Packaging your business

Once you've selected a name - packaging your business: how to harness image as a marketing tool

Packaging your business - how to harness image as a marketing tool

" ...Once you've selected a name, the next and very crucial consideration is how you will present it to the world -- your logo. A logo is the graphic representation of your company's or product's identity and is typically composed of three elements: an icon, logotype and color palette.

The icon is a symbol; for example, McDonald's arches or the moon and stars of Proctor and Gamble. It is very often accompanied by the company or product name in a signature typeface, also known as the logotype. In other instances, the logotype alone serves as the firm's identity; professional service providers such as physicians and attorneys often use only a logotype. Further enforcing the brand recognition are the signature colors. Colors are usually chosen because of their emotional impact and/or relevance to the specific commodity being offered.

Your logo, like Lana Turner's blond hair and sweaters, is the visual dressing that determines to a certain extent how the public relates to your brand. It speaks volumes about who you are and what you stand for, and -- say experts -- is directly related to your company's bottom line. With so much at stake, the design of your firm's visual identity is best entrusted to experienced, respected professionals.

"Successful companies understand the value of an effective image," observes Michael Osborne (president of Michael Osborne Design in San Francisco.) "They have a fundamental appreciation that their identity is one of their most strategic marketing tools. You get what you pay for. The design of your logo is not the place to skimp."

Creating Your Logo

In working with the designer who is to develop your logo, research is again an important starting point. Begin by noting and collecting samples of identities you like and don't like. Articulate your vision and share this vision with your designer.

"You can't rely on your designer to know everything," Osborne says. "You have to do your homework. Decide what the company or product will stand for and let your designer know. Also tell your designer how you plan to use the logo. Will it appear on uniforms and trucks? Is most of your advertising done in the Yellow Pages? If so, the logo must be flexible enough to be effective in both large and small spaces. Get your objectives and strategy clear up front. If you aren't sure about logo applications, ask your designer for help."

Adds San Francisco packaging designer Rita Damore, "Find a designer with whom you can communicate, someone who understands and really listens to you. Then open your mind to many possibilities and let your designer do what you hired him or her to do. . ."