Building Your Brand: 6 Steps to Creating Your On-Brand Logo

Building Your Brand: 6 Steps to Creating Your On-Brand Logo

Ray Kroc, the controversial "founder" of the McDonald's fast food empire, once admitted to TIME Magazine why he was dead-set on buying out the whole chain along with the naming rights:

"I needed the McDonald name and those golden arches. What are you going to do with a name like Kroc?"

The point is, Kroc recognized that a well-chosen business name, along with a well-designed logo, could exert a great deal of influence over consumers. As an entrepreneur, he not only acknowledged the importance of an "on-brand logo," but actually invested heavily in the development and consolidation of this key marketing element. Of course, the results of his approach speak for themselves.

While your company may not end up as the next multi-billion dollar fast food giant, it's still important for you to seriously consider what you want in a business name and logo. Let's talk about six steps you can take to create an on-brand logo that will really be a driver for your company's success in the present, and for years to come.

Step #1: Think Carefully About the Implications of Your Name

As you build your brand, the first key asset that you must reckon with is the name of your company. You want to choose a name that is memorable, reflects your brand's personality and voice, and caters to your target demographic.

Unfortunately, in their rush to choose a name for their new business idea, many novice entrepreneurs walk right into hidden snares that end up hurting their business rather than helping. Actually, even long-standing organizations have made missteps in this regard. For example, global cosmetics brand Clairol launched a curling iron called "Mist Stick" in Germany. Unfortunately, "mist" is a German slang word for manure. Oops!

What can you do to avoid a name with negative implications? Here are four factors to carefully consider:

  • Is this name hard to spell?

  • Will this name limit my business to a certain geographic area, or hinder future expansion in some way?

  • Is the name meaningful?

  • Is it catchy?

Most importantly, before you decide to go with a specific name please, please get some feedback on it (from either friends, family or experts). Apart from some bruised pride, you'll have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. After all, it's good to know early on if your proposed name "doesn't go!"

Step #2: Explore the Types of Name You Can Create

As you toss different names around, think about the type of name you want to be associated with your brand. For example, do you merely want a "functional" business name (e.g., Jim's Carpentry)? Do you want your business name to capture the imagination a bit, or have its own built-in symbology (think Google, Amazon, Nike, Apple, etc.)? Is there a way to briefly convey your unique selling proposition (USP) within the very name of your company? The choice is yours, but give careful thought to your long-term business objectives before settling on a particular name.

Step #3: Find the Right Website Domain

Now that you have the ideal name for your business in mind, it's time to consolidate that name by carving out your own website domain. Experts generally agree that new business owners should aim for a .com (or .com.au) domain instead of .net or .biz, since many consumers associate .com sites with established, reputable businesses.

Sites like GoDaddy.com and NetworkSolutions.com offer a way to check the availability of your desired domain name. What if your preferred domain name is taken? In many cases, you can use the "Whois" tool on these sites to identify the owner of the domain name and see if they are willing to sell it to you. Even though this may mean a small upfront cost, think of it as a long-term investment in your brand.

While you're at it, make sure that you set up the new name on your company's social media accounts, too (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and so forth).

Step #4: Choose On-Brand Colours for Your Logo

As you shift your attention from the name of your company to ideas for its logo, think about what colours you want in the design. Logo colours are much more than an incidental design element: they convey strong, subliminal messaging, and even have the power to conjure up emotions and feelings within your audience.

For example:

    • Red conveys excitement, boldness, love, passion, and energy.

    • Blue implies strength, security, trustworthiness, care, and serenity.

    • Black indicates authority, professionalism, seductiveness, and luxury.

    • Green invokes care, growth, nature, and organic values.

      Step #5: Develop the Personality Behind Your Brand Image

      You should give thought to the brand personality you want to present to your audience through your logo. This is where the shapes and contours of your logo's design come into play. For instance, solid, square elements convey stability and trustworthiness. Circles and curved shapes tend to be subconsciously viewed as feminine, while triangles are associated with masculinity. Horizontal lines often suggest strength and aggression, while vertical lines convey tranquillity.

      Step #6: Choose the Right Fonts for Your Logo

      Many graphic designers tend to throw in font type as an afterthought. However, font selection is one of the more important branding decisions you can make when starting a new business.

      Serif, Sans Serif & Cursive Fonts

      Each font type can leave a different impression on your audience. For instance, a cursive or script font often conveys elegance and a personal touch, while plain fonts imply workmanship and professionalism. Serif fonts (e.g., fonts that have small decorative strokes that adorn the big letter strokes) are often used by brands that seek to convey stability and professionalism, while sans serif fonts (fonts those serif flourishes) often invoke playfulness and fun.

      Many brands use a combination of fonts to balance out their logo's design — but usually no more than two or three in total. Other companies stick with one font for their logo, but use no more than two different font weights (light, medium, or bold) to determine the level of emphasis desired for each word or phrase.

      Choosing a name for your new business and designing a truly on-brand logo may seem like simple tasks. However, the truth is that they both require quite a lot of thought, and in some cases even a bit of technical expertise. If you need some assistance in building your brand, Marketing Your Brand can give you the help you need. That way you'll end up with a name and logo you can be proud of — ones that will contribute to the overall success of your company.


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