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Logo Design 101: Types, Styles and Colors

Aside from a stellar business plan, coming up with a logo is an extremely important step when it comes to building your brand. Your logo is the visual representation of what your brand is about. It needs to catch people’s attention and convey who your brand is in the few seconds that someone might see it. That’s a tall order. So when it comes to dreaming up your brand’s logo there different things to take into consideration like the type and style of logo you want.

Let’s take a look at the the three biggest parts of logo design: logo types, logo styles and logo colors.

 

Part I: Logo Types

There are four main types of logos: lettermark, wordmark, pictorial and combination. Let’s take a brief look at each of these.

Lettermark Logos


Lettermark logos are also called monogram logos. They are often used if a brand has a long name and wants it shortened for everyday speak. Lettermark logos usually consist of the company’s initials. Here are some examples of famous lettermark logos:

British Broadcasting Corporation | Example of Lettermark Logo

British Broadcasting Corporation | Example of Lettermark Logo

Hennes & Mauritz AB

Hennes & Mauritz AB

Entertainment and Sports Programming Network

Entertainment and Sports Programming Network

 

Wordmark Logos


Wordmark logos are similar to that of lettermark logos in that they both contain a variation of the company name, however wordmark logos usually contain the full name of the company. These are good for companies with shorter more recognizable names. Here are some examples of companies with wordmark logos:

Google Logo

Google Logo

Pandora Radio Logo

Pandora Radio Logo

Jeep Logo

Jeep Logo

 

Pictorial Logos


Pictorial logos contain an image that represents the company rather words or letters. The image can be more abstract or more literal (but we’ll dive into that a little later). This type of logo relies on using a customer’s brand awareness to associate the image with the brand name. This is why you see a lot of top name companies with pictorial logos because they are already well established in the minds of consumers. Brands usually start out with combination logos, which we’ll talk about next, while building brand awareness and then eventually being using the pictorial logo instead of the combo logo or interchangeably. An example of that is Apple. They initially had a combination logo, but eventually switched over to the pictorial logo you see below. Brands like Nike and Target use both their pictorial logo and combination logo. You can see either of their logos and be able to associate it with the company.

Apple Logo

Apple Logo

Nike Pictorial Logo

Nike Pictorial Logo

Target Pictorial Logo

Target Pictorial Logo

 

Combination Logos


Combination Logos are pretty self explanatory - they use a combination of the logo styles listed above. These types of logos work well for all types of businesses because they typically tell you the brand name and also give you an idea of what their brand is about. Here are some famous examples of combination logos:

Wendy’s Logo

Wendy’s Logo

The Wendy’s logo is also an example of a mascot logo, where the logo is based around a company mascot. Other examples of mascot logos include KFC, Aunt Jemima, Planter’s Peanuts (Mr. Peanut), etc.

Betty Crocker Logo

Betty Crocker Logo

Toyota Logo | Combination Logo Example | Mill Creek Creative
 

To recap, lettermark logos are suitable for companies with long names that need to be shortened down for easier public recognition; wordmark logos are suitable for companies with shorter names that are easy to remember (especially if they already describe the services or goods your company offers); pictorial logos are suitable for companies with a strongly established presence in the consumer marketplace and usually stem from the use of a combination logo first; and finally a combination logo is suitable for any type of business.

Now let’s move on to logo styles!


 

Part II: Logo Styles

Once you’ve chose the type of logo you want to have for your brand it’s important to think about the style of the logo. The style of logo you choose is arguably more important to brand perception than the type of logo. Let’s break down the different types of logo styles and what they represent.


