In part 4 of our series on trademarking a logo design we look at trademarking your name and what is considered a strong logo.
Trademarking Your Name
Have you ever walked into a business named ‘John’s Autoshop’ or something similar? Chances are the business is trademarked using the owner’s name or perhaps a family business that started decades ago. It is legal to trademark your own name but it has to be for a business purpose only. Trademarking names can get a little murky because, like generic words, other people will have the same name as you. Say you open up a nail salon and want to call it ‘Jami’s Funky Nails’ or ‘Jami Vaughn’s Nail Salon’ the entirety of the name itself including the words after your actual name can be trademarked. But, if someone else named Jami Vaughn wanted to open up a fish and tackle store called ‘Jami Vaughn’s Fish and Bait Shop’ they are legally allowed to do so. They can trademark their shop name in the same way you can as long as it is not the exact same business name.
Think thoroughly before you decide to use your name for logo and branding. If you start a company under your first and last name and decide to sell or leave the company you won’t be able to reuse your name for any new business venture. Entrepenuers don’t build a company thinking they’ll eventually sell or want to start a new one but it happens. If you’re really adamant about using your name then go ahead and trademark it just keep in mind you won’t be able to use it professionally on any other logo afterwards the trademark is approved.
What is Considered a Strong Logo?
Google is an extremely strong logo. It’s unique and when it’s said you know exactly what someone is referencing. Speech around the term ‘Google’ is so common in our everyday life that the logo itself has become a verb. How often has someone said to you ‘I don’t know, Google it?’ as an answer when they’re unsure how to answer a question? Google, on top of being a strong tool, is a strong logo because it is incredibly unique and simple. It’s not directly related to the search engine either. It could have been ‘Google Search Engine’ or something like that but it wouldn’t have caught on at least by name. It’s a mouthful and doesn’t flow well. Other logos that are big without being directly related to their product or service are Apple computers. Simple name and well known. Logo’s don’t have to reflect the product or include the name in it either. It’s meant to make people think of your brand and the rest will come naturally
Logos that are generic and use exactly what the product is, ‘Grandpa’s Ice Cream’ for example, is considered a weak logo. There is nothing unique or interesting about that logo. Doesn’t it just make you think of an old man pulling ice cream out of his retro freezer? That’s not to say logos that include the product they’re selling are bad perse but for the most part they don’t get the job done well.