Branding · Starting Out

Creating A Logo

So, you are at a stage now when you want to create a logo and make your business stand out as a professional outfit but where do you start? I hope this blog will outline things to consider and give you a step by step approach of what to do next.

As the face of your business and usually the thing that creates that all important first impression, your logo can be a powerful asset to your business and as such, it is important to take some time before jumping in when creating it.

Where To Start
Ok there are lots of things to consider when picking a logo or better still, designing one. Even if you are using a designer, you should still have something in your mind and know what you should be looking for in order to give it the go ahead. You are probably wondering where to start with regards to colour or style. But as with all business tasks I am ever faced with, I ask myself this question..

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time…
(to be fair, this is ridiculous, because I am in fact vegetarian and wouldn’t dream of eating elephants but you get my drift.)

I think it is important to choose your brand colours and as I discussed in my blog about how to choose a name, the colour you identify with should represent your brand in more ways than one, including brand equity and positioning. Read ‘how to choose a name’ to get better insight with this. However, this is not all you should consider when choosing colour. I am a big fan of colour psychology as colours evoke feelings in all of us and, as we want our customers to ultimately identify with what our brand is trying to say, we should be careful of our chosen colours. For example, I am sure you agree that black and gold suggests luxury and class, while orange says value for money. You only have to look at Easy Jet and Aldi to prove this theory and Marks and Spencers branding on their luxury ranges. Interflora is another one that uses black and gold to denote a luxury brand, and I think we can agree, they have positioned themselves at the top of the floral tree.. (more puns I am sorry).

As well as the psychology of colours, you should also look at colours that are en trend at the moment. When i started the florist, black and green was a really trendy look and suggested luxury and high end believe it or not. Had I stuck with that colour scheme, by the end of my time at the shop, it would have looked outdated. Luckily I had evolved it to dark brown and green, making it more in keeping with the original brand while not losing identity.

To the left is an example of the emotions that colours can trigger. Hopefully this chart can help you identify which colours you would choose for your business.

Size Does Matter
The size of your logo and the detail in it does matter for lots of reasons. It needs to look good when it is blown up large or scaled down small, for a business card for example. If there is too much detail in it, you run the risk of losing the impact when it is small. It needs to be adaptable for all kinds of uses, from website use to printed stationery either large or small. It needs to be easy to recognise and not confusing.. after all the goal is recognition.

Once again, think about the style you want to portray for your business. If you are branding a business that has funny elements, like ‘The Sarky Cow’ for instance, a cartoon is a good idea. It should be lighthearted and not to serious. However, if you are branding a more corporate business or high end, sharp lines and definite shapes may be the way to go. (There are way more styles, but I just want to highlight that not all styles suits all brands.)

Visual balance needs to be taken into account when designing a logo too, both colour wise and graphically. I am not saying it needs to be symmetrical but the style should flow and take your eye naturally. What is known as a bullseye in the middle of a design, where you eye is drawn too is not great for any graphic. Likewise, an uneven balance of colour is not great either. A good rule of thumb is to take the rule of two thirds into account. I am not going to go into detail about this rule, there are plenty of good articles about this on the net. But as a rule, split the design in your mind into three and let elements either take a third or two thirds of the design.

It is good advice to use a font that is easy to read, this ties in with the suggestion of keeping things simple and not confusing with too much detail. Also, don’t use en trend fonts as you could very quicky find yourself looking out of date. A good rule of thumb is one or two fonts in your logo but never more than three.

KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid
So, if in doubt, keep things simple and follow these five rules.

*Simple *Scalable *Memorable *Versitile *Relevant

Do It Yourself? Yes or No?
Personally, for The Sarky Cow, I employed a logo designer and it only cost £40 at the time. It was worth every penny and Maria, the lady at Snails N Snips went through a few designs with me. Luckily, I had a an idea of what I wanted but she really did see my vision and although my design is quite simple, I honestly could not have executed it myself.

If you do want to have a go yourself though and don’t know tons about graphic design, like me, I would recommend using I intend to do some tutorials further down the line on this design software for dummies and non graphic designers (like me) but for now, go and play around with it. It is really simple to use and you can play with colours, shapes, images and all other kinds of elements.

So, now you have had a read, you need to put things into practice and to help you I have outlined some actionable steps below.

Action Step One
Create a board on pinterest and make it secret of course. Then go onto the web and literally look at lots of different business and pin their logos. This is not an invitation to copy at all, more to see the difference between them and see what rules have been applied with regards to colour and style like we have discussed. You should see a pattern forming of the type of logos you like, if you don’t just carry on until you do.

Action Step Two
Write down a big list of words that you associate with your brand. Then put them into pinterest and pin the images that you think represent the brand too. These could be products that you don’t sell, pictures or logos, or general colours. You should now have some kind of mood board building up. After you have built up quite a few images, save the ones you like the best and delete the ones you don’t. This should give you and your designer a really good idea of what elements of design you are most drawn too.

Action Step Three
Find a logo designer. I used a lady on Etsy because the images she shown in her shop were just the style I liked. Her shop was Snips and Snails but I believe she has changed it now to Snail Hub. I found her exceptional to work with and really friendly. Link is below. But I would recommend having a good look around Etsy, Google and Fiverr to find a designer you want to work with based on their own style, that will be obvious. You might be wondering why you have to do the leg work if you are going to work with a graphic designer. Well, quite frankly, you will be a much better result if you put the leg work in first and your designer will have something to work with. Once you start working with your designer, they should really take the lead but don’t be frightened to tell them what you like and what you don’t like… they are not mind readers, they will need your honest input if you want to get a great result.

