If someone asked you to draw the McDonald’s logo, you’d have no problem sketching the golden arches. McDonald’s and other mega companies like Coca-Cola and Apple have timeless, memorable logos, but it’s not just the big guys that reap the rewards of a well-designed logo.

“Small businesses shouldn’t underestimate the value of a company logo,” Tessa Magnuson, owner of Align Graphic Design, says. “A logo serves as the ambassador of your company.”

Magnuson, who designs logos predominately for small businesses, says your logo is often the first introduction people have to your company. “Think about it. From advertising to business cards, your logo is everywhere,” she says.

A timeless business logo is “creative, clean and classic.” To ensure your next logo meets those three Cs, Magnuson offers these tips:

Find a good designer

When creating a visual representation of your business, it’s best to find someone with experience and knowledge in graphic design.

“Don’t leave your company logo in the hands of your next door neighbor’s grandchild,” Magnuson says. “If you want a top-notch logo, you need to work with someone that has actual design experience, not an ‘artsy friend.’”

Tell your story

Your logo should tell the story of your company. To figure out what that story is, Magnuson says a small group of employees should work together to answer these five questions.

  • What is your company?
  • What values does the company strive for?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • How did the company get its start?
  • In ten years, where will the company be?

You’ll provide these answers to the designer who will use the information to draw graphic inspiration.

“A designer is like an interpreter,” Magnuson says. “It’s my job to help a company turn their text-based story into a visual one.”

Select a simple color scheme

Your business logo should have a basic color scheme, like this logo Magnuson created for a machine shop in Boston. Magnuson suggests using no more than two colors.

“You don’t want a rainbow of colors in your logo, it will look too busy,” she says.

Sticking with two basic colors will also keep printing costs low. From business cards to apparel, you’ll print your logo on a lot of items. The more colors in the logo, the more expensive it is to print.

Include the business name

A logo often becomes synonymous with a company. Nike, for example, is known by its signature swoosh. Target is known by its giant red bull’s-eye. Pepsi is known by its patriotic circle. While big corporations are identifiable by an image-only logo, Magnuson says small businesses shouldn’t just go with an image.

“For small businesses, it’s important to include the business name in the logo,” she says, offering a client’s consulting firm as an example.

That’s not to say a logo can’t have an image and text. Later on, once the company gains recognition, the text can be left out. Twitter recently made this move. The social media giant just updated its blue bird logo and says text is no longer needed.

Creating a logo will take a significant amount of time and money, Magnuson says, but the benefits of a company logo are well worth the investment.

“Your logo is your calling card,” Magnuson says.

Looking to make changes to your current logo or create a brand new one from scratch? We can help you with that.

This post contributed by guest author, Lisa Furgison. Furgison is a media maven with ten years of journalism experience and a passion for creating top-notch content.

© 2013 – 2014, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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