Business Identity & Small Business

Business Identity & Small Business

Small business owners feel the pinch of start up and ongoing operational costs. No matter the product or service offering, the small business faces challenges from the moment the entrepreneur moves their business vision from dream to reality.

One of the most significant challenges facing start-up businesses relates to brand or business identity. A brand, the business’s identity, is not just a logo or typeface. A brand represents the businesses identity through the use of color, shape, and text.

The best brands inspire admiration, recognition, and trust for a company; a way to identify the organization through a logo or logotype that positively ties emotionally to a customer base.

The challenge facing the start-up: most entrepreneurs do not have the years of education and practical experience in graphics design to create a viable identity from scratch. All start-ups have been there, cobbling together something just to get the doors open and the customer’s coming in. Yet, in most cases something is found to be good enough for Now, and now can last a long, long time.

Creating or updating a business identity

Most new and small businesses struggle with branding, whether they are DIY or need to communicate their vision to a designer.

First and foremost, if your customer base can not explain your brand in a sentence or less you need to revisit your branding design.

There are four basic rules to identity: a logo must be describable, effective in grayscale, be memorable, and be scalable.

Here is an example using the Woodland Chamber of Commerce brand identity.

Woodland Chamber of Commerce Corporate Identity Example

Two often overlooked rules are greyscale and scalability. Sure, that business identity may fantastic on that 6′ x 2′ sign on the building. How does it appear when scaled down for business cards and letterhead ?

Once the basic rules are understood it is time to throw darts at the board. Brainstorming and research for branding require just as much due diligence as a business plan does. Great examples of this are illustrated below.

Business identity examples, best to worst

I guarantee you that Mont-Sat, the company identified by that last logo, was thinking, “good enough for Now.” Annually the design world holds national contests focused on poor logo design. Mono-Sat has been awarded both Most Phallic and Worst Logo. Unfortunately, these are not awards that a business owner seeks.

After being notified of their awards Mont-Sat updated their brand.

Updated identity

Remember that business identity doesn’t need to graphically say what your company does. The Ford logo is not an automobile, and the Nike logo is not a shoe. Yes, a designer can incorporate relevant symbology in to branding, but it is not strictly necessary.

Conversely, not all business identities require graphic based logos. In some cases a professional logotype may work better for your business than a graphically driven identity. The Bill Hager & Associates brand is an excellent example of this methodology:

Bill Haeger & Associates identity

If you have questions about business identity please contact us, or speak with us at the weekly Woodland Chamber of Commerce luncheon, weekly No Frills Networking meetings, the monthly Kalama Chamber of Commerce luncheon, or the monthly Chamber of Commerce After Hours events.