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Wyoming Business Tips for Feb. 22-28

February 18, 2021

A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Mike Lambert, Market Research Center manager, Wyoming SBDC Network

In today’s economy, branding is more important than ever. However, in my work with the Wyoming SBDC Network’s Market Research Center, I see a lot of companies that have neglected one critical element of branding -- their logos.

When you start a business, it is easy to fall into the trap of having your creative nephew produce your logo, or even use one of the online logo builders, or even just DIY (design it yourself). These tactics can work and have good results but, more often, what results is either extremely generic, poorly focused on the business, difficult to reproduce or just plain terrible.

Businesses may want to consider using professional designers with logo experience. In order for a logo to work for a business, it should meet most -- if not all -- of the following criteria: 

-- Keep it simple. Complex designs with multiple fonts, complex images and numerous colors may seem appealing, but businesses need to think about how they use their logos. A logo should be a quick and easy to recognize symbol that evokes your business. If it is overly busy, people may not understand what a business’s brand is about.

-- Are the colors timeless? A business logo should use colors that are going to be used elsewhere in the business. Think UPS. Brown wouldn’t necessarily be the “go-to” color for most businesses, but UPS has made it work for them. Their trucks, stores and uniforms all use the Pullman brown and gold color scheme, and are instantly recognizable. Businesses should be cautious about using “trendy” colors. What’s hot today may be old news tomorrow.

-- Color is important, but does the business logo work in black and white? If not, the business needs to consider all of the ways it might want to use it. Does the business want to print or embroider shirts in multiple colors? What about printed marketing materials? It’s a good practice for a business to have its designer start with black and white, and then add color to the logo design.

-- Are the fonts a business is using professional and clean looking? Businesses should try to avoid the mistake of overusing different styles of fonts. The logo is supposed to communicate immediately what the business is about. If the font is hard to read or, if it is totally illegible, it also won’t communicate.

-- Avoid using stock art. If at all possible, businesses should use original art. If a business must use stock art, the business needs to make sure that it isn’t something that is used by dozens of companies. A business wants a unique, clean look for its logo that stands out and says something about the company. Also, if a business decides to use stock art, it should always make sure that it has the rights to use the image.

-- Does the logo work everywhere? Will the logo work on Facebook, Instagram and other social media? Does it look good on the business’s website? On its truck? On a shirt, business card or even on a giveaway pen? Facebook uses a circle for its logo display. Will a business’s logo work in this format and still be legible? It may not work for all purposes, or the business may need to have an alternate version.

-- Format, format, format. Whatever a business does, it needs to make sure that it receives the logo not just as an image file, such as a JPG or PNG, but as a vector image. Vector images can be scaled up and down in size, which makes them easy to adapt to any size without losing quality.

If you need assistance during these difficult times, please contact the Wyoming SBDC Network. Our regional directors and counselors are ready to assist you in creating strategies to bring your business through a new and challenging world. Visit www.wyomingsbdc.org to speak with your local adviser to receive no-cost, confidential assistance today.

The Wyoming SBDC Network offers no-cost advising and technical assistance to help Wyoming entrepreneurs think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their businesses. In 2020 alone, the Wyoming SBDC Network helped Wyoming entrepreneurs start 95 new businesses; support 6,954 jobs; and bring a capital impact of $18 million to the state. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email wsbdc@uwyo.edu, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922.

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