Choosing, Designing, Specifying a Great Logo
for a Web Site and Business

A Logo is important for several reasons
A Logo is a Trademark
It dictates your website Colors and Style

NOTHING on your website is more important than your Logo. It is a CRUCIAL decision. It is a trademark. Get it RIGHT. Don't do it prematurely. There's much more to it than jumping into it by first going to a graphics artist and looking at pretty pictures. Your web designer MUST be involved and will make some suggestions. A specialist in Logo's is usually best.

TAGS-This page is about: Planning, Designing, Choosing, Specifying and Buying a Logo for your business and website based on refining your business positioning and marketing strategy.

Attractive websites, and the company itself depend on a really nice, unique and meaningful Logo. Much of your credibility is in your Logo, which reflects your image, style and Brand and Commitment. It becomes a Trademark. It is NOT just another icon or pair of letters.

The colors, style, shape, and the impressions it elicits will stay with your company for decades, and dictate much of the website's style and colors, as well as brochures, business cards, etc.. It must be readable and recognizable from a distance, as in the corner of a business card or sign and stationary.

You will need to listen to real Logo graphic artists, business experts and a professional web designer while refining your business positioning using some web tools to also study competitors. It is VERY hard to be unique. Some big companies have paid millions of dollars for s good logo (AT&T's "Death Star" back in the 1980's which took many months to come up with). Have you ever heard of a "Trademark search"? Doing this right is a bit like a tradename search and development.

To compete with real companies head-on, you have to hire real creative experienced art talent-expertise. Expect to pay $200 to $2000 and look at about 4 or 5 versions. You'll also need to ask regular people what they think before you commit to it. Rarely, your website designer may have time and be creative enough to come up with good ideas and create the logo for you.

A small company commits a few days to this, spread over about 3 weeks and looks at and tests (shows it around) several versions.

Your Logo must be made to demanding specifications of size, excellence, clarity, colors, "mechanical" specs of layers and work files and formats (ask your web designer) for web presentation. It must feature one or two large pictures or stylized letters or memorable character, like part of your Trademark. It can not look like an afterthought.

At the very least, if you can't decide on a great unique logo, to get going ... get the Colors right. Logo colors are crucial to the color scheme and style of the site. They MUST match. Only certain colors may be used with the colors you choose for the Logo. Also web colors are not the same colors used for printing, though similar. An expert graphics artist knows this, plans for it and provides the correct formats to the web designer who may have to adjust it slightly to make it look more like the Print format colors.

Don't get too unusual or exotic. That turns off some people, even unconsciously. We like chartrues personally, but we use blue mostly. If you have to use exotic, use it sparingly, for highlights. Notice what AT&T used-- blue and black. Paid millions of $$. Must be a reason.

A good Logo designer will want to know a lot about the company, products and positioning and prime audiences-targets. For example, is the company in an industry known for classical principles, architecture, homes, engineering, etc.? That might dictate classic style. Is it in fashion, style, cosmetics, jewelry, celebrities? That dictates an elegant, classic or eclectic,fancy-expensive, or possibly funky or hip hop scruffy look. Different industries also have typically distinctive styles, icons and even colors, such as wild colors and black for gaming or entertainment (not all).

These themes are reflected in the logo and its fonts and colors. Usually the Logo designer will also talk to the web designer for their ideas on the site style, as to modern, classic, eclectic, Web 2.0 look, the prime target audience-prospects, backgrounds, fonts and textures.

Fonts are to be selected carefully for distinctiveness, but balanced with the possibility of simulating the font with a stylized standard font, in rare instances. DON'T make the font unreadable. Everyone you ask should immediately recognize the letters used.

This is crucial to make sure it is simple, clear and mostly fits in a small rectangle slightly wider than high. Think of stationary. Test your sketches on both stationary and business cards. On those, in the corner or top, it still should be clear, identifiable and distinct from about 3 feet away. Consider AT&T's Death Star. You can see and recognize it even when small. A good way to design is START with a business card and make sure it fits while being visible-readable. It may have to be emblazoned across an area or centered, or partly screened to slight lighter so that letters show over it. But that is a last choice.


