When you start up a business what are your priorities?
Premises. Staff. Stock. Suppliers.
Where does you business identity come in this ever expanding list? For many start ups, in my experience, pretty far down the list would be the honest answer.
The catalyst usually comes when there is a need for business cards, stationery, advertisement or signage. “ Can you send us your logo?” is a phrase that sets you panicking. “I haven’t got one” you reply sheepishly only to be assured that it isn’t a problem and that free design is all part of the cost.
Now at this stage you may well breathe a sigh of relief, but this may not be the answer you were looking for.
Should your precious business identity be a freebie? As my mother always says “if it sounds too good to be true then it usually is”. Designing a logo and corporate identity should take some time. Time to explore a number of ideas. Time to give you a wide choice and the chance to look at alternatives. The amount of time that cannot be given as a freebie.
You may get lucky and get something you love that will see your business through its future growth, create standout in your market and be flexible enough to work across all different media. If not, then the true cost of this rush decision will soon mount up.
The problem with logos and branding is that it becomes entwined very quickly throughout your business, your business cards, stationery, invoices, signage, van livery, uniforms, literature, website; the list and the cost of changing it just gets bigger and bigger. So getting it right from day one (or at least something you are happy with and reflects your business in the short to medium term) is extremely important and deserves time and investment.
But it is not just about possible future inconvenience. A good logo and branding will enhance your business, just as a bad one may damage it.
But what do I mean by good design?
I believe that good design is all about design that says something or serves a purpose. So, for a start up business, it is all about being clear about what business you aspire to be and making sure your logo and branding communicates this. If you are working with a professional graphic designer they will be able to take this information about your business, the sector you work in, who your customers are and where you want your business to be and translate that into good design.
Try not to be prescriptive “I want a pyramid with a rainbow”, but don’t be afraid to take along relevant reference material so you can start a discussion. It will help your designer to get a feel for the style or logos you like and any colour preferences, but do keep an open mind.