Even if you’re not a Petco fan yourself, you would probably recognize the distinctive red-and-blue logo from a mile off. Logos play a huge role in creating your brand, expanding your reach, and gaining recognition as a pet groomer.

Designing a logo is one of the most important parts of setting up your grooming business. As simple as it might seem, a good logo can make it much easier to get your brand off the ground – but a bad one can really hold you (and your business) back.

Not sure where to start? We’ll walk you through the basics.

What makes a good dog grooming logo?

The elements of a strong logo are the same no matter what your brand is. The number one thing to keep in mind when designing a logo for your grooming business is that you want it to be memorable (for the right reasons, of course).

Think of Nike. The brand is so in sync with its stylized checkmark logo that the checkmark often appears without the brand name – most people recognize it instantly, even if they’ve never bought a Nike product in their life.

What makes Nike’s logo so memorable? Think about it. That checkmark is…

  • Simple. There are no fancy flourishes or elaborate details to distract you.
  • Versatile. Is it printed in black and white or color? Is it tiny or does it take up a whole billboard? Is it printed on a flat piece of paper or a baggy t-shirt? Doesn’t matter. Wherever you place it, the logo fits.
  • Timeless. Nike’s been around for over 50 years, but you wouldn’t think it to look at their logo. That checkmark works just as well in 2016 as it did in 1964.
  • Appropriate for the brand. Nike associates itself with tough athletics, professional athletes, and cutting edge sports technology, so the slick checkmark is a perfect fit. A stuffy logo with lots of flourishes and embellishments definitely wouldn’t have the same effect!

What goes in a logo?

Many new business owners make the mistake of thinking their logo must showcase their profession. But the reality is that the most successful businesses in the world tend to feature logos that have nothing to do with their products or services!

While there’s nothing wrong with using grooming or pet-related images when you design a logo for your dog grooming business, you’ll want to be careful. A simple dog silhouette might seem like a good fit – but we guarantee you dozens (if not hundreds) of other groomers are already using something similar. Do some industry research before you commit to see if other pet groomers in your area have already grabbed your idea.

In general, there are three types of logos:

  1. Font-based, like Pet Valu
  2. Literal illustrations, like Petco’s cat and dog
  3. Abstract symbols, like Pet Smart’s bouncing ball

Many major companies have huge success with abstract logos, but there’s a catch. Until you create an association between your brand and the symbol, the symbol itself is totally meaningless. Building up that association takes time, money, and expert marketing – and as an independent dog groomer, you may be short on all three.

Before you start designing, do your research

To get a better idea of what you’re looking for in a logo, check out the logos of other groomers in your area. Look for:

Common themes.

Do groomers in your area favor fancy script fonts? Do white-and-blue color schemes prevail? Picking up on the logo trends of competing pet grooming businesses will help you decide how to stand out.

Things you like.

Maybe you find yourself gravitating towards simple script fonts, or maybe you like logos that incorporate clean lines and angles. There’s nothing wrong with “borrowing” a few small ideas from your competition, as long as you make them your own.

Things you can’t stand.

Do 3-D effects make you cringe? Are you yawning at the sight of yet another minimalist dog paw silhouette? Picking out what you don’t like is just as important as picking out what you do.

Don’t limit yourself to just researching other professional pet groomers, either. Pet salons, pet supply stores, and veterinarian clinics are often marketing pros with huge teams behind their logos, product design, and branding. A little online research can give you some ideas for your own logo.

Should I hire a professional graphic designer?

The short answer is yes. A good logo has to be simple, but the design process is a lot more complicated! If you want a good logo that will boost your brand and last you through your career, you should be hiring a professional graphic designer.

Freelance graphic designers aren’t cheap (at least, not the good ones), and with good reason. Many new business owners write off a graphic designer’s services as unnecessary, but that’s a big mistake. Professional graphic designers help you create professional logos. They also have a good eye for versatility. In other words, they’ll be able to tell you whether a logo will transfer easily (and for a reasonable price) between branded collateral like business cards, social media, and ads.

Shop around for a graphic designer who can create a logo that suits your pet grooming business’s brand. Worried about picking the wrong one? Sites like 99designs let you view submissions from multiple artists and designers before making your final decision.

Working with graphic designers: A crash course

While a professional designer or artist can make the difference between a logo that boosts your brand and one that kills it, they can’t work magic. Your job isn’t done once hire a graphic designer. You need to work with them so they understand exactly what you want.

Working with a good graphic designer can be expensive, so you want to make sure you get the most out of the experience. Keep these dos and don’ts in mind:

  • Do give your designer examples. Show the logos you researched earlier to your graphic designer to give them a clearer idea of what you are (or aren’t) looking for. You can even do a few sketches if there’s an idea you’re struggling to communicate.
  • Don’t be too controlling. A graphic designer is a partner, not a paid servant. You’re paying them for their professional experience, so give them a chance to use it!
  • Do come ready to explain your brand. Examples of other logos you like and dislike are helpful, but a good graphic designer needs more. What is your brand all about? What makes your dog grooming business stand out from the competition?
  • Don’t expect the first draft to be perfect. That’s why it’s called the first draft – there are more to come. The designer needs your input to figure out where and what to change and improve.
  • Do give specific feedback. Don’t like it? Think it needs more “punch?” That’s great, but your designer needs more. Break the logo down to figure out what’s not working: Font? Color? Images? Layout? Then tell your designer.
  • Don’t give negative feedback. Absolutely give your designer feedback – but recognize the difference between negative feedback and constructive criticism! Think about it. Would you rather have one of your grooming clients tell you “The haircut you gave my dog is ugly” or “I’m not a huge fan of that style. Do you think something longer might work for next time?”

A final word of advice…

As a dog groomer, your business is all about your clients, but it’s also about you. Your whole brand (including your logo and your business name) will be much easier to maintain if it lines up with values that matter to you!

When you’re designing a logo for your business, don’t forget one very important question: Do you like it? And will you still like it in five years? What about ten? A good logo is a major investment – so make it last!

What are your thoughts on grooming logos? Let us know in the comments!

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