland, Ohio

        I’ve seen my share of bad logos while working for a printing company too. Sometimes I’d have to ask for a different version, or rework the logo myself (with approval from the client) if they didn’t have anything else. People get upset if their poor-quality logo doesn’t magically look good in print.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        9 months ago from Chicago Area

        K.I.S.S. principle is so important! Can't tell you how many intricate, and usually unprintable, logos I've seen over the years. Good logo design reminders!

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