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Logo Motion

If you think logos aren't important, take a look at Nike, which is considering limiting the use of its famous "swoosh" because it has become too universal and therefore lost some of its unique appeal. While that's probably not a problem your company will soon face, it does illustrate how important choosing the right logo can be. Here's how to select the right one for your homebased business:

*Keep it simple. A Florida environmental engineer left another company to start his own business selling waste treatment products. The logo he chose was simple: heavy black waves of water going through a pipe under the start of the company's name. The waves coming out were thinner and cleaner. Anyone in the business who saw it knew exactly what he did.

*Don't be too trendy. Stay away from a faddish look or design. As with clothing, if you're too "in," you risk quickly being "out." Unlike clothing, you're making a major investment once your logo is printed on stationery, cards, vehicles and the like.

*Make the logo fit your business. You may favor gothic type or other fancy script. If you're a computer consultant, however, it's unlikely to reflect an up-to-date, technologically savvy business. Similarly, if you refurbish cabins, it should be reflected in your logo by using thick, bold lines and rustic images.

*Be careful with colors. Black and white usually works fine, particularly for stationery. However, other colors can be used effectively to represent your business: gold and silver for financial advisors or high-end businesses; green and brown for environmental firms; and red, white and blue to portray, of course, all things American.

*Image is everything. Your logo may be the first contact potential customers have with you. The right typeface, colors and design let people know whether you're an upscale business or a discount operation. Make sure you know exactly what you want to convey.

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