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A business' image starts with the logo

By Karen Talaski of The Oakland Press

Tony Camilletti is vice president of JGA, Inc., a Southfield-based designer for retail businesses including the Rainforest Cafe at Great Lakes Crossing and the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum store at the Somerset Collection. Camilletti heads JGA's marketing, visual communications and creative resources groups.

Q: What are the benefits of a strong image for a new business?
A: At the risk of sounding trite, we rarely get a second chance to make a first impression. The first impression someone walks away with, regardless of the nature of the encounter, is the lasting perception left in their mind. With fierce competition within most industries today, the "out of the gate" success of any new business will be greatly influenced by the strength of it's perceived image. Before any new business opens it's doors or Web site, it's important for the physical or graphic image to be purposeful, professional, memorable and clear.

Q: How can logos be an effective tool for communicating a business purpose?
A: First, a company mark or logo becomes the essence of the company's brand image. It is their calling card, their billboard. It will become subliminally synonymous with the business - think of some of the classics such as the Swoosh, the Ford Oval or the big red K. All have immediate recall and awareness. Communicating purpose presents a greater challenge. To physically depict a specific product, service or menu through the design of a logo can become a cross to bear for a business. I would suggest looking down the road and building in the potential of evolution. Concentrate on the lasting, emotional cues of the business, such as quality, reliability, style or history.

Q: What details on an exterior sign are effective for drawing customers to a business?
A: Exterior signs are often the most controversial component of a business' brand image. They are subject to community ordinances and physical limitations, landlord criteria and architectural conditions. Particularly if the sign is outdoors, details should be kept simple and minimal. Complex craftsmanship is usually lost on the average drive-by. Keep the colors bold and visible from a distance.

Q: What purpose do signs have inside a business?
A: If a business is catering to the general public, it is vital they communicate with their customers how to go about obtaining information about their products or services. Consider a restaurant without a menu or a city without street signs.

Q: How often should a business refresh it's logo or signs?
A: Unless there has been a strategic shift in a business's vision, ownership or core product, a logo should stand the test of time with minor updating. Some companies may consider their original logo to be outdated or a drag on their attempts to become hip or contemporary.

All Artwork ©2005 Robert Dempster. All Rights Reserved.

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