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creating a brand for your business is easy when you're a logo design connoisseurYou need a logo design, and you need it now. You’ll either:

  • Work with a graphic designer to create it
  • Use one of the online logo design companies
  • Design it yourself

How will you know if the designs you consider are great, or if they just stink? What makes a logo successful anyway?

Here are five tips to help you discern whether you’re looking at a timeless work of art that will represent your business well for many years, or a weak excuse for a brand. Use them to help you pick the best image from the group you’re presented with or the designs you come up with yourself.

Does It Work in Black and White?

If you photocopy your logo, how does it look? What if it was embroidered, or screen printed in one color? Great logos hold up under the worst conditions. They have memorable forms that are sturdy enough to look good even when the reproduction process isn’t the best.

Does It Work Small?

Designers have an inside joke that clients always want you to “make their logo bigger,” but we often have to fit artwork into very tiny spaces. If that happens to your logo, how does it hold up? It should still be recognizable even when reduced.

Is It Beautifully Simple?

Use no more than two colors in your logo, and stick to simple forms with no graphic “trickery,” like gradients or drop shadows. Shapes and forms should be clear and easily understood at a glance.

You should require that your artwork be supplied in a vector file format, too. These files have extensions like .eps or .ai, and can be created in programs like Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw and Inkscape. Vector files are important because they can be enlarged as much as needed without losing resolution. Vector artwork is handy when you’re ready to do a billboard or other large marketing piece.

Is It Timeless?

You should plan to live with your logo for a long time if you want to get the most out of your investment.

I tell clients that around the time they become sick to death of looking at their artwork and are ready to change it is exactly when the general public is just starting to register their logo and remember it. When the urge to change your logo overtakes you, the best tactic is to hold tight and not change your artwork, but rather build on the recognition you create over time. An exception might be a logo that doesn’t represent what your company offers, or one that depicts outdated technology (like a five lb. “brick-style” cell phone).

Pick logo art that’s timeless rather than trendy, and you’ll be able to live with it and get the most of it over time.

Is It Original?

Your logo should make your company name memorable in the minds of the customers you’d like to attract. If your design is… (I’m trying to be diplomatic here…) “inspired” by another company’s logo, your efforts will be in vain. Take the time to create an image that’s uniquely yours, so that when people see it they know exactly what company it’s associated with.

This is why logos are also referred to as “corporate identities.” Make sure your identity is unique and memorable.

Logo Connoisseur In A Nutshell

Here’s a one-sentence summary to becoming a logo connoisseur: look for a timeless, original image that’s simple, and can be reduced to black and white and used very small.

If you can accomplish all of that, you’ll end up with a logo that’s practical, usable and durable.

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