We’ve all been watching BBC’s The Apprentice, how many times are they going to go wrong with their branding and logo efforts. In real life we don’t always have the same resources available to us – whether that is time, money or expert support.
Creating a strong brand for your business is an opportunity to get creative and experiment with different ideas. Your logo not only needs to give a great first impression to attract potential customers but also separate you from your competitors and stand out in the market. As you may know, we were formerly recognised as City Business Library and in May 2021 changed to the Small Business Research + Enterprise Centre. To encompass our vision to help start-ups and small businesses across the UK, we changed our name, logo and brand – and we know it takes a lot of consideration when rebranding your business or even with artwork for a product.
Meet Raphael Design, a small business that we couldn’t have done it without, a well-established design agency that created our fabulous new brand. We asked Clare and Edward to share some of their expertise with us to help you understand what to expect on your branding journey.
Authors: Clare Lubrano and Edward Clay
Every business deserves a logo
Every business, big and small, deserves a great logo. Creating a logo for your business isn’t just a means to an end; it’s the start of a very exciting journey that will help add value to your business and enrich its core values.
There are many moving parts to starting a business but devoting the time and resource to establishing your brand when you commence your business venture will reap benefits going forward. Your brand is a visual representation of your company. It reflects the core values you want to convey to your target audience. It will be central to your marketing strategy, being used across all your marketing channels for many years to come.
Logo or brand – what is the difference?
You’ve probably heard the words logo and brand used in conjunction, and perhaps, even wondered what the difference is. A logo is an integral part of your brand, but not the only part! A logo sets the tone of your brand, from which all other aspects follow. Your brand will include:
- Your logo
- A colour palette that works in conjunction with your logo
- Specific font/typefaces
- The style of photographs to use
- How your website and other marketing material will look
The combination of these components in all marketing collateral is a clever and considerate way to help establish your brand.
Questions to be answered
Your logo needs to appeal to your potential client base so before the design process begins you need to consider the following:
- What is your company’s personality, aims and values?
- What is your business model?
- Where will the logo be used? e.g. website, signage, unforms, printed matter.
- Who is your target audience?
- What are the habits of your target audience and will these change over time?
There are many components to consider and doing this by yourself may not be the most effective way forward. It may be time to call for back up.
Getting the logo done
For those who have design skills and a clear vision of their logo, there are online design tools that can be accessed to create a logo. However, as most individuals do not possess this particular skill set, a good option is to invest in a professionally designed logo. It will be time and money well spent as it will reap rewards going forward.
One of the biggest benefits of having a professionally designed logo is that it enables you to appeal to your desired demographic through the clever use of colour, typography, shape and iconography. The combination of these factors can mean the difference between looking high-end and classy (Waitrose) or cheap and cheerful (B&M Bargains). You’ll also be able to professionally present your business image consistently and effectively across a broad range of media, meaning you’ll be recognisable and distinguishable from competitors.
How to select the right partner for you
Firstly, you’ll want to do your research and establish your budget. Choose a design agency that has experience, great reviews, a strong portfolio, and whom you share a rapport with (very important!) A higher price tag will generally equate to a full service (brand analysis, industry research, multiple concepts, in-depth presentations etc.), whereas lower price tag options may only provide one concept. Strike up a conversation and see what options they offer.
A logo’s journey
Every logo project needs to start with a strong brief. Even if you’ve already drafted yours, your designer will want to have an in-depth conversation with you to understand your company’s personality, aims and values. This can be an enriching experience for all parties, as some of the questions your designer asks will really help you focus on what your business is about and where you’d like it to go.
Having established a comprehensive brief with you, your designer will undertake their own industry research, and kick start the creative process. You’ll be presented with concepts (or concept, depending on your budget). You may even receive a fancy presentation pack with in-situ examples and rationales. From this point onwards, it’s really down to whether there’s a concept you’ve fallen in love with right away, or whether you want to make some amendments. Even the most experienced designers, armed with the most comprehensive briefs don’t get it 100% right first time every time, so if you’re not bowled over right away, a good designer will be able to use your feedback to refine and alter their concepts to fit the bill!
It’s all about the formats
Once the logo has been finalised your designer should supply you with a logo pack containing your primary logo in all the industry standard formats. These should include JPG, PNG, EPS, SVG and PDF at the very least. It is important that you receive your new logo in a full range of formats as you will need these to implement your marketing in the future. Be wary of packages that only include JPG or PNG as this will not get you very far. If you’ve opted for a higher price tag, you’ll likely receive different colour options, secondary logos and other brand assets too.
Do I need a brand manual?
A brand manual can be a very beneficial tool in making sure your logo and brand are handled and implemented correctly. It provides instructions on how to put your brand into action, including at the very minimum, logo rules, font usage, and colour swatches. These guidelines can be shared with anyone who produces marketing material for your company going forward as well as team members. Larger organisation may have a brand manual document of many pages, but a simple document of a few pages is usually sufficient for smaller businesses. The main objective is to share this information with your team and associates so you can all work together to achieve brand consistency.
Armed with your new logo you are now ready to embark on your branding adventure. You may opt to work with a design agency who can help you develop your brand through your website, social media profiles, business stationery, marketing materials, signage, and branded clothing. Or you may choose a more independent course.
Whatever your chosen path, remember that consistent use of your logo and brand will make your company look more professional. It is integral in forming relationships with your customers and prospects helping them to become familiar with your company. Good luck with your journey.
Raphael Design offers a wide range of services to help enhance brand identity such as design, websites and branding. Check out their website to learn more.
*We strive to do our best when supporting small business and their growth. Our business databases can give you information and data that can help you with advertising, market research, company information, and industry factsheets. If you ave already taken the plunge, we would love for you to join us at a seminar, our workshops cover digital marketing, business model canvas and planning, demystifying taxes and intellectual property to name a few. Visit our events page or website for more information.