Logo, A Go

A great pet store logo should inspire confidence, communicate goals and begin building relationships with customers.


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The other day, while dropping our daughter off at daycare, we noticed a flyer on the counter promoting the grand opening of a new local hair salon for kids. We were immediately struck by how crisp and clean the logo was and assumed it was a new location of a franchise chain of salons. Out of curiosity, we Googled the name and found . . . nothing.

So we called the salon and had a brief chat with its owner. We discovered that not only is this the only location, this is her first business ever. This experience reminded us of the power of a well-designed logo. Because of this great logo, we assumed the business was established, large and professional, exactly the things a logo should communicate.

When speaking with the owner, we asked how she came up with the design. She said that she created the concept and then paid a small amount of money to a graphic designer to finish it up. This proved that a great logo does not require a tremendous investment. In fact, Phil Knight paid a designer $75 for the Nike swoosh logo, now one of the most famous symbols in the world.

 
First Impressions
A logo is usually the first impression received about a pet store. It should inspire confidence, communicate what the store is about and begin building relationships with customers. There are three options for logos. The first is a word-based logo with either initials or the full company name spelled out. The text is usually in a unique font or style to make the letters stand out. The second is an otherwise meaningless graphic symbol, such as Nike’s swoosh. And the last type uses graphic elements to illustrate exactly what the business does. This type is best for a pet store. With recognizable images of pets, paws, etc. this type of logo instantly communicates what the store is about.

To create a logo, think about what the store is all about. Birds? Dogs? Herps? All of the above? Writing a brief sentence describing the store can help. Look at other effective logos, both in and out of the pet industry. Which ones do you like? Which ones do you hate and why? These questions will help formulate a direction to go in.

In addition, consider the store’s audience. What do they like? Are you selling cat food to an older audience? Think about a retro or classic logo. A store that sells snakes to young men should go in the other direction, maybe mimicking the feel of heavy metal bands. Are the shoppers all about families and golden retrievers? Perhaps a warm and cozy logo is best.

With a concept in mind, start working with a designer. If a retailer doesn’t know a designer, they can try websites like www.elance.com. Elance has more than 10,000 graphic designers who will bid on the project. From our experience, a retailer will be able to get quality logo designs for less than $100, though paying two or three times that amount is still reasonable.

Give the designer clear instructions from the start. This will help keep the cost down and save time. Be sure to limit the designer to two or three colors. A black cat, golden dog, green snake and blue fish may look great together, but when creating everything from t-shirts to business cards to newspaper ads, the printing costs will be significantly more. If a retailer must have a beautiful six-color logo, have a two-color version designed as well.  Remember to let the designer know how the logo will be used, because shading and fading of colors can be difficult to print. When in doubt, go with the simplest version of what you are presented with.

Once the logo has been created, protect it. Use the little trademark symbol as often as possible, and register the mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. Then use the logo with pride.


The husband and wife team of Eric Cohen and Joyce Shulman is the force behind the Ignition Team, a marketing and business consulting group with a specialty in the pet industry.

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