In today's image-conscious world, branding has never been more important. If you are able to tap into the Zeitgeist, you will be well on your way to success.
Walk down any high street and take note of ten household brands. What style have they chosen for their logos? What image does the logo project? Your business may never need to appear on the high street, but imagine if your brand is eventually just as powerful and recognisable to the casual onlooker.
Creating a logo and a name for a business are closely connected and should really be decided upon at the same time. Remember, your business name and logo will become your brand.
One important tip: avoid at all costs a logo that looks in any way like male genitals - this is surprisingly easy to do by accident, and it won't win you many customers!
There's always a rush associated with launching a new business, often because there has already been a financial outlay and you need to get to market as soon as possible to recoup, or because you fear that someone else might be about to launch a similar business. Either way, you simply cannot rush the creation of your logo.
Do not be tempted to use one of the pre-designed (copyright-free) logos you can find in computer design software. Even if it is only supposed to be a temporary measure, people who see this logo may recognise it as not your own creation; even if they don't, they will probably think that it looks a little tacky.
Don't forget, the people you will be meeting during the creation of your business will be people or companies that you are hoping to have a long-term relationship with, such as your suppliers, customers, solicitors, accountants, investors and the bank. Of all the people that you will be dealing with, these should be the most important in terms of creating the right impression. Don't sell yourself short so early on. Pay the fee and have a designer create your logo; they may not be particularly cheap, but good designers are worth their weight in gold.
When considering a design or briefing a designer it is important not to insist on too many boundaries. Although you might have a very clear idea about how the brand should look and even the colours or fonts to be used, make it clear that you would like to see any other ideas the designer might have. The results will be strange, exciting, worrying and sometimes amusing, but what this exercise shows is how brands elicit powerful reactions in people. Use focus groups and informal market surveys to see how people feel about your logo.
Another consideration when designing your logo should be whether it is suitable for all media. Although you may not intend to launch a website for your business, you should still find out how your logo would look at the top of a webpage. Would the logo work on a TV screen or on an enormous advertising hoarding in a big city? If your staff are going to wear uniforms, or if you plan to issue company T-shirts, is the logo transferable onto clothing? Does the logo work for you when it is very large, or very small?
Ask your designer to work with a range of colours and also to create a version using only black and one other colour. Sometimes simple colours work best and if you use a whole rainbow of colours in your logo it will cost a lot more to reproduce. Full colour letterheads, business cards and adverts are considerably more expensive than two-colour versions. But don't lose sight of the main goal - you are creating a brand that you want to be stunning, instantly recognisable and with the potential to become synonymous with your business.