How to Choose a Logo for a Small Business

How to Choose a Logo for a Small Business
Logo Design

How to Choose a Logo for a Small Business

A great logo is vital for the success of your brand. Your logo is often the first impression your audience gets of your company. It’s an opportunity to quickly introduce yourself, tell customers who you are and what you’re about, and leave your mark in their mind – something to remember you by the next time they need whatever it is you offer. 

When you begin to think about what your logo should be like, you may realize that despite seeing logos everywhere, every day, you don’t know exactly what goes into designing them, and what makes them work. Some of the first logos you call to mind – McDonalds, Nike, Apple – are so famous and represent companies so ubiquitous that the name of the business doesn’t even need to be attached to the logo anymore for you to know what it represents. 

As a small or new business owner, your brand faces challenges those corporations overcame a long time ago. Apple’s apple isn’t an introduction anymore, it’s a reminder of the trust people already have for the brand and its products. 

So, when designing or selecting the logo for your company, you have some different considerations to take into account. But, basic design principles still come into play. There’s certainly lessons to be learned from the bold and simple images of those famous logos.  

So, what does the small business owner need to think about for their own logo? 


The first, and perhaps most important, question you need to ask yourself as you take on the task of selecting a logo for your new business is: What is the personality of my brand? You need to decide how you want people to feel when they interact with your company at every level. What attitude will your marketing have? What words will people use to describe your products? 

Say you’re a mechanic opening up a body shop. You want to project that you’re reliable, trustworthy, and know your stuff. Your logo should communicate this from the jump. You may want to include images of objects associated with your work, such as wrenches, tires, etc. But, you also don’t want the image to be cluttered and confusing. Remember, most people don’t spend very long looking at a logo, but the idea is for the image to quickly leave an impression on their mind. Generally speaking, simplicity is best. 

Perhaps your brand is something associated with children, like an indoor playground. You want to project that your place is fun, inviting, and friendly. You might want a unique mascot that represents the theme of your business. 


Assuming you have your company’s name in your logo – which you probably want, especially as you’re starting out and don’t yet have enormous brand recognition – then the font you choose is absolutely vital. How your name is written says a lot about what kind of company you operate. 

For the auto shop, you likely want to use a more professional font. Fonts with serifs are often seen as more trustworthy and professional. For the indoor playground, consider a more fun and playful font. But remember that your logo is really for the adults who will be paying for the experience, and of course that it needs to be easily readable. You want the name of your business to be clear and legible, to make it easier for your audience to remember. 

These are just examples, of course. You might be starting an auto shop with a different vibe, one whose branding is more experimental. What’s important is that your personality is clear, and that you know what you’re going for before you settle on any part of your branding image. 


Colors have a huge effect on how we perceive a brand, and can even impact our mood in subtle ways. McDonald’s uses red and yellow for particular reasons. Red, because it’s stimulating and can jumpstart your appetite. Yellow because it’s associated with happiness, and is easy to see on their signs from far away. Consider what effect you want your logo to have on your potential customers, how you want it to influence them. 

People have subtle associations with colors. Green often makes of think of life, and growth. If your business has to do with nature in any way, this is a color you’re likely to choose. But the decision goes much deeper than a simple green. What shade you choose will communicate a lot about your business. 

Brighter shades tend to be more playful and inviting, while a darker shade can seem more serious. These are all things you need to consider when putting together your brand’s look. And of course, you’re not limited to using only one color. Consider the contrast of different colors you pick, and how they interact. Do they clash dramatically, making an impact on the page? Or do they go together smoothly, soothing the eye that looks at them? 

All of these decisions tie back to the personality of your company, and how you want your audience to feel and think when they see your logo. 


It’s easy to make the mistake of only thinking about your logo in abstract terms, getting lost in colors and shapes and feelings, and forgetting that your logo is a real and physical thing, that real people will see in different contexts. 

Consider your business, and what kind of advertising you’ll use. Where are people most likely to encounter your logo? Will they be seeing it on the small screen of their smartphones, or blown up on a huge billboard? Is the logo likely to be front and center, catching all of their attention, or tucked into a corner, a subtle watermark for your brand? 

Your answers to these questions make a huge difference for the design of your logo. Your answer might even be “all of the above,” that your logo is to be seen everywhere, in all different sizes. In any case, it’s important that the name of your company be easy to read no matter how it’s being seen, and that any images are clear and distinguishable. A busy and cluttered logo might be interesting, but what will it look like printed small on a business card or flyer? On the other hand, will an overly-simple logo be boring on a massive poster, or on a movie theater screen during previews? 

It’s important to find a balance, to consider all of these elements and how they come together in the real-world presentation of your logo. 


Your logo is your company’s personal mark, and it should stand out in a crowd. Whether you’re a pioneer, exploring an industry where few have been before, or you’re starting a company in a world with a lot of existing competition, your logo needs to be unique. 

This is especially important in the case of companies like our auto shop example, where customers likely have a lot of options to choose between. They may be inundated with ads for mechanics any time they drive around. What makes one of them stand out? A perfect logo. 

Look at logos of other brands in your industry. You’ll probably see a lot of repeated motifs. It’s hard to create something truly unique. And, if something is used often, it might be because it really works. A quick search for auto shop logos shows a lot of cars, gears, and wrenches. Not surprising, right? Those are the things we associate with the repair and maintenance of cars. It’s not bad to reuse common elements like this, but try to do so in a way that still helps you stand out. Your use of color, fonts, and arrangement of all these elements can still contribute to the uniqueness of your logo.