Logo Style: Feminine vs. Masculine

When creating your logo it’s important to keep in mind your ideal customer. Do you sell beauty products? Then you probably don’t want a masculine logo. Do you sell men’s clothing? Then you don’t really want a feminine logo. If you’re product or service is unisex than you want to balance the femininity and masculinity of your logo so that neither is dominant. Feminine logos often tend to incorporate smooth lines, script fonts, florals and other sterotypically feminine elements. Color wise they tend to gravitate towards softer colors like pinks and purples or use pastels to soften the look even more. Feminine logos tend to look more “beautiful.” Masculine logos often incorporate sharp lines and edges, fully saturated colors or monochromatic color palettes and thicker, bolder fonts. Gender neutral logos combine the best of both of these by sticking to neutral colors and fonts. Let’s look at some examples:


Feminine Logo Examples:

Barbie Logo

Barbie Logo

Thirty-One Gifts Logo

Thirty-One Gifts Logo

Anastasia Beverly Hills Logo

Anastasia Beverly Hills Logo

 

Masculine Logo Examples:

Harley-Davidson Logo

Harley-Davidson Logo

Axe Logo

Axe Logo

Lacoste Logo

Lacoste Logo

 

Gender Neutral Logo Examples:

eos Logo

eos Logo

Marks & Spencer Logo

Marks & Spencer Logo

Starbucks Logo | Gender Neutral Logo Example | Mill Creek Creative
 

Logo Style: Young vs. Mature

Your audience age is also an important factor when designing your logo. Are you targeting the younger crowd or the older crowd? Younger audiences tend to gravitate more towards color and bold design whereas mature audiences tend to gravitate towards classic, less showy design.

“Young” Logo Design Style Examples:

Nickelodeon Logo

Nickelodeon Logo

Fortnite Logo

Fortnite Logo

Hasbro Logo | Young Logo Example | Mill Creek Creative
 

“Mature” Logo Design Style Examples:

Harry and David Logo | Mature Logo Example | Mill Creek Creative
Estée Lauder Logo

Estée Lauder Logo

Tiffany & Co. Logo | Mature Logo Example | Mill Creek Creative
 

Logo Style: Budget vs. Luxury

Does your target customer base have a lot of money or do they live on a budget? If you are a luxury brand, you don’t want a logo that looks like you’re thrift shopping. You want something evocative of taste and exclusivity. Luxury brand logos typically use less color, but if they do it’s often gold, silver or another metallic color. They also tend to use less bold typefaces than budget brands. If they use pictorials logos it’s often something that recalls traditional, royal or mythology. Budget brand logos tend to be flashier and bolder. Take a look at some examples:


Budget Brand Logo Examples:

Kmart Logo

Kmart Logo

Dollar General Logo

Dollar General Logo

Walmart Logo | Budget Style Logo Example | Mill Creek Creative
 

Luxury Style Logo Examples:

Versace Logo

Versace Logo

Rolex Logo | Luxury Style Logo Example | Mill Creek Creative
Hermès Logo

Hermès Logo

 

Logo Style: Modern vs. Classic

Modern vs. Classic styles are very similar to the young vs. mature logo styles. The only real difference is that modern logos tend to to embrace geometric patterns and simplicity. Modern logos don’t mind embracing color They tend to use more casual sans-serif fonts. Several big name brands have modernized their logo over the last few years to refresh their look. Classic logo design tends to use serif fonts with muted color palettes.

 

Modern Logo Style Examples:

Mastercard’s Modernized Logo

Mastercard’s Modernized Logo

Pepsi’s modernized logo

Pepsi’s modernized logo

Airbnb Logo

Airbnb Logo

 

Classic Style Logo Examples:

Berkshire Hathaway Logo

Berkshire Hathaway Logo

J.P. Morgan Logo

J.P. Morgan Logo

United Healthcare Design

United Healthcare Design

 

Logo Style: Playful vs. Serious

Playful style logos are often for brands that market products and services to children. Serious style logos are often used for professional services. Playful styles can be more colorful and use fonts that are bolder, blockish and less structured.


Playful Logo Examples:

Kidbox Logo

Kidbox Logo

Crayola Logo | Playful Logo Example | Mill Creek Creative
LEGO Logo

LEGO Logo

 

Serious Logo Examples:

Cravath Logo

Cravath Logo

Farmers Insurance Logo

Farmers Insurance Logo

Edward Jones Logo

Edward Jones Logo

 

Logo Style: Loud vs. Quiet

Loud logo styles often include bold colors, fonts and generally have a lot to the logo design. Quiet logo styles tend to use more muted tones or single colors and abide by the less is more adage.

