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A logo serves as the personality and opening statement made to the public by an organization. Logos can be seen on business cards, billboards, in print, online and everywhere in between. Many well known organisations, especially those inside the convenience store industry, have memorable logos—think about the unique Circle K logo, the green, orange and white 7 Eleven, and the separated red and white “S” for Speedway. All are memorable as the symbol of the company they represent. With just an image we can associate a company and brand promise without ever seeing a written description or company name. While oftentimes a tagline is common, when a logo has enough power, it’s not necessary. That’s why these companies are clear leaders in the industry.

It is important to realize the power of a unique and effective logo and what it can accomplish for your convenience store’s identity. There’s a reason why the provided examples are the leaders in this space. They have built that trust over decades with the customer, and each logo imparts a certain response. But no matter the size of the organisation, a logo is the symbol of an organisation and an effective one is a visual icon that reinforces a company’s mission and identity. The following tips will explain how to design a logo that will remain constant on the mind of its viewers.

Express your organisation’s personality: Your logo can not sing and dance but it can express the personality, purpose and promise of your organisation. The truth is that there are hundreds of thousands of convenience stores and gas stations on roads throughout the country. Yours must stand out in the face of such competition. In fact, early on it is vital for a potential customer to learn something about your organisation just by looking at the logo. Believe it or not, the colors that make up your logo are an important component in helping to accomplish this goal. Consider implementing blue into your colour scheme as blue communicates trust. It is also a color that many other large chains have not yet embraced, such as 7-Eleven and Circle K. Often bold will stand out.

Pop goes the logo: The most effective logos are ones that come alive and jump off the sign, or wherever they are displayed. Make sure your logo is bold, memorable and pops. Take a look at the 7-Eleven logo as an example. It has multiple colors and a large number lets you know where you are. Ensure that your logo design makes sense for the convenience store business and don’t be afraid to test it with existing or potential customers to see what their feedback is. What you think works might not resonate with your customers. You can do this by seeing how postcard direct mail campaigns, as well as flyers resonate with customers. Try a number of different ones and see which ones generate good reactions.

Keep it simple: Don’t over think your logo design and keep it simple and clean. Attempting to do too much with your logo will only confuse your target audience and blur your message. A confusing logo is forgettable and useless. Sometimes less is more. One good example is Circle K, which imparts a large letter encompassed by a red oval. While the logo is very simple, it’s also large, imparts an obvious visual reaction, and because of the reputation the company has earned, elicits a certain experience.

Make sure your logo is flexible: A logo must work well across all channels as it can be displayed in numerous places online and in print. Legibility is key and your logo should be able to work in both black and white and colour as it may be on documents that will be faxed or photocopied. A logo that cannot be viewed clearly is not effective. Keep in mind that your logo may be viewed on a small object like a business card or on a larger item such as a marketing postcard or an advertisement in a newspaper.

Make a statement: Many logos also include a tagline, which is a statement of the products or services you provide and separates your organization from others. Some well known tag lines from convenience stores include the decades old “Thank heaven for 7-Eleven,” or the new Circle K “What else do you need?” Like the design of the logo, a tagline should be short and to the point but memorable. As you design your logo, incorporating a tagline can be an effective marketing tool and it is one best developed in conjunction with the logo.

Research your logo: While your logo might symbolise something positive in the United States, it might stand for something entirely different in other cultures. Research the meaning behind your logo before you finalise it as it may convey a negative message to those from other cultures. Many convenience stores do business with individuals and organisations from other countries and cultures which make it vital to create an international-friendly logo. And of course, make sure another organisation is not using the same or a similar logo design, especially if they are a competitor. That could cause problems down the line, even for a small store.

Use it: Once you have a logo it is time to use it everywhere both online, in signage and in print. Put it on all of your marketing materials, including business cards, letterhead and even envelopes. Include it in your email signature, on your website and use it in all correspondence to reinforce your store and encourage repeat customers and referrals. Once you have a solid logo that makes an impact, it should be synonymous with your company name. The visual will go a long way, and eventually cause people to pull in, rather that drive by.

Be consistent: A logo is not something that should change regularly. It takes a lot of work to come up with a logo and it takes an even greater amount of time for customers and prospects to remember it and associate it with your brand. Changing a logo regularly will confuse your target market and cause more harm than good. Spend the time to develop a stellar logo and associated tagline now to reap the benefits in the future.

No matter your budget, design resources or the size of your organisation, the above tips will enable you to utilize a logo that will represent your organisation proudly and effectively as you grow and expand.

*Melissa Crowe is the vice president of marketing services at VistaPrint, the small business marketing company. Visit www.vistaprint.com.au for more logo ideas.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of DYNAMICBUSINESS.com or the publishers.

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