Is Your Logo Ready for the Modern Age?

[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap]f you’re managing a big box retailer, you already have a logo. Most likely, someone handles your branding for you and your involvement in that process is limited at best.

But most of you aren’t big box retailers; most of you are local tackle shops that are more focused on customer service than branding. After all, how a customer feels when they leave your store is more important than how the name of it looks on a newspaper ad. Really—you’re right about that. How a customer feels about your store has so much more to do with what your brand really is than the color of a t-shirt or how crisp the graphics are on a print ad. But for people who haven’t had the opportunity to leave your store with a smile on their face, the images associated with you matter a lot.

Images communicate what your store is all about before you ever say a word. Before even one line of that ad is read. A logo is often your first chance to make a good impression. Oddly enough, many small businesses owners get years into their enterprise before ever taking their logo seriously. As a result, many small business owners are missing out on their first chance to make a good impression on customers.

That’s why you need to really invest in a quality logo. But it’s not the only reason.

“Hold up,” you say. “I already have a logo. What’s wrong with it?”

Possibly nothing. Possibly everything. The difference depends on what you’re using it for. Riddle me this:

  • Are you using your logo on your website?
  • Are you using your logo on social media?
  • Are you using your logo for promotional products?

If your answer to either of those is “yes.” It’s time to make sure your logo can meet the demands of the modern age.

  • Is your logo crisp on your website? Does the resolution retain itself on high resolution displays like iPhones and iPads?
  • Is it easy to identify on social media? If not, you may need a social-specific logo or an icon.
  • Do you have a vector art version of your logo? This makes printing promotional items like mugs and t-shirts a breeze and reduces the opportunity for graphic designers to accidentally botch your brand.

If your current logo doesn’t meet those needs, you need to think about modifying it.

Listen, I’m not pointing fingers. Our FTR logos were all out-of-whack as recently as this January. But we took the simple test from above, failed it, and then modified our brand to work harder online.

Example:

ftrsocialicons

 

[dropcap size=small]C[/dropcap]heck out the sample from our Fishing Tackle Retailer Facebook page above. It’s just a cover photo and an icon, but it illustrates the point precisely.

The official FTR logo—the iconic serif font stretching horizontally across the cover of your magazine every month—was absolutely horrible on social media. Why? It was designed for a magazine, not a phone.

And that’s fine. We love our logo, but we also knew it was complete rubbish online. (Protip: anything you have to squint at to see on a phone is not worth using online.) So we created a new logo just for social media. We kept the iconic serif font in the F, and we added three horizontal dashes to represent the three words in our primary logo: Fishing. Tackle. Retailer. Hopefully, when you see a Facebook post or a tweet from FTR, you know who posted it before you’ve ever read a word.

That’s exactly how your store should be presented online. So how do you get there? The solution is all-in-one.

Vector art.

ftrlogodesignIn graphic design, vector simply means that an object or design is infinitely scalable. That means a designer can blow your logo up to 100 feet tall (or more) without a drop in resolution, or—if they so choose—they can shrink your logo to the size of a pinpoint. In reality, that just means it’s going to be easy to scale it for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or whatever. It also means that the artwork shouldn’t be grainy once it gets there.

Vector artwork can be created by any competent graphic designer using a variety of programs, but the most widely recognized format for vector artwork is the EPS file. Arm yourself with one of those, and your logo will be easy for artists to pull into whatever design program they need to use to get your project done. That means publishers can pull your logo into print ads without dropping resolution, web designers can snap it into Photoshop while retaining crisp lines, and screen printers can take your logo nearly straight to the press without having to alter the artwork.

Note: if a designer sends you vector artwork in a .AI or .PDF file, that will likely work too. Both are capable of carrying the same information as an EPS.

Vector art is the key to maintaining your brand in the digital world. Without it, you risk running into a perpetual cycle of art fees and under-the-table swear words as businesses and designers struggle to recreate the Microsoft Word document you sent them as “art.” And since logo design can be expensive, holding the keys to your own vector artwork is also the best way to protect your investment.

How do I get vector art?

The answer here varies. You could take a gamble and enlist some cheap graphic design work from a website like Fiverr, or you could be a responsible business owner and dig around for a local (reputable!) graphic design studio. The difference in your investment could be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, but as with many things in life you get what you pay for.

What should you be weary of? Don’t be weary, but be cognizant of these facts:

  • Branding firms will try to give you full marketing solution the encompasses a logo redesign with social media strategy and possibly a website redesign. This is sometimes necessary and usually expensive.
  • Graphic design studios like sign companies might knock out a few logo designs for you for a lower cost than a branding firm, but they probably won’t be able to guide you in the right direction if you need help with digital strategy. If you go this route, use a sign company that’s a respected member of your local chamber of commerce.
  • Some guy in a basement in Malaysia might give you a real bargain. Be careful here. This guy might be a true wizard or he might turn around and take your website down. Either way, it will probably only cost you a few dollars on the front end.

What else should be included?

A professionally designed logo should also include CMYK and RGB variants for print and digital use. Crucially, it should also include a color listing using Pantone’s color match system. Pantone colors are the industry standard for print usage. If you’re really lucky, a new logo will come with a brand guide; but this is advanced work and might require more input than just that of a design firm. A branding studio would provide something like this.

If you’re still on the fence about your current logo, contact us. We may be able to point you in the right direction. After all, the goal here is to help build every fishing tackle retailer into the best business you can be.