You have eight seconds to grab someone’s attention with your logo, bring your brand to their attention, and make them curious enough to investigate further. With Statista’s data saying that attention spans of the average Internet user run at one second less than that of a goldfish, you have to be able to communicate your brand in eight seconds in order to connect with the customer. No matter where you display your logo, the first impression has to be a positive one, with the purpose of your business clearly conveyed by a legible font and an image that is unique and appropriate.

It’s a big decision. The history of logos can be traced back to the ancient world and the first coins, which were essentially the logo of the locality issuing the coin. The use of logos to establish identity has continues since then, spreading from coins to businesses, governmental entities, and guilds in the form of coats of arms, signage, and hallmarks since then in every culture and on every continent. You could even say that we’re hardwired to pick up the visual cues from infancy, learning to trust certain faces, understanding that certain things are good and pleasurable when seen, developing a sense of brand simply by growing.

That’s a lot of history for eight seconds isn’t it?

More immediate concerns for small businesspeople are establishing an identity in a crowded marketplace and the professional appearance of an established, respectable business. Your customers come to associate your logo as being the face of your business, and come to trust that logo the same as they would your face if you were social friends. According to Entrepreneur, there are three type of logos to consider.

  • Font-Based: A text-based logo such as the ones used by Ford, Federal Express, Microsoft, and the New York Times.
  • Illustrative: A logo with a photo or picture that illustrates what a company does, such as a bouquet for a florist or a car for an automotive repair shop.
  • Abstract: Think about the logos for companies like Apple and Target. These brands are so well-established that everyone knows instantly who they are, even with no text to explain who they are or what they do.  These logos are best for established brands where all anyone needs id to see they symbol and instantly understand the company with which it’s affiliated.

Look around at your competitors’ logos and see what they’re doing in terms of branding. Are they using conservative typefaces and muted colors, or are they going all out with a bright and flashy design? Depending on the business you’re in, you will need to consider what is appropriate along with other factors. You may want to consider hiring a professional to design your logo, which can save you a lot of time and aggravation, not to mention trying to learn logo design from scratch.

Smart Money

People like to talk about smart money without ever thinking about what it means. Some think it means not spending any, others think it means spending for the latest and greatest. What smart money really means is using the money you have judiciously for the best effect. There is a time to spend it, and a time to wait and see. With logo design and branding, you can hire a freelancer for a fraction of what you’d spend going with a big name firm, or you can turn to services such as crowdsourced custom logo design by Designhill.

Once you have your logo, you may want to think about taking out a Trademark with the Patent Office, in order to protect your brand and the investment you’ve made in it. A Trademark is a branding image that  includes words, names, symbols or any combinations of thereof that are used to identify the goods or services provided by one company from other companies offering the same or similar good and services and indicate the source of these goods and services. Using a professional to create your logo generally means that you have a better chance of coming up with something that the Patent Office will consider unique enough to be Trademarked.

While not all businesses need the extra security offered by having a registered trademark, the protections ought to be taken into account. Your logo, when trademarked, is recognized as your intellectual property and cannot be used by any other business without infringing on your intellectual property rights. The Patent Office does not actively look for such infringements, but instead leaves that to the business owner. It also means that the designer of your logo can’t turn around use that design for another client without infringing your brand. Going to professionals to design your logo can be a great first step toward a successful Trademark filing.