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What makes a great company logo

Flickr user Bazstyle | Photography

(MoneyWatch) Salespeople should be proud of their company's logo. With more than 2 million businesses formed in the U.S. every year, your logo needs to help you stand out from the crowd.

There are five attributes that prospects use to evaluate vendors. Topping the list -- appealing tangibles. That includes anything physical that will affect a potential client's perception of you and your company. This is also where it pays to overspend. As the saying goes, you don't get a second chance to make a first impression.

Logos visually differentiate your business from others, identifying the product or service you provide. They also create a sweet spot, a point of familiarity between you and the marketplace. That said, logo go out of fashion and need to be updated periodically.

At the same time, logos should exude authenticity. Customers crave what's real and genuine. A logo that looks like clip art demeans your business. A good logo builds your brand. It's your promise to perform. And a promise is at the heart of good selling.

Know this: A logo is one of the most valuable assets of your business. The more it's used, the more equity it builds. And the more image and brand equity you have, the more valuable your business becomes. This is especially important if you are the owner and you plan to someday sell your company.

Here are seven logo design problems to avoid:

1. Avoid using too thin of a line weight. Thin lines can disappear or break up in some publications.

2. Keep your logo simple and meaningful. If it's too abstract, many people won't understand it.

3. Keep it balanced and in proportion. A poorly proportioned logo will seem amateurish.

4. Stay away from fad typefaces that will soon be old-fashioned.

5. Steer clear of the obvious in designing a logo, because it's probably overused. Resorting to visual clichés makes people think you're a cliché.

6. Just because a logo is attractive doesn't mean it's effective. If it doesn't convey information about your business, it's not serving its purpose.

What makes a good logo

An effective logo looks good whether it is large or small. It should have the same visual effect when printed on a business card or a billboard. A good logo does not rely on color to be effective.

Often you can use the logo in only one color, such as in faxing or in the newspaper. Keep this in mind when picking color and always have a black and white version of your logo as an option.

In addition, a good logo has a visual "hook" that is appealing to the eye. Its unique design suggests that your business is also unique. Ideally, a logo should avoid using screens or graduated ink.

An effective logo is simple rather than complex. Too many elements, or a logo that is too detailed or too complex reduces recognition and legibility, especially at smaller sizes. Express the idea about your company as simply, clearly, and directly as possible.

Regardless of what else you do in business, your logo is going to make a statement about your company. People do judge a book by its cover, a building by its facade, and a house by its curb appeal. Be careful to present yourself so that your prospects' first impressions correspond to what you want them to perceive. 

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