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USA Today August 22, 2005
Logos can have big impact without costing a fortune
Here's a quiz. Name the companies associated with the following:
a big red bull's-eye?
You know those are the logos of McDonald's, Nike and Target because a strong logo is a powerful way to help customers remember a company.
I'm a big believer in logos, even for small businesses. A graphic image not only gives you a more polished appearance, it actually helps customers recall your company's name. When they see a graphic representation your logo as well as hear or see a verbal representation your name they use more parts of their brain to process information. By combining words and images, you make a greater impact.
Until recently, it was expensive for a small business to get a unique, well-designed logo. When I started in business, I couldn't afford a professional logo, so I created one myself. It was better than nothing barely. Later, I hired a graphic designer. I got a fantastic logo and a huge bill.
Today, there are some very affordable alternatives for entrepreneurs to get a logo for their companies.
First, you can choose a pre-designed logo from an online provider such as InstaLogo (www.instalogo.com). For as little as $99, select a logo from their pre-designed selection, listed by industry. You can put that logo on business cards, brochures, etc. However, you have a limited selection of logos, and the logo is not unique to your company.
For just a little more money, a new Internet-based company, Logoworks (www.logoworks.com), based in Lindon, Utah, offers a way for small companies to get a professionally designed custom logo for as little as $299.
Logoworks has designed an intelligent process you might want to use even if you hire your own graphic designer:
Develop a creative brief: You submit an online description of your company, what you want your logo to convey, what you like about other logos, etc. Logoworks sends that out to its stable of experienced graphic designers.
Get options: You're electronically sent a number of initial draft logos from different designers. The number depends on the level of service you purchase.
Get feedback: You can share these options with others (partners, employees, investors) to get their input.
Refine: Once you choose an initial design, you are allowed a number of times to refine the logo to suit your needs. For instance, if you liked the general look of a logo but prefer that one element be bigger, or a different color or with another typeface, the Logoworks' designer makes those changes.
Receive electronic files: You're sent your logo in a number of different electronic formats and resolutions to use for various needs, such as online or print.
To see how this process worked, I arranged for Logoworks to develop a new logo for a nonprofit organization Start Up (www.startupepa.org) in East Palo Alto, Calif. Start Up is devoted to helping lower-income entrepreneurs launch and grow businesses.
"Overall I found it a very easy process, and I'm thrilled with the final product," said Kimberly Carlton, executive director of Start Up. "In our outreach to the community whether potential customers or supporters the logo is one of the first things they see. It's a symbol of what we stand for."
"I really like our new logo because I think the colors and design clearly convey multiculturalism which is part of what we do," Carlton continued. "The new logo makes it clear that we are in the business of helping people prosper." (To see Start Up's new logo, go to my Web site, www.PlanningShop.com.)
Was it hard to work with a designer only on the Internet, never meeting face-to-face? "It's a little bit challenging trying to describe only in words, without the benefit of being able to point to things, what we liked and what we wanted to see changed," said Carlton. "But I found the Logoworks designers seemed to 'get it' anyway. ... I was impressed both with the speed of their response ... and the quality and variety of the ideas they presented."
Rhonda Abrams is author of The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies and president of The Planning Shop, publishers of books and other tools for business plans. Register for Rhonda's free business planning newsletter at www.PlanningShop.com. For an index of her columns, click here. Copyright Rhonda Abrams 2005.
See a related Logoworks article at www.startupjournal.com
See a related Logoworks article at www.statesman.com