 

Loud Logo Examples:

Mets Logo

Mets Logo

Guns N Roses Logo

Guns N Roses Logo

20th Century Fox Logo (While this a more subtle version of their logo there’s still a lot going on in the actual image)

20th Century Fox Logo (While this a more subtle version of their logo there’s still a lot going on in the actual image)

 

Quiet Logo Examples:

Uber Logo

Uber Logo

Doterra Logo

Doterra Logo

White Barn Logo

White Barn Logo

 

Logo Style: Simple vs. Complex

Simple and Complex logos kind of follow the same vein of design as quite vs loud. Simple logos could just be lettermarks or wordmarks, or have minimal design elements. Complex logos contain a lot of design elements.

 

Simple Logo Examples:

Vogue Logo

Vogue Logo

Nike Logo

Nike Logo

Twitter Logo

Twitter Logo

 

Complex Logo Examples:

Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Logo

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Logo

Canada Dry Logo | Complex Logo Example | Mill Creek Creative
 

Logo Style: Subtle vs. Obvious

When you include some icons or imagery in your logo you can choose to make it subtle or obvious. Subtle imagery hints at the meaning behind the logo while obvious logos are well…obvious. Check out some samples of each below.

 

Subtle Logo Examples:

Sony VAIO Logo

Sony VAIO Logo

Sony VAIO Logo Message

Sony VAIO Logo Message

This one is interesting…do you see a spartan helmet first or a golfer first? Spartan Golf Club Logo

This one is interesting…do you see a spartan helmet first or a golfer first? Spartan Golf Club Logo

FedEx Logo (see the arrow between the E and x?)

FedEx Logo (see the arrow between the E and x?)

 

Obvious Logo Examples:

Guitar Center Logo

Guitar Center Logo

Red Cross Logo

Red Cross Logo

Jaguar Logo

Jaguar Logo

 

Logo Style: Organic vs. Geometric

Organic logos tend to display imagery as you would naturally see them in real life. Geometric logos tend to be more abstract representations of an object. You often find organic style logos with food brands.

 

Organic Logo Examples:

Hunt’s Logo

Hunt’s Logo

Universal Orlando Resort Logo

Universal Orlando Resort Logo

Arm & Hammer Logo

Arm & Hammer Logo

 

Geometric Logo Examples:

Olympics Logo

Olympics Logo

Twitter Logo

Twitter Logo

Delta Logo

Delta Logo

Phew! That’s it for the logo styles. Let’s move on to the final part - logo colors.

 

 

Part III: Logo Colors

If you ever take a design or marketing class you’re very likely to talk about the psychology of colors. Different colors tend to evoke different emotional reactions in humans. That’s why it’s important to make sure the colors you choose for your logo complement your brand and don’t clash. Let’s take a look at each color and what they mean in design.

 

Color: Red

Red Color Family

The color red is very eye-catching and bold. It often represents energy, excitement and passion.

Often paired with: White and Yellow

Famous Red Logos

Famous Red Logos

 

Color: Pink

Pink Color Family

Like red, pink can also evoke feelings of passion albeit in a subtler way. Pink tends to lend itself more to love and femininity. It tends to be a more youthful and playful color, which is why you often see pink in logos for children’s products.

Often paired with: White

Famous Pink Logos

Famous Pink Logos

 

Color: Orange

Orange Color Family

Orange is a friendly and cheerful color. It often represents confidence, creativity and fun.

Often paired with: White and Black

Famous Logos

Famous Logos

 

Color: Yellow

Yellow Color Family

Just like red, yellow is an eye-catching color that demands attention. It often represents cheer, enthusiasm and positivity. It can also represent caution.

Often paired with: red and black

Famous Yellow Logos

Famous Yellow Logos

 

Color: Green

Green Color Family

Green in design often represents earthy, natural and balance. You often find green in logos for food based and environmental brands.

Often paired with: White and Yellow

Famous Green Logos

Famous Green Logos

 

Color: Blue

Blue Color Family

Blue is a very serene and calm color. It often evokes feelings of trust and dependability. You can often find the color blue in logos for technology and finance companies.

