Complete Your LLC's Identity with a Logo - dummies

By Jennifer Reuting

Humans aren’t just vocal and aural beings; they’re visual, too. So, unless your target demographic is of the nonhuman variety (not likely!), you need to take into account the visual element of your limited liability company’s brand: your logo.

Logo designs come in four basic forms:

  • Word mark: Your company name in a specialized typography is your logo. Think of the Coca-Cola logo, for example.

  • Combination mark: Partner your stylized name with an icon of some sort, and you have a combination mark. Think of AT&T and its iconic globe.

  • Emblem: Some companies go for the more artistic approach and put the company name inside an emblem. Think of the Starbucks round seal or the Porsche coat of arms. This approach can reap big rewards by giving you more creative license to reflect the tone of your brand in the logo.

  • Symbol: Some companies are so well known that they can get by with just a symbol. Everyone knows the Nike swoosh, the McDonald’s golden arches, and Apple’s . . . well, apple. Usually only extremely well-known brands can pull this off, and even then it can backfire. Remember when Prince changed his name to a symbol? A bad move. Think hard before going down this road.

When deciding which type of logo you want, carefully consider how you want your business to be perceived. Take the time to educate yourself by figuring out your complete brand — the image and feeling you want to convey, the demographic to which you want to convey it, and the mark of your personal creativity with which you wish to endow it.

Then draw up a few ideas and take them to an experienced logo artist and/or graphic designer to assist you in creating a final logo.

When you hire a designer to create your logo, keep in mind that just because you paid her doesn’t mean that you own the final product! Make sure that you have a concrete, state-specific work-for-hire agreement with the designer that explicitly states that you own the final work.

Before you put too much time and money into your logo, make sure that both the name you want to use and the image you want to convey are available for use. Otherwise, you may go through great expense only to throw it all away and start from scratch. Read on to find out how to determine name availability.