Your logo: think of it like a tattoo for your business

on April 7th, 2010

Whether you like tattoos or not, you probably know they are painful to get, disastrous to get wrong and rather difficult to remove. In other words, they’re there to stay – and you better like them even when you’re old and wrinkled.

And it’s easy to see (just google “tattoo disasters”) that loads of people can’t remember this simple truth. I’m sure these guys thought it was a good idea at the time.

tattoo disasters Your logo: think of it like a tattoo for your business

It’s the same with logos

When starting a business it’s easy to think “Well, I’ll just getting something done and I’ll see about it later”. And when later you realise you hate the interim logo you got yourself and set about getting a new one, it’s already very late.

You spent lots of money promoting that logo on adverts, business cards, letterheads, your website and so on. For better or worse, people have started recognising your logo and associating it with your service or product. Scrapping it all and starting afresh is a very costly exercise.

So here are my simple rules for getting a logo you will still like in 5, 10 or 20 years:

How to choose a logo (or a tattoo)

  • Choose a design that means something. A design with a story (and a strategy). Not just a pretty picture.
  • Make sure it looks good anywhere you’d put it: on paper, on a website – on your skin if you really feel like taking the title of this article very literally.* There isn’t much point in a logo that would look great on a website, and rubbish on paper.
  • Choose something that doesn’t rely on fads and bells and whistles for effect: when gradients or 3D will be out of fashion will your logo look great or ridiculous? Most of the world’s greatest logos are simple – versatile, as in can be used in various colour combinations, gradients, etc, but in essence they are simple. Apple is a great example of this.
  • Pick a logo that makes you feel proud. Makes you feel like bringing it home to meet your mother or taking it along as your date to that high-school reunion you’ve been dreading.
  • Choose a design that is ‘you’.

*As a side note there have been cases of designers who tattooed their logos on their skin, and got an awesome tattoo out of it.

raja Your logo: think of it like a tattoo for your business

How to choose a logo designer

This one is a bit tougher. There are lots of really good designers out there (I am not even going to discuss design contests and other similar forms of let’s-pay-next-to-nothing-for-a-meaningless-picture; it’s been discussed to death, and for some very articulate arguments you can read the No!Spec website). Pricing varies wildly from one designer or design agency to the next. So how do you go about picking the right one?

First of all, browse lots of designs to figure out what style of logo is close to what you want. A good starting point is Ember or Brandstack.

brandstack Your logo: think of it like a tattoo for your business

Then browse lots of portfolios until you find some designers whose work appeal to you. Of course, any designer worth his salt will be able to adjust their style to suit your requirements; however, it does tend to be easier if their style is already close to what you like.

Go for quality and experience. As I said before: your logo will be there to stay. If there is one piece of business expenditure you should not be cheap about, this is the one. Choose quality over cheapness.

What to expect from your logo designer

  1. Expect them to be knowledgeable about design, printing, and not least business. You need someone you can trust and rely on to help you start your brand journey.
  2. Expect to have to fill in a logo questionnaire and/or attend a logo briefing meeting. A designer needs to really understand what your business is about, what its values and value proposition are – this will tell them what needs to be expressed visually by your logo.
  3. Expect a collaboration process that will include several initial concepts and approaches then will be progressively fine-tuned to achieve the ideal outcome. Revisions, revisions, revisions.
  4. Expect (and this is really nothing more than a hygiene factor, something that should be understood) honesty and trustworthiness.
  5. And finally, expect your designer to be excited about your brand. Nothing of any value came out of lack of interest.

So here it is, my little parallel between logo design and tattoos. Best of luck with yours (logo, tattoo or both).

5 Responses to “Your logo: think of it like a tattoo for your business”

  1. Harry says:

    Hey Raja, I really liked your design man… Each logo is unique and awesome…

  2. Raja Sandhu says:

    “Your logo: think of it like a tattoo for your business”

    That is a great analogy and interesting perspective . It should hold true in some cases of designing a brand identity. ‘Pretty’ only goes so far…but brains, that’s where it’s at :D

    • limeshot says:

      Well Raja, you know how it goes: pretty does make one a fool for a couple of years, until it wears off. And then you’re stuck with it :)))

  3. cyrus says:

    nice logo post.