It’s powerful, often without saying a word. It can be memorable, leaving a lasting impression on the subconscious mind. Or it can be as fleeting as a cloudburst on a smoldering summer day. The point is, having a well-designed logo is among the best marketing investments you can make in your business.

Because developing your logo is the first step. It’s a foundation upon which all other things are built. No press releases can be written, websites designed or marketing materials printed without the company logo in the forefront. And for good reason.

Effective marketing is all about branding. Why else would Buzzfeed quizzes that challenge readers to identify a brand of soda with only a piece of the logo or identify which French fries came from which fast food establishments be as well received?

What’s in a logo, you might ask? Well, in an application of some very famous words from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” everything. A rose by any other name would indeed smell as sweet, but would that still be the case if it looked like a daisy?

Some marketing professionals would argue a memorable logo is worth its weight in gold. So what are the golden rules of logo design? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Remember the KISS method

The phrase was made famous for being embraced by the United States Navy in 1960, but the acronym for “keep it simple, stupid,” gracefully lives on in effective logo design. At least that is the advice straight from legendary graphic designer Milton Glaser, who is best known for creating the “I Love New York” logo and credits his success to a respect for moments when less really is more.

Make it stand out

The worst thing you can do is the obvious. Applying a certain level of intrigue will garner the right kind of attention. Consider the logo for Starbucks, which begs the question: who on Earth is that green and white siren anyway. For Starbucks, she is everything.

A blog written by a senior writer for Starbucks describes her as both a storyteller and a muse. She is a promise who means something different to everyone. And with an idea as simple as that, a legend was born. And not in any way by making certain the logo contained something as obvious as a coffee bean.

Consider the color

The number one priority when designing a logo is to make it memorable. As with anything, you can only make a first impression once, and you want it to be a good one that is both recognizable and reflective of the vision and mission of your company.

Psychologically speaking, research supports the importance of choosing the right color scheme above all else, since color can evoke an unconscious response for most people. Huffington Post recently highlighted the power of the use of color as it relates to emotion in its article “The Psychology of Color in Logo Design.” The article cites several effective uses of color as it pertains to emotions like optimism, friendliness and excitement. In the case of companies like McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and KFC, for example, red is used since it is deemed a color that stimulates hunger.

Whatever your color scheme may be, consider the impact it can have on marketing is profound and worth considering.

Embrace versatility

Whatever the logo might end up being should stand the test of time, color and personality. But all of that doesn’t matter much if it isn’t adaptable between a variety of mediums.

The logo will most likely have a prominent placement on the company web site and letterhead, but don’t forget that it should be recognizable in other formats as well. Business cards, advertising materials and commercials (if applicable) should all be able to feature the logo seamlessly.

Evergreen is best

Anyone who gave in to the power of peer pressure and created a MySpace account in the 90s knows it’s true. Trends come and go. For a concept, idea or story associated with your company to go viral or “trend” on a social media outlet like Twitter, for example, can be a game changer. But anything worth having is made to last, and the same can be said for a logo. It should be timeless and not focused too much on one single trend, idea or feature of popular culture.

Some business professionals go as far as to suggest a logo that embraces features like these is worth its weight in gold. It’s powerful, often without saying a word. It can be memorable, leaving a lasting impression on the subconscious mind. Or it can be as fleeting as a cloudburst on a smoldering summer day. The impact your logo can have is ultimately in your hands. What you do with this foundational first step in marketing development is up to you.

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