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Tools for Creating a Logo

A great logo can help make or break your startup. Here are the tools you need to create a memorable mark.

By definition, a logo is an identifying symbol. It can be an artistic representation of your business name (eBay) or a symbol (Apple Computer). Logos should engage your customers and make a lasting impression, as well as separate your business from your competitors. If you lack the skills to create your own logo, or if you have the artistic ability but don't understand the intricacies of logo design, try using the following resources to make your logo memorable.

Know Your Logo
If you decide to develop the logo your-self, here are some reference materials to inspire and educate you.

  • How to Design Logos, Symbols & Icons By Gregory Thomas (How Design Books, $24.99): This book includes case studies from the top designers in the business working on projects for big clients like Time Warner and Volkswagen. By getting a peek inside these studios at every stage from rough sketches and client briefings to polished, finished projects, you gain insight into the strategies, stories, research and thought processes it takes to create a world-class logo.
  • Logo Design for Small Business 2 By Dan Antonelli (SignCraft, $25): This follow-up book exclusively targets small-business owners and their logo design needs. Antonelli digs into 175 different designs for small businesses and explains why small-business logo needs differ from corporate requirements.
  • Logo Design Workbook By Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka (Rockport Publishers, $40): Offering a hands-on approach to what it takes to create a logo, this book covers choosing the right colors, typeface and size, as well as common logo mistakes and what makes a logo successful.

DIY Tools
Ready to design your business's logo? These tools will help you take that logo from your head to your letterhead.

  • Logo Design Studio ($29.99): This software offers hundreds of modifiable logo templates, object and text tools, and advanced color control options including gradients. Logo designers can also work with special effects tools to blur, outline or shadow objects. This software even includes trademark and copyright guidelines.
  • Logoyes.com ($99): Create a logo in minutes without having to load any software. LogoYes.com is a web-based solution that offers over 20,000 symbols to choose from. The best part: LogoYes.com allows you to create your logo before you ever commit to purchasing it.
  • The Logo Creator ($39.95): With more than 300 logo elements and 50 built-in fonts, you can create logos in just a few steps. The Logo Creator software also includes 75 logo templates and can import your personal fonts and images.

Call In the Professionals
If the pinnacle of your artistic abil-ities was reached with a Crayola, don't despair-here are a few places where you can find experts to help.

  • BusinessLogos.com ($199-$249): Access more than 200 experienced logo designers with BusinessLogos.com. The ordering process is simple: Fill out a form, including preferences of color, keywords for your industry, etc. Within three business days, you'll receive concepts to review. You can make refinements, approve them, and then accept final delivery of your logo.
  • LogoWorks.com ($299-$1,499): Get professionals to compete for your business. Fill out a form describing your needs, and qualified designers will bid on your project. Once you select your designer, you'll receive logo concepts within 72 hours. Soon after, with refinements of your choice, you'll have a customized, professional-looking logo.
  • thelogoloft.com ($69-$999): Draw from the same talent pool as Gillette and Microsoft, both clients of TheLogoLoft.com. Depending on the package you purchase, TheLogoLoft.com will deliver anywhere from one to six design concepts, and you're allowed an unlimited number of revisions. Concepts arrive within three to four business days, and final designs are handed over once you're satisfied with the revisions.

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This article was originally published in the June 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur's StartUps with the headline: Looking for a Sign?.

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