Branding is a hot topic of conversation these days, especially when it comes to small businesses. After all, for a fledgling company trying to find its wings, good branding can make or break its chances.
It’s true that branding, as a whole, is made up of every aspect of the company as it relates to the consumer. From product design to sales techniques to customer service and follow-up, branding incorporates a wide array of concerns.
But two of the most important to consider on the front end are these:
- The name of your business
- The logo design you choose
Since those two things can really make a difference to the impact of your brand as a whole, it’s vital to consider how they can be used to best effect for your small business.
With over thirty million small businesses present just on Facebook alone, it’s never been more important to take advantage of anything that can set you and your business apart from the rest.
Let’s take a look at why naming and logo design are so important, and how they can be used together.
Importance Of A Good Business Name
A good business name is a paramount issue for new business owners.
As a species, we may like to think that we don’t judge books by their covers. There’s even a frequently repeated phrase about it. But the truth is, we absolutely do.
When planning to go out for a nice dinner, it’s much more likely that we’ll choose “The Floating Lily” over “Guy’s Gustation Station And Chewables.”
If we need a lawyer, we’ll probably opt for “Merit, Honor, and Associates” over “Jailbirds R Us.”
Lets say we’re going to watch a Western, we’d probably choose one which featured an actor named John Wayne over a leading man named Marion Morrison — even though that was John Wayne’s real name.
The point here is that we absolutely do make snap judgements based on names. And when we’re talking about the viability and growth of a new business, those snap judgements can do a lot of damage — or a lot of good.
1. How To Choose A Business Name
Here are a few basic rules for choosing a good business name:
- Choose something unique. If there are soundalikes out there in the market, you run a risk of infringement. Or, at the very least, your customers might end up confused about which company they’re going to.
- Choose something memorable. Simply because you want your customers to remember your brand, not fade into obscurity.
- Know your audience. Certain names are likely to resonate more with some people than with others; choose a business name that will connect with your intended demographic.
- Be transparent. Don’t get too fancy or too obscure; there should be some link between your business name and your business itself, and your audience should be able to discern that link.
- Think long term. Remember that your business, ideally, will be around for a long time, and you’re going to need to promote it, talk about it, and use the name in every setting. If you’re considering a name based on a current pop culture reference or something along those lines, stop and think about whether that name will still have meaning and be relevant in a year or two or ten.
- Be you. It is your company, and consumers often respond better to the personalized touch in a small business.
Popular options for business names include choosing names based on location, speciality, or personal details, such as names of people or pets.
2. Importance Of An Effective Logo
So now that we’ve covered the importance of your business name, what about the visual aspect of your branding? Ie., the logo design.
If your brand as a whole is the cover to your “book,” by which others will frequently judge your business, the name of your business is the title, and that makes your logo the cover image.
Your logo is usually the first representation of your business that a potential customer will see, often noticing the logo even before seeing the actual name.
The logo will also likely be used more often and in more arenas than the actual full name of the company.
In terms of how important logos are, statistics show that it only takes ten seconds for a consumer to form a first impression of a logo.
Obviously, with that small of a window, it’s important to put time, effort, thought, and skill into creating a logo that effectively incorporates and encapsulates the essence of your company.
3. How To Choose An Effective Logo
Here are a few simple rules for choosing a logo:
- Choose something unique.
- Choose something memorable.
- Know your audience.
- Be transparent.
- Think long term.
- Be you.
If you’ve noticed that these basic rules are the same for both choosing a name and choosing a logo, then good for you! Yes, choices in these fundamental aspects of branding follow a lot of the same motivations and guidelines.
It’s actually helpful to consider them in the same light, as they should be working toward the same goal.
Ultimately, in fact, your logo should become synonymous with the company name. For instance, when a consumer sees the Gucci logo, they don’t say, “There’s a double G logo.” They say, “This is a Gucci product.”
This is so effective that often the actual name of the company doesn’t need to be included, even in advertising, marketing, or on store fronts.
That’s a good example of the logo working along with the name. Let’s talk about that in more detail.
4. Name And Logo — Working Together
Since both name and logo are so important to branding, it’s absolutely vital that they work well together.
Both of these important aspects carry their own innate tone and personality. So it’s wise to make sure that those personalities don’t clash.
You probably wouldn’t name your business “Stallone’s Garage” and use a logo featuring a cute teddy bear, for instance.
Always opt to strengthen the message of your business, rather than confuse it!
But just because your logo and name need to be able to work together, this doesn’t mean that they always have to be used together. It’s good to be adaptable.
Here are a few options to consider.
- Use the name as an extension of the logo. Always include the name along with every instance of the logo.
- Use an abbreviation of the name along with the logo.