If you do want to go it alone, get yourself to Canva, or Adobe if you are already great at design, although I suspect if you are reading this blog you are probably more like me and logo design is not one of your biggest attributes. It is actually harder than you first imagine. I will be doing future blogs on canva as a design platform so watch this space.

Anyway, time to sign off. I hope this article gave you a few things to think about when you are thinking about your logo.

And, if you wanna be a ‘grafter’, sign up to receive updates on my latest blogs about grafting your way to a successful online business.

Till then, thanks for reading.


Branding · Marketing · Starting Out

How To Choose A Name For Your Business

Brand Equity
When choosing a business or company name, you have to consider the overall branding you want to achieve and how you want your business to be perceived by customers. A brand is much more than a logo or a name. It is the whole ethos of a company and it exists in your customers’ mind or at least you should want it to. A brand tells a customer what they can expect from you, your products and services. In my case with The Sarky Cow, I wanted it to be perceived as a fun, playful and quirky business that also had a dedication to flawless customer service. These attibutes are what I considered my customers wanted from me, so I wanted it to be clear from the outset that this is what I would give them.

Brand Positioning
It is also important for you to consider where you place or position your brand within the market. The easiest example I can give for this is to think about the UK supermarkets (or if you are overseas, your big named supermarkets). Marks and Spencers and Waitrose and Sainsburys have positioned themselves to be high end, slightly more expensive but with great quality, where as Lidl and Aldi have positioned themselves to be inexpensive, basic foods, often non branded but ok quality. Both of these models are completely viable but once you have labelled yourself as a particular type, it is difficult to reposition. I mean, imagine if Lidl tried to be luxury or Marks and Spencers decided to go cheap, this would confuse us wouldn’t it? They are both going for different markets and are both definite in that positioning. You also then have Asda, Tesco and Morrisons. These have positioned themselves in the middle and want to be perceived as decent quality but affordable with mid line pricing. There are markets for all of these types of business and if you think about other sectors, you can clearly see where they have positioned themselves.. Would a BMW 1 series buyer suddenly switch to a Ford Fiesta? I very much doubt it but both have very successful business and have branded themselves to be exactly where they want to be.

Of course, both of these things are much more than a name, but while thinking of a name, it is important to consider these aspects. If you were to use the term ‘exquisitve or luxury’ in your name, but then positioned yourself to make them cheap and stack em high, it would not match. Anyway, just something to ponder.

Choosing A Name
So, while keeping in mind about brand equity and positioning, I have also made a list of things to consider while choosing a name.

  1. Make sure it represents your overall brand, products and target market. For example, The Sarky Cow, suggests that it is going to be fun. A friends business is named Pampered Pooch which I think is really obvious. She caters for dogs, not only any dog though a pampered dog. (She actually makes quality leads and collars mainly but they completely fit in with her brand).
  2. It should be easy to say, pronounce and spell. You want a customer to easily remember the name of your business and also be able to spell it when they are looking for you on the internet, cause they will be eventually I promise.
  3. It shouldn’t limit you. You may want to add other products, or even take some away in the long term. I made this mistake with my flower shop years ago and called it About Flowers (I actually did this because back then people used the yellow pages and not Google, so I was always on the first page), much easier to get the front of search back then. But it restricted me to flowers although I did expand my offerings, my name did not suggest it and if I had my time again, this is something I would consider.
  4. Check the domain name and trademark list for it. Just in case someone else is working on a business with the same name, doing the same thing. This is honestly more popular than you think and you don’t want to put all that effort in, for someone to come along and make you change it.
  5. Make it short. I know a longer sentence may explain what you do more, but is anyone going to remember it? Short and punchy is definitely the way forward in my opinion. Maybe even something that you can put some imagery with so that it is easy to recognise too. Logos are a whole different blog though that I will definitely do.
  6. If you are in the UK, it might be worth checking companies house to see if any limited companies have registered the name. This is different to trademarks and ultimately really doesn’t that much as if you do decide to eventually become LTD you can still trade under your name and call your company an alternative name. But, you might want to have something totally unique and this is another way of checking. Not all limited companies are trademarked. I know I wasn’t when I had the flower shop and I became limited.

Ways To Brainstorm
1. Write down words that describe your business, products or services. Is it hip, glam, funny, luxury, classy?
2. Look through the theasaurus to get alternative names for the initial ones until you have a full sheet of them.
3. Think about where you work from. Is it a workshop, a mill, a studio, cellar, basement, loft?
4. Think about who you work with or what you eventually want to? A crew, a pack, a tribe, a troop, a mob, a squad.

A couple of ideas from just thinking above, off the top of my head would be ‘The Hip Squad’, which could indicated you sell trendy stuff to trendy people. The chic loft would suggest you sell really classy and chic designs and your space is very much en trend giving it that extra air of sophistication (if this is the brand positioning you are going for).

There are many more ways to brainstorm a new name but this will definitely get you on the right track for sure. Another way is to talk to friends and family, the ones with imagination. I sat with my husband and daughter and words and phrases were literally getting thrown about everywhere until The Sarky Cow was mentioned and we knew that was literally the one.

I hope you find this helpful when choosing a name. If you would like to hear about when I publish my next blog please sign up to be a ‘Grafter’ and I will email you with the relevant link.

Until then keep on grafting…