Marketing Strategy, industry and target audiences dictate style. First and foremost is always basics of Marketing Strategy: positioning, focus and differentiation--market segmentation. Go back over your research on competitors and keywords popularity to refine the niche and position you choose. This will tell you some about the "style". Are you appealing to young internet geekish web and app icon surfers? Or are you trying to impress about your engineering excellence or your hand-crafted products? Each has it's own style and impressions to make.

Strategy is complex but crucial. It boils down to the best match for your resources, features and strengths to the market gaps and underserved prospects, where competition is lowest. That means identifying key prospect segements and their buying type, such as impulsive, driven or analytical. The Logo must mean something or be interesting to all of them, or at least memorable and unique as possible.

Look at lots of examples, especially of large companies, before you start.

Before the artist gets started or before final graphic production drafts or proofs, start with several sketches. You might color them, just like in a 7th grade art class. This is not a bad time to imagine them on a website, where they would go on the page, what other pictures, headlines and fonts will be on the page, etc..

Does your logo really match your product and audience? What would your prime prospect like? Are you trying to convey a realistic image for a small company?

Examples and sketches guide the initial phase of informing the artist and graphics expert what you might want. If they strongly disagree, listen to them. Hear out experts and the web designer. The company marketing director makes the final decision in consultation with all participants including the web designer.

Ask people's opinions. Try out your sketches and preliminary designs on people. Do NOT rely on only one or two people's feedback. Ask strangers, not just experts. Strangers will tell you some things you never thought about. Laymen's impressions matter. Try to ask someone in the field or industry also. It's good if your log can somewhat remind prospects of some industry icons or something central to the business or industry.

At every stage and early, talk to your professional website designer, experienced in business websites. They will make suggestions and tell you what is needed. Talking to them keeps them in the loop of where the company image and positioning is going.

It is absolutely important to know the requirements of the work product and files and formats to ask for from the logo artists.

You should have already talked to the web designer early-on about business strategy and web strategy, your focus, differentiation and research you are doing on popular keywords and competition and underserved niches--- your targets. You should have shown them some nice websites you like and gotten feedback.

Ultimately incorporation of the logo and coherence of the website to a style and them depends on a creative web designer. This is to not have a me-too template site and logo that really is not distinctive. Involving the web designer can generate good ideas that the web designer can already start thinking about.

Trademark tricks
Since this logo becomes a trademark, it is wise to also study some trademark law and principles. Uniqueness is what matters in Trademarks, and that are associated with a product. People and place names don't work, unless long established, like Uncle Ben's Rice. Whimsical is the word most often used, and implying something without naming it. Cartoon-like characters or symbols often build a relationship to customers.

A real life example of an evolving trademark that started wrong was a Jalapeno Ketchup named Ben's. Of course he was notified by Uncle Ben's lawyer to cease and desist. Temporarily he changed it to Binz, which of course sounds chemical-like. However he had terrific help in choosing tradedress, colors and fonts, and with good advice began to develop cartoon characters emoting the ingredients, Tomatoes and Jalapeno's.

With much thought and a new trademark name, incorporating all these elements, the brand and trademarks combined to a very successful image instantly recognized by all who try it and love a really great product, SpiceItUp Jalapeno Ketchup. Try it, it's great. They are one of our customers. We helped fix the brand and choose the characters and tradedress.

"That's the way you do it" --- RIGHT.

Bottom Line: Do logo creation carefully by the book

Logo design is not done on a whim, in isolation from other aspects of the business. It is based on the business strategy refined for the web strategy, and based on specific customer segments. It reflects the industry and image you want ot convey for decades. It determines much about your website

Get professional help to do a logo. Keep the web developer involved and listen to their suggestions. Get several examples before deciding. Think about tradedress. Remember this is a Trademark. Let the marketing manager have the final say, but be sure they have all the reactions and a report as to why this logo is the best. Ask various people their opinion, and be sure it is visible and compact as possible. Remember, your website and company have to live with that style and colors for the next 30 years.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict Valid CSS!