- Use the name as part of the logo. Examples of this are wordmark and lettermark logos, which are discussed in the next section.
- Adapt the name/logo usage ratio to the circumstances. At times, it may be more appropriate to use both the logo and the name, whereas in other circumstances, simply the logo can be better used, due to a more casual feel or lack of space.
With the ground rules in place, let’s get into some of the specific details of designing your logo with business name.
5. Lettermark, Wordmark, And Combination Mark Logos
If you want your business name and the logo to really be synonymous, try a lettermark or wordmark design. Or, alternatively, choose a combination mark, using both the name and a graphic.
Note, however, that combination marks still are most useful and effective when either part of them still work well as standalone logos.
- A lettermark design uses the initial or initials of a company name as their logo. Examples include NASA and HBO.
- A wordmark design uses the name or part of the name of the company for their logo. Examples include Disney, Google, and Canon.
- A combination mark includes both part or all of the company name, as well as a graphic. Examples include Lacoste, Microsoft, and Doritos.
6. Font Choices
To really use the name of your business as part of your logo, the font that you choose has to meet certain criteria.
The font must be:
- It can be tempting to choose a fancy font with lots of attachments. But simple logos are often more effective, and a fancy font can detract from the memorability of the logo.
- The font should also not just be a run of the mill choice that could belong to any generic logo.
- Again, your logo is all about your brand, and your brand is all about who you are and what you do. Each aspect of your logo should reflect the personality of your brand.
- The font should be legible at every size that your logo may possibly be presented.
7. Color Choices
The psychology of color is a fascinating area to investigate, especially when it comes to marketing and branding considerations.
Statistics suggest that the colors you choose for your logo, the colors you include in your company style manual, can all have specific impacts on the viewer.
Knowing that colors tend to elicit a certain reaction — red is a motivating, dynamic color, for instance, that moves to action, while blue tends to be a soothing, trustworthy color — can inform your color choices and work along with your logo.
Colors can impact mood, behaviors, and feelings. Just as business name and logo design should work together, color can also either help or harm the overall message of a brand.
Color can also do a lot to help the longevity and growth of your business, as well. Some sources indicate that color can increase brand recognition by up to eighty percent.
8. Graphic Choice
For a combination mark or a straight icon-based logo, let’s talk about graphic choice.
Graphics are frequently used as a part of effective logos for a simple reason: they work. In fact, research shows that our brains process images far faster than they process words — up to 60,000 times faster, as a matter of fact!
Since there’s such a limited amount of time available to make a good first impression, it’s no wonder that so many logos use graphics instead of presenting wordy, typography-filled logos to the public.
If you’re having trouble putting your words and your graphics together, sites like logoyes.com and logoworks.com feature graphics and fonts to mix and match for your DIY logo.
Even though a graphic-focused logo may not directly incorporate the actual name of a business, it can still be clearly reflective of the business name.
- Your graphic logo can reflect the type of business. An example would be a mechanic who uses a car logo.
- The graphic could reflect the product or service offered. An example could be a cleaning service that incorporates a graphic of a broom and dustpan.
- The graphic choice could reflect another feature of the business. An example could be an Etsy site that sells handmade jewelry and which uses an icon of a hand for a logo.
- Your graphic logo can directly reflect the name of your business. An example could be a restaurant called Rose’s which uses a rose as its sole logo.
- The graphic choice could incorporate the name of the business into the graphic. An example could be a blogging website with a fountain pen for a logo which uses white space within the design to spell out the name of the site.
9. Business Name and Logo Design — Working Together To Grow Your Brand
As mentioned before, branding is incredibly important for small business owners, especially those who are just starting up.
How your business responds to customer service issues, what your business offers, and the skill and professionalism shown are all part of branding. But as far as leading the brand pack, the name and logo of your business are at the forefront.
It isn’t always easy to choose a name that fits well with your brand image and does justice for your company while still being unique and relatable. It will often take research, testing, and a lot of back and forth before you decide on your company name.
And the same process will probably be gone through before you land on a logo.
But by keeping the goals of your name and your logo in mind — and by keeping them synonymous — you’ll be able to choose a business name that works well with your logo design, giving your brand a flagship that helps it to successfully navigate the deep waters of small business growth.
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Angelo has been involved in the creative IT world for over 20 years. He built his first website back in 1998 using Dreamweaver, Flash and Photoshop. He expanded his knowledge and expertise by learning a wider range of programming skills, such as HTML/CSS, Flash ActionScript and XML.
Angelo completed formal training with the CIW (Certified Internet Webmasters) program in Sydney Australia, learning the core fundamentals of computer networking and how it relates to the infrastructure of the world wide web.
Apart from running Sunlight Media, Angelo enjoys writing informative content related to web & app development, digital marketing and other tech related topics.