What's the purpose of a massage logo and is it really necessary?
Logos are used in conventional advertising to develop a certain level of familiarity with a product or service. Logos are also used to reproduce a specific emotion that the logo is affiliated with. For this reason logos (and branding in general) are much more important for commodity products, that is products where there is almost no perceived advantage in the consumer's mind.
Confronted by a rack of chocolate bars at a convenience store checkout for example, an advertiser wants a customer to get an instant feeling of familiarity and comfort with selecting their product. They do this by and large through logo design (there's not space to put much more than a logo on a chocolate bar wrapper) which has been related with a particular message or specific feeling through extensive advertising on the boob tube and in print media. If that candy bar doesn't get picked out on the spot from the vast selection of similar treats, then that manufacturer is out of luck.
Most business owners, massage businesses included, don't have the the same need to brand as the candy bar manufacturer. Massage is not a 'commodity' item. It's what businesspeople would call a 'high involvement' product. The typical customer doesn't see ten clinics lined up down the street and suddenly decide to choose to use one. They research, get suggestions about, ask for referrals to, converse about, and take time making a choice before they pick up the phone to schedule an appointment. The need for split-second visual recognition is in reality not that strong.
So for massage therapists, massage logos serve more as artistic parts in the design of stationery than any kind of branding device.
Rules and principles of massage logo design...
Here are some important pointers and principles for creating your own massage therapy logo.
1. Keep it simple
Avoid a lot of details. Customers are only going to look at it for a moment and leave with a feeling. Keeping the design elementary makes your massage logo easier to remember and easy to reproduce.
2. Don't get literal
Your massage logo doesn't have to convey what you do. Imagine some of the greatest logos: Golden arches (nothing to do with burgers), a swoosh (nothing to do with running shoes) or an apple (nothing to do with computers). So you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you honestly don't have to have hands in your logo... seriously, you don't.
3. Make it unforgettable
To be memorable your logo should be bold, graphic and distinct. Avoid cliches. There are so many logos that have pictures of hands and the low back curves that they are now indistinguishable from each other.
4. It should reproduce well in black and white
You never know how your logo will be reproduced, so it should still work in black and white.
5. Looks good big or small
Your massage logo has got to look good no matter if its oversized or small. You must be able to shrink your massage logo down to an inch and have it still be recognizable. It should look good blown as well.
6. Make it rectangular
Our eyes roll naturally across illustrations that are wider than they are tall. Create a wide image rather than a tall one.
7. Use your practice name
If it makes sense, use your business name in your logo design. This is known as a logotype or wordmark. It does double duty making your name as an element of the design rather than an addon. You'll see how I've done this for my logo at BodyworkBiz.
In summary, don't stress about your logo. A massage logo is not going to determine the success of your massage business.
If you are just beginning your career, you can develop enticing sales materials without a logo by using simple typefaces and good quality photos.
If your logo is not all that great then consider doing away with it. It's better to have a straightforward layout in your website and marketing materials rather than stick with an ugly and useless massage logo just for the sake of having one.