Consistency, simplicity key for company logos

(Run in the Business section of the News & Observer – “Ask the Experts” column on June 17, 2014)

A logo can convey the right message to customers and make them recognize a business in a flash – if it’s well designed.

Creating a logo that’s sharp and simple and using it consistently is the key, said Colleen Davis, owner of Davis Graphic Design in Raleigh.

Business owners just starting out need to have a solid business plan and identity to create an appropriate logo.

“In order to be able to brand yourself you’ve got to have a really good idea of who you are,” Davis said.

The next step is checking out what similar businesses are using.

“The last thing you want is your logo to look like your competitor,” Davis said. “You want to differentiate yourself.”

The biggest mistake she sees is images that are too busy. When a logo needs to be small, such as on a business card, detail will be lost. A logo’s design should be simple and clean. Consider the well-known logos for Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Target, she said.

Limit the design to two or three colors for aesthetics and for a business’ bottom line. The offset printing method, which produces crisper images than digital printing and is more cost-effective for high volume printing, will be significantly more expensive with each additional color.

Using design software – Adobe Illustrator being the best – rather than Word or Publisher is a must, Davis said. It can create a vector file, which can be scaled up indefinitely without pixellating. If text is included, it must be embedded within the image.

Also, a business has to make sure not to violate copyright laws if it has not created its own image. The purchase of a stock photo, for example, may not come with the right to reproduce it as a logo.

Font choice needs careful attention, too, Davis said. Make sure the style fits the image or tone the business is trying to project, be it serious and dependable or playful and fun.

“Color, font and image are all equally important,” she said. “You miss one, you’ve missed the whole thing.”

Lastly, a sharp logo needs to be used consistently every time you advertise or market the business, whether it is through print, web, social media, television or marketing materials.

By: Jamie Kennedy Jones

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