Your logo is a fundamental part of your digital branding, and it may be the trickiest element to get right. Designing a good logo is hard enough to begin with, and it can quickly become apparent that even a good logo isn’t the right logo in every circumstance – a logo that’s effective for one small business may be completely wrong for another. How can you make sure that a logo specifically designed for your business will actually work for your specific business?

Be Unique

A good logo is always unique – no business wants to be confused for another, or face the difficult and often expensive consequences of a trademark violation. However, it’s unlikely that your small business can commission a logo that is completely unique – somewhere, another business may have a similar logo. Your trademark cannot be similar to another famous logo or trademark, but trademark law is more lenient if your logo is similar to a non-famous trademark in a completely different market or geographical region, so don’t waste time searching the Internet for similar logos from around the country or the world. What’s ultimately important is whether or not your logo will differentiate you from your competitors in your industry and market, and whether or not it will boost brand recognition and be memorable to potential customers who are exposed to your marketing.

Focus On Your Target Market

This sounds obvious at first, but any good logo should be designed with your target market in mind. However, when presented with an appealing, well-designed and memorable logo, many small business owners and managers may not stop to consider if the logo will also appeal to their target market. If you own or manage an ice cream shop, your logo needs to be bright, friendly and appealing. The perfect logo for an ice cream shop, no matter how well-crafted and unique, would likely be inappropriate for a law firm and vice versa. Like the other branding elements that we covered so far this month (typography and color), your logo must be appealing and memorable to customers and potential customers alike, not just you.

Should You Include Your Company’s Name?

Deciding whether or not to include your company’s name in your logo isn’t as simple as determining whether or not it fits in an aesthetically pleasing way. Will your logo be appearing directly on a physical product? Is the name of your company memorable and distinctive enough to take up valuable space? And will including your name allow your logo to properly scale to any size you need it to, or will it be illegible when reduced past a certain size? All of these factors should be considered before making the decision to include a company name in a logo.

Do Informal Testing

As a small business, you likely don’t have the resources to formally test the effectiveness of your logo with focus groups. However, you have partners, family and friends, all of whom can offer informal opinions on the effectiveness! Remember, your informal focus groups is likely not composed of your target audience, so your goal is to collect more generalized feedback. If you receive negative feedback from one or two individuals, don’t panic, but if there is a pattern to the feedback you may want to reassess your logo design.