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5 signs your logo is hurting your business

Bridget Aymar
Bridget Aymar on September 15, 2017 - 8:00 am in Logo Design

Woman with heads on head as if havign a headache

A logo is the visual representation of your business. It should provide a snapshot of your mission and values, and capture the attention of your customers. But for many small businesses, their logo makes the wrong impression.

“Your logo represents who you are: It’s your face,” says Anne Gelbman, founder of Cuisine Culture and Conversations. When she first launched her travel agency, she hired a designer who delivered disappointing work that reflected poorly on her brand. She recently partnered with the designers at Deluxe to refresh her business logo, and received a design that her clients love. “I’ve learned designs that appeal to me, might not be appealing to my clients,” she says.

Ask yourself these questions to determine whether your logo is harming your business’s reputation.

1. Does it translate to black and white?

Logos that contain multiple colors or rich details like illustrations, mascots and drop shadows look fantastic on your computer screen or when printed in full color. But do those details get lost in black and white?

To test your logo, print it in full color, and make a black and white photocopy. Does it look blurry and distorted? Are the words legible? If so, the design will also look sloppy on invoices, on social media or small screens like smartphones and tablets, or on other printed media where the size is reduced. These logos are also challenging to embroider, which hinders your ability to create branded apparel or uniforms in the future.

2. Does it contain clip art?

When small business owners lack the time and expertise to craft a custom logo, grabbing free clip art seems like a solid solution. However, because this method is popular, small businesses within the same industry often gravitate toward the same designs. In the future, it’s likely a similar business will use the same clip art in their logo, and you’ll have no legal recourse to stop them.

Your logo is the identity of your company distilled into an elegant mark that tells a story in one glance. A clip art image will neither differentiate you from competitors nor will it be memorable for your customers.

3. Do the colors fit your brand?

Color is one of the most important elements of your logo. Different colors have unspoken meanings, and tend to convey different traits. For example, yellow says warm, happy and relaxed, while red shouts passion, energy and excitement. Ask yourself what you hope customers will feel about your brand, and determine whether the colors in your logo inspire those emotions.

4. Are there too many words?

Your slogan, location or founding year may be important to your business, but they don’t belong in your logo. Too much text interferes with the visual impression your logo should make.

5. Did you forget to develop a style guide?

A brand style guide is a document that describes how your logo and brand should be used across different types of media, from newspapers and billboards to website banner ads and social media. As your business grows and you promote it more heavily, the style guide ensures your logo looks great no matter where it appears. It includes guidelines on color, size, taglines, legal uses and more.

Does your logo need a refresh or redesign? Deluxe will connect you with a design expert to develop a logo and style guide with impact.

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