I get asked this question a lot: “Does my business need a logo?” The answer is yes and no. Let me start by saying that a logo is not your brand. It’s a part of your brand, but its not the sum total of your brand. To learn more about what a brand is, you can read this post. To answer the question, “does your business require a logo?” The answer is “yes….but probably not the type you think you need.”
In the beginning of your business, a nice “on brand” wordmark or lettermark logo will more than suffice. It could actually be the right logo for your business even at year-ten. The cool thing? Wordmarks are the most common type of logo and one you could probably make yourself, at the beginning of your business when money is tight.
But even if you’ve been in business for 5 years or more, before you hire a graphic designer and spend a lot of money on having one designed for your business, you need to figure out a few things first or you could just be wasting your money.
What’s Your Brand?
Before you worry about creating or acquiring a logo for your business, you first need to develop the brand for your business. Your brand is how clients and potential clients perceive and relate to you. It’s what they think of when they think of you and your business. I’m purposefully lumping “you and your business” together because if you’re a solopreneur or a service-based business, YOU are your brand. So what do people think of when they of your brand?
You don’t have 100% control over this. However you can influence it by knowing how you’d like others to perceive and relate to you. Start by figuring out the message you want to convey to your ideal client.Do you know who your ideal client is? What’s your business’ mission? What services and products do you offer? What makes you better / different / unique to someone else offering the same or similar products and services? What is the personality of your business that you want to convey to others. How do you want others to FEEL about you?
After you answer these questions, translate that information into a visual brand and voice.
Your voice is how you “speak” (write) online, how you talk and speak in video as well as during calls or face-to-face meeting with clients. Do you want to be known as helpful? Kick-ass? Professional? Approachable? The tone of your blog posts, website content and marketing content as well as the way you talk to your clients “in person” should match that personality.
Your visual branding is a visual translation of your brand. It is the color scheme, fonts, style, design, image types and logo.
So yes, you need a logo. But your logo is only a part of your brand. You need to figure out your branding BEFORE you worry about a logo. Once you’ve figured out your brand and translated that brand into visual branding, you’re ready to purchase (or create) a logo for your business. However its important to understand there are five different types of logos. You need a logo…but which kind?
So You Need a Logo…But Which One?
Before reading any further, head on over to this article to understand what the five different types of logos are.
So what type of logo should you get for your business? I’ll answer by asking a few more questions that are very important.
What’s your budget, and how long have you been in business?
I don’t recommend spending a lot of money on a logo design if you’re just starting out and/or you don’t have a lot of money to spend. It goes without saying that I don’t believe you should buy a $5.00 logo from Fiverr or even a $50 or $99 logo from one of these cheap logo sites. Slapping a generic or crappy piece of clip art, together with your business’ name is not a logo!! Unless of course your business’ brand screams “I’m not willing to spend any money on my business!”
Also, if you’re a new business, the likelihood that your brand will change (perhaps significantly) over the next few months or years is very high. When it comes to your business’ branding, you don’t have to nail it down from the beginning. In fact very few of us do. You just have to start. And over time, your message will probably change. More than likely, the details of your ideal client with change and become more refined. Your brand voice and your personality will probably change, become more refined and become more closely aligned with your authentic identity and what/who you want to be known for.
So please don’t buy a crappy $5 logo or open Powerpoint and slap a little piece of clip art with your business’ name and consider that your logo. But also, don’t spend $1000+ on a logo or visual branding package until you’ve been in business for awhile and you understand your brand and have developed your branding.
So Here’s My Advice
(drumroll please) Start with a lettermark or wordmark for your business’ first logo. It needs to be professional looking and a visual representation of your business’ brand. You can design it yourself using Photoshop, PicMonkey or Canva. Take into consideration the fonts and colors you use so they reflect your business’ brand. If you don’t think this is enough, start looking around online and you’ll notice there are plenty of business’ that have lettermarks or wordmarks for logos. Take a look at mine!
If in the future, when you’ve got more money and are really clear on who and what your business stands for, you can hire a professional graphic designer to design an amazing logo for you. Until then, realize that this is one aspect of your business that you can stop stressing over.