Logos can bring a business glory (Nike) or shame (Tropicana). That's why, before attempting to design a logo for your company or product, you need a clear understanding of exactly what the logo should convey. What is your story? Your selling point, brand attitude, competitive edge, and place in your industry? Do you want to fit in with the market, or do you want to set yourself apart?
After you have nailed down your business identity, consider where your logo will be seen. A logo that works well on packaging might not look so spiffy online or on a billboard. You want the look of your logo to be consistent, no matter where it is. Most important, "remember that your logo is not your brand," says Chris Campbell, executive creative director at New York-based consultancy Interbrand. If you don't have a strong point of view or know what your company is about, having a cool logo isn't going to fix that. Here, four design and branding experts take a look at some small-company logos and tell us what works—and what doesn't.
(The experts: Armin Vit, founder of Austin (Tex.)-based Under Consideration; Chris Campbell; Richard Westendorf, executive creative director in the Cincinnati office of San Francisco-based Landor Associates; and Jocelyn Dimsey, senior brand strategist at New York-based Addison.)