Brand or Burn? The Importance of Branding Your Small Business – Part I: Logo Design

The term ‘branding’ is synonymous with large corporations such as McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Microsoft etc. Consumers are increasingly purchasing goods and services based on a brand’s reputation more than the actual quality of stuff they receive.

Look at Apple for example; it releases ‘upgrades’ of its iPhone which are really nothing more than cosmetic unless you’re a complete tech nerd. Yet people willingly pay hundreds of pounds for an iPhone 6S even though it really isn’t any better than the iPhone 5 and its battery sucks. Oh wait! It comes in a new colour which makes all the difference.

In fact, branding is crucial in every aspect of business including the entertainment industry. When was the last time U2 released a good album? Exactly! Yet they are still seen as one of the biggest and best bands in the world. Likewise, Adam Sandler continues to get work despite appearing in god-awful movie after god-awful movie because he is a ‘big name’ in the industry.

Small businesses look at branding and perceive it to be for the big boys only. In reality, SMEs are in dire need of branding as it can serve as the lifeboat to keep their heads above water.

Why Do You Need a Company Logo?

  • Credibility: It makes you look like a ‘big’ company and not a dodgy business ran out of the back of a truck or your mom’s basement.

  • It Makes You Memorable: A logo is a fantastic way to not only identity your company, but also to make it synonymous with your industry. When you see a Coca-Cola logo, you immediately think of the sugar and caffeine laden soft drink. If you have no logo, customers will quickly forget you and think of a rival that has a logo next time they’re in need of what you offer.

  • New Customers: The modern consumer is exposed to at least 4,000 advertisements a day. A logo acts like your 24/7 salesperson and gives you a chance of being acknowledged in a busy marketplace.

  • An Explanation: If you run a business in a hard to explain niche, a well-designed logo can quickly explain what you do to customers.

5 Quick & Easy Logo Design Tips

  • 1 - Keep it Simple: You need a logo with a simple design as it’s more likely to remain in the consumer’s consciousness. Even corporate giants such as Apple have completely altered their logos over the years; changing them from complex designs with multiple moving parts to simpler designs.

  • 2 - Be Unique: If you have a generic logo you might as well be a piece of hay in a giant haystack. While large corporations have a long and successful trading history, your small business is likely to be relatively new and as such it doesn’t have much in the way of brand recognition. You can change all this with a uniquely designed logo that instantly connects with your target audience. Think outside the box and create something that makes sense but isn’t too obvious. For example, Mercedes didn’t use a car as its logo did it!

  • 3 – Convey Your Brand Message: Are you a serious, professional brand or would you rather be associated with fun and levity? You need to analyse the attributes of your brand and look deeper in order to find something that really hammers home your brand message. The Wikipedia logo is a fantastic example; the site is all about the continuous adding of knowledge in what is likely to be a never-ending quest. Its logo is a globe of puzzle pieces with symbols from different writing systems but there are a few pieces missing.

  • 4 – Colour Scheme: Simplicity should also extend to the colours you choose for your logo. You should stick to a maximum of 2-3 colours or else you risk assaulting the eyes of consumers. I’ll go through the Psychology of Colour in detail in a later post but for now, I’ll briefly state that colours impact the emotions and purchasing decisions of people. There are generic colour = emotion infographics out there but they spectacularly miss the point. To get the ideal colour combination, you need to determine your target audience and understand their relationship with different colours.
  • 5 – Flexibility: The best logos are timeless; by this I mean they won’t look horribly outdated in 5-10 years time. While you may change the logo slightly over time, it should always have the same core design. Adidas has made slight changes to its logo for example but it always keeps the famed three stripes in some form. Creating a visual style guide for your brand is a good idea as it ensures design continuity across the board.


Your small business must be represented by a logo if you wish it to be taken seriously. Humans are very visual creatures and we can instantly connect with a brand if it produces the right design and colour scheme in its logo. Simple designs are always the best and be sure to create a logo that stands the test of time or else you’ll have to go through the laborious process of coming up with a brand new one.

In the second part of this series, I will take a look at the Psychology of Colour and analyse how it impacts the purchasing behaviour of customers. Then I will show you how to incorporate it into your branding.

Wikipedia logo by Anomie via photopin (license)

Reverse Apple via photopin (license)