Often paired with: White, Red and Yellow

Famous Blue Logos

Famous Blue Logos

 

Color: Purple

Purple Color Family.png

Purple can convey mystery, royalty and passion and uniqueness.

Often paired with: White, Black, Grey (or Silver) and Yellow

Famous Purple Logos

Famous Purple Logos

 

Color: Brown

Brown Color Palette.png

Brown, like green, also signifies earthy and organic. It’s a a more serious color that can signify stability and integrity. You can often brown in logos for agricultural brands, transportation brands and legal services.

Often paired with: White and Yellow

Famous Brown Logos

Famous Brown Logos

 

Colors: Black and Gray

Black Color Palette.png

Blacks and Grays are elegant and formal. They often

Famous Black Logos

Famous Black Logos

Gray Logos

Gray Logos

 

That’s it! Thank you so much for reading this post about logos. I hope you found it helpful. Let me know if you liked the post in the comments and what you’d like to learn about next!

Easy Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial

Last year I created this picture of a Christmas wreath hanging on a brick wall.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

I’ve lost the original file I used, but I wanted to recreate this - so why not share the steps with you? Here’s how to create this Christmas Wreath image in Photoshop.



Things You’ll Need:

Brick Texture
Tinsel Brush
Red Textures
Brushed Gold Metal Texture

 

Step One:

Open up a new document in Photoshop. I’m just using a default 8.5x11” document, but you can use whatever size you need.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Next, place your brick image on the document and scale it to fit the whole artboard like this.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

In the top menu, hover over the “Filter” option and in the drop-down menu click on “Filter Gallery.” In the menu that pops up, click on the “Artistic” sub-menu and then click on Cutout. Set the Number of Levels to 6, the Edge Simplicity to 1 and the Edge Fidelity to 2. This gives the brick a slight cartoonish look.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creek Creative
 

Step Two:

Create a circle of any color the size you want your wreath to be. I placed my circle about halfway down the artboard and centered it vertically.

Create a new layer above the circle. In the brushes panel click on the brush subset you just downloaded select the “tinsle 1 1” brush and select a size that fits for the wreath size you have. You want it be fairly thick. I chose 138 for my brush size. Next open up the brush panel option and click on Color Dynamics

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative

In the Color Dynamics menu use the following settings:

make sure “Apply per Tip” is checked
Foreground Background Jitter: 4%
Control: Off
Hue Jitter: 5%
Saturation Jitter: 23%
Brightness Jitter: 39%
Purity: 73%

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Close the brush panel and change your foreground and background colors to #2f7543 and #1a5d0d, respectively. This is where you’re going to start forming your wreath. Following the outside of the circle as a guide. Press and hold your brush as you draw a circle on the edge of your circle like this:

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative

Some tips for this step: you might find it easier to create the circle in small sections instead of trying to draw the circle in one long continuous stroke. I also find the color to be better in the final result if I go back and forth with the brush instead of just a forward motion. Once you’re happy with the base of your wreath then you can delete the circle underneath.

Now we want to create a shadow for the wreath so it doesn’t look so flat against the background. Click on the FX button in the bottom right hand corner and choose “Drop Shadow.” Think about where your light source is coming from. I’m imagining that there is a light coming from overhead the wreath so my shadow is going to be going down towards the ground. Here are the settings I used:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Opacity: 100%
Angle: 90%
Use Global Light Checked
Distance: 39
Spread: 10
Size: 2
Contour: Linear
Noise: 0

Feel free to play around with the shadow settings until your happy with it. Pay attention to the settings you use, because when we add the ornaments in, you’ll need to know what you used before. Now for the next step.

