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How to create a logo

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SmallBusiness.com How-tos are step-by-step instructions for specific small business tasks. They are created and edited by readers like you. You can help edit this How-to or you can create your own. Find more How-tos at the SmallBusiness.com How-to Hub.

No matter how small it looks, a logo can have a big impact on a burgeoning business. Because it's often the first thing customers see, it can leave them with a strong first impression about your business, build familiarity and trust, and help them distinguish you from your competitors. Below are three steps to creating the perfect logo that does just that.


It's easy to find fast, affordable logo creation services online, along with do-it-yourself software, for $200 or less. Unless you have a knack for design or a willingness to take risks, though, you might be better off hiring a branding consultant, an ad agency or a graphic artist. Ask to see a portfolio of work so you can not only look for striking logos but also for designs that look good on various items, from brochures and business cards to pens and magnets. Make sure the designer can explain the reasons behind his or her choices. Once you have settled on a designer, share as much information about your business as possible, such as your corporate color scheme, the inspiration behind your company and your vision for the future. Also, research your favorite brands for ideas about what you like.


Remember: less is more. You can't say everything on a small icon, but you can emphasize what makes you stand out from competitors. If your company name is memorable, use it; otherwise, identify the biggest value your business brings to customers and communicate that. Keep any tag lines short and sweet, using as few words as possible. Avoid images that are too complicated, flashy or trendy. Pick a design with clean lines and strong, bold colors that you can replicate on any medium, and that can stand alone in black and white. Through fonts and colors, designers can bring a certain attitude to your company name or highlight an important part of your logo. If you plan to reproduce your logo in more than one print medium, use no more than three standard pantone colors—anything more will cost you.


Share sketches or your new logo with family, friends and colleagues, and ask them to evaluate what they see. What does the logo say about the personality of your business? How does it separate your products or services from others like yours? Print the logo out on a piece of paper and hang it on a wall, then back up and squint. If it still looks pleasing to the eye, it's a winner and you can safely use it on everything from a letterhead to a T-shirt to reinforce your brand. After settling on a logo you love, copyright it. Your logo should last at least 10 years, but don't be afraid to revise it as your business grows and evolves. You don't have to start from scratch, but you can make slight changes over time to reflect who and what you have become as a company.

Logo Design Contests

Some businesses invite artists or customers to participate in a logo design compeition. You can announce your competition and invite anyone to submit their suggestion. There are even websites devoted to managing such competitions.


Wherever you use your logo—on your sign, letterhead, website, business cards, products, packaging or all of the above—it should capture the interest and imagination of your customers and tell them something significant about your business. Don't forget to trademark your logo.

See also