I see a lot of logos and brand personalities in my job.  Heading up the partner management team, I not only get to work with the brands of major corporations, but also get to see them apply those brands to new products and create new logos for them.  These companies have spent a lot of time and resources perfecting their logo, which are seen internationally and represent the core of their brand.

But what are small businesses to do about a logo?  You obviously care about how your company is viewed and remembered by customers.  So do you hire an expensive brand agency to craft your all-supreme logo?  Throw something together in Paint just so you have one?  Not quite.  Here are a few guidelines to go by.

Get a professional.  In general, yes you should absolutely get a professional person or service, but there are many inexpensive options out there.  You can also use some free do-it-yourself tools to try a look out.  Here are a few:

1)       Logogarden.com – Free to try.  $79 to purchase your art.  $199 for professionally made art.  Here’s my do-it-yourself logo (created in 15 seconds).





2)      Logomaker.com – Free logo samples.  $49 for hi-res images.  Here’s my sample:




3)      Logopony.com – Do it yourself logo design is free.  Here’s my sample:





Incorporate YOU.  You may not be a graphic designer, but you know what you like and don’t like.  You’ll be looking at this graphic quite a bit, so make sure it’s something that fits with YOU, whether that be the professional bold hues with class fonts, or bright vibrant colors with energetic fonts.

Get inspired.  Here are five favorite corporate logos to look for inspiration.  One common theme with all of them?  Simplicity.  Your logo doesn’t need to be a complex work of art, just something that makes a statement about your company and provides a visual queue.

1)      FedEx – What could be more iconic than classic purple and orange (kidding)?  Seriously, the hidden “arrow” between the E and the X is sharp and gets the point across that FedEx moves you forward.

2)      Coca-Cola – I’ve been to roughly a dozen countries and while the language, culture, and taste preference may vary, the red and white Coca-Cola classic logo remains the same.

3)      American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover – Regardless of the cards you may carry in your wallet, the ubiquitous logos for the four major credit card brands are recognizable, global, and let you know that you’re more than welcome to spend some money!

4)      Apple – One of the world’s most recognizable brands, the clean white “edible apple” logo has actually only been around for fourteen years.  I bet most of you can remember the previous rainbow logo that Apple used during from the mid 70’s until the late 90’s but do you remember the first logo used only for one year in 1976?

5)      Google – Even though the “Google doodle” changes daily, who can forget the first time they saw those six multi-colored letters that have made such an impact on all of our lives?

What are some of your favorites?