Step Three:

Now we’re going to add in some lights to the wreath. Create a new layer above your base wreath layer. Make your foreground color white and select a small round brush with medium hardness. I chose a brush that was 37 px and with a hardness of 61%. Click the brush all around the wreath however you want your lights to be placed. Here’s what mine looks like:

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

When you’re happy with the placement of your lights, then click on the FX button again and go to blending options. We’re going to make these lights glow! Click on outer glow and use the following settings:

Blend Mode: Screen
Opacity: 82%
Noise: 0%
Color: #ebf49d
Technique: Softer
Spread: 0
Size: 27
Contour: Half Round
Range: 50
Jitter: 0%

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

You may have to play around with this to get it to look right. The overall effect we’re going for is a soft glow around the the dots of light with the center slightly more focused. Here’s what mine looks like up close.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Step Four:

Now we’re going to add the ornaments. I’m going to do red ornaments, but you can choose different colors if you want. You’ll just need to find matching textures in the colors you want to use.

Create a new layer above the lights layer. Click on the circle shape tool and make the color #da1111. Now create a small circle on your wreath the size of an ornament.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

The next thing we want to do is make the ornament look more three dimensional. When I created this last year I just did plain red ornaments, but I think this time I want to make them glittery. So in the red textures folder from Brusheezy (link at beginning of post) open up the red glitter image (right click in folder - open with Photoshop). With the image open, click on “Edit” in the top menu and then “Define Pattern.” Change the name to red glitter and then hit “Ok.”

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Go back to your main document and click on the FX button again to create a new layer style.

Under Bevel & Emboss use the following settings:

Style: Emboss
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 10%
Direction: Up
Size: 57%
Soften: 1%
Angle: 90
Use Global Light checked
Altitude: 30
Gloss Contour: Rolling Slope - Descending
Highlight Mode: Screen (White) - 50%
Shadow Mode: Multiply (Black) - 50%


Under Pattern Overlay use the following settings:

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100
Pattern: Choose the red glitter pattern we made a few minutes ago
Scale: 23%
Link with Layer Checked


Under Drop Shadow use the following settings:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Opacity: 47%
Angle: 90%
Use Global Light Checked
Distance: 12
Spread: 9
Size: 10
Contour: Linear
Noise: 0%


Save the settings and see what your ornament looks like. Here’s what mine looks like:

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative

Copy your ornament as many times as you need and place them all over your wreath.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Now our wreath is really shaping up but there’s a few details we need to add. Right now the ornaments looks like they’re free floating above the wreath. We want to make it look like they are a part of it. Create a layer above the ornaments and then select the tinsel brush we used earlier with the same settings. The only change we’re going to make is the size. I put my brush size at 111, less than a half of what the original brush size is. We’re going to take the brush and run it along the bottom of the ornament so that it looks like the ornament is now nestled safely in the wreath like this.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Do this for all of your ornaments. Click your brush once or twice over some of the lights to make them appear farther back in the wreath than some of the other lights.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative

Now our wreath is finished! There’s only one more thing to do, and that is to add a wreath hook.


Step Five:

Create a new layer above the brick background and below the wreath layer. Select the rectangle tool and with a light yellow color selected, create a long think rectangle from the top of the wreath to the top of the art board like this:

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Open the Gold Brushed Metal texture and create a pattern following the same steps as before. Add the pattern as an overlay as in the FX menu. Scale the pattern to your satisfaction. Now click on Bevel and Emboss and use the following settings.

Style: Emboss
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 199%
Direction: Up
Size: 29
Soften: 2
Leave the rest of the settings the same.

Close the FX panel.


We now have our finished piece!


Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Now that you’ve learned the basics of creating this piece you can play around with different background scenes. Here’s another way I used this last year:

Christmas Fireplace Design | Mill Creek Creative

Thanks for following along! I can’t wait to see what you’ll create.



3 Easy Tips for Building Your Instagram Audience

Check out these easy tips for building up your Instagram account.  

 

Happy Monday everyone! It's a bit gloomy here in Nashville and it's supposed to storm throughout the day. That means you might be inside a bit more than usual so I wanted to give you some easy tips to start building your Instagram account. These are tips to start employing immediately. 

 

Tip #1 - Come up with a schedule and be consistent

Everyone collectively groaned when Instagram's new algorithmic timeline took over for the chronological timeline in 2016. Personally, I think it's made it harder than ever for your posts to get noticed by your audience. In March 2018, Instagram announced that it would be playing around with reintroducing chronological posts, but we don't yet know when these changes will take place. So what can we do in the mean time to help get our posts seen? 

The simplest thing you can do right now is to come up with a schedule of posts. Take a look at each day of the week and think of post ideas that are specific to each day. So for my Instagram account (follow me!) I came up with the following schedule: 

Mondays - #MemeMonday. I post marketing and design related memes. 

Tuesdays - Follower Questions. Tuesdays are when I ask my followers different types of questions to start a conversation. I don't necessarily ask marketing questions - but just different types of icebreaker questions like "You come across a magic lamp. What are your three wishes?"

Wednesdays - #WeirdWednesday. I've always had a fascination with the strange and unbelievable. So on Wednesdays I share strange but true facts. This day is about bringing in a personal interest outside of my business niche. 

Thursdays - Product Showcase. On Thursdays I like to showcase products I have for sale in my online shops. You don't want to barrage your customers with sales posts all week long, so that's why I like to pick one day of the week. Of course, if your main focus is online selling, you can absolutely showcase your products throughout the week, however it's best not to make every posts a sales pitch. Try showcasing customers using your products instead of just a straight product photo and details. 

Friday - Design Inspiration. On Fridays, I like to find different themed designs and showcase them on my Instagram page. It's a cool way to offer props to other people in your field and let people know about things that inspire you. 

Saturday - Misc. On Saturdays, I sometimes do a follow back spree, however I tend to let this just be a day where I can post any type of content. 

Sunday - Motivational Quotes. I like to find quotes that I find inspiring and put them in a graphic form that I can share on my page. I often add advice or insight about the quote based on my own life experiences. It can be a great way to motivate people and for them to get to know more about you based on what you write with the quote. 

 

So that's my basic schedule for posting on Instagram. I'm not afraid to add in extra posts though when I have some new content to share. As long as you have the basic framework, you can always play around with it. The most important thing about this schedule though is that you need to be consistent with your posting. I always try to do at least two posts per day with a max of three.  With two posts a day day you're being active with out being "over-active" so to speak. 

 

Tip #2 - Interaction is Key

Another way to get on people's radars is to make sure you're interacting frequently. Take a look at some of your most used hashtags. For me, since my business is local, I try to find/use hashtags based on my location. So for this example I'm going to use the hashtag #nashvilletn. What you need to do every day is click on the hashtag and like AND comment on all of the Top Posts (there should be 9) and - if you have the time - some of the recent posts. Do this for 3-5 hashtags every single day. The more you show up, the more people are going to notice. 

 

Tip #3 - Brand Your Content

When posting original content on your account, you always want to make sure that your brand name/logo/etc is visible on the images. Some people don't always credit original sources when sharing accounts so it's important for people to have a way to identify the original poster. Canva is a great online design tool that can help you come up with an general image template that works for you. For example, when I share some of my original content, I use Canva to make the graphic content look consistent and have my account name on the image. Examples below: 

Copy of Quote (1).png
Pillow Mockup.jpg

 

There you go! I hope you found these tips useful. What are some tips you have for building an audience on Instagram?

Nose Goes: Take a Whiff of Scent Marketing

There are all types of marketing techniques out there ranging from the traditional to the experimental.  One of the more interesting and experimental marketing techniques is using scents to sells products.  However you can use it for more than that, but I’ll get into that in just a bit.  First off, let’s talk about scent marketing in general.

Scent marketing is not a new concept.  It’s been around, well, a very long time.  We just don’t often realize it’s happening.

Examples:

You’re walking down a street in your town, and you’re a little hungry.  That’s when you pass a restaurant.  You’re not that hungry so you just walk by, but all of a sudden it hits you.  That delectable aroma of some sort of culinary concoction wafting in the air around you.  Then you think, hmm, maybe I am hungrier than I thought; so you decide to go in and eat.  Restaurants have it easy.  They have a built in scent marketing campaign going year round.  But what about businesses that don’t have that built-in scent marketing?

Think about buying a house using a Realtor.  The job of the Realtor is to make potential buyers see themselves living in the home they’re selling.  So they clean it up real nice, and when you walk through the kitchen you smell the wonderful, nostalgic