Save Your Sanity AND Get the Logo You Love (Yes, You Can!)

Maybe your logo started with a clever idea you once loved, but now seems … well … hokey. Or it was something that no one on your Logo Procurement Committee absolutely hated. Or (this is the most likely scenario) you were over-rushed, understaffed, underfunded and that piece of clip art worked just fine, but now you’re still using what was meant to be a placeholder.

Whatever the reason behind having a look that doesn’t fit your organization comfortably any more, you know when it’s time to update. Just sprouted a couple gray hairs thinking about embarking on the process? Deep breaths. You can get through an image rebranding without rehashing past mistakes or subjecting yourself to the pain of collaboration. Invest a little time up front to think clearly about what you need out of a logo and what it should do, and the rest will come. Trust me; we do this all the time.

Of course, deciding that you need a new look is easier than deciding what it should be. The key is to think critically and logically. When Talance takes on a new project, we pull out a set of trusty checklists and run through them with our clients until we have a good idea of likes, dislikes and needs. Only then do we start thinking about creating a new image.

If you’re thinking about having a new logo designed in the near future, start now with solid planning. Start with the items below (you can bookmark this article and use it as a checklist), and when you begin on the logo design process with a designer, you’ll be that much close to having something you love and that works for you.

Peg the decision-makers.

If possible, peg just one decision-maker. Nothing kills progress and creativity more efficiently than a committee. Pick the chief to sign off on ideas, or – if you must – co-chiefs. It helps if they’re buddy-buddy, though, and can work together well.

(Can’t get by without a committee? Try this strategy guide.)

Know your audience.

I know, we’re always harping on about audiences in this blog. But you can’t hope to reach the people you really need to reach if you don’t know who they are. The over-50 crowd doesn’t respond to the same images as the under-20 crowd does. Dig up some demographics.

Work on your elevator pitch.

Can’t describe what your organization does in the time it takes to ride from the lobby to the fifth floor? Get to honing. Your logo will be a graphic representation of your work and must be communicated quickly and efficiently. You must be able to describe what you do succinctly in words before that can be translated to art.

Know your goals.

Seeing a trend here? You have to know what you want before you ask for it, and this includes knowing why you want that new logo. Is it because you want to appeal to a different cross-section of people? Do you need something that works better in print? Do you want to represent yourself with a new tone? Note your goals, and then prioritize them.

Find inspiration.

Copying is a no-no with logo design (and any designer that doesn’t respect that should be avoided!), but inspiration is a different matter. Start noticing colors you like (or need), typefaces that speak to you, patterns that catch your eye. Keep a folder of examples or even carry around a digital camera to take snaps of winning ideas. It can help push your designer in the right direction.

You can start with 30 Typography Focused Logo Designs and 70 Latest and Creative Logo Designs for Design Inspiration if you need some inspiration sources.

Find anti-inspiration.

This is arguably the easiest part of any logo design project: noting what you hate. I’m not sure what this says about humanity, but talking about your hates comes remarkably fluidly. It’s helpful too, because if you say so early in the project, you’ll help your designer steer away from what you can’t abide.

First Impressions Matter Online

The first impression someone has of your website carries the most impact. As rich and useful as your website is beyond the homepage, this is still the most important page of all.

Don’t waste the opportunity to turn one-time visitors into loyal supporters. Take a minute to look at your homepage and make sure it supplies the following elements:

  1. An elevator pitch explaining what you do. Make sure this is SHORT – not a page-long mission statement.
  2. A way for people to get involved easily. You might include a link to your Facebook page, a sign-up form for your newsletter or a donate button.
  3. Attractive imagery. Avoid pictures of empty rooms and building fronts.

You can also look at the seven best ways to update your homepage. Make sure you’re not driving people away after you’ve worked so hard to bring them to your website.

[This article originally appeared in our 52 Web Marketing & Promotion Tips newsletter. Get a quick tip delivered to your inbox weekly. Sign up for 52 tips now.]

Reader Question: How do I turn my PowerPoint presentation into an online course?

[Have a question you’d like answered? Use the comments form at the bottom of this page to submit it. We’ll review your question before posting (don’t be shy about asking!) and get back to you with a response.]

PowerPoint presentations are in many ways excellent jumping-off points for an online course. Working with slides forces you to think in discreet thoughts, which is essential for online communication. Plus, if you’ve already got a PowerPoint, then you’ve probably already gone through the hard work of planning what you want to teach and how you’ll arrange your lessons.

The key issue to remember is that a PowerPoint presentation is not an online course. It’s just that: a presentation. That’s what webinars are for.  An online course addresses different goals and is administered differently; it’s not simply a way to deliver your presentation online. An online course is more akin to a classroom experience, except that it happens remotely.

If you’re looking to create a full online course, the best thing to do with your PowerPoint is to use it as a planning tool. Most e-learning programs begin with a storyboard (this site explains what they are and provides some helpful examples), which is an outline for your online course.

From there, you can start to flesh out your course into text (you’ll have to convert all the words you say during your slideshow presentation into written copy) and activities to deliver on your online platform.

If you want more advice on planning for an online course, check out this helpful article from The E-Learning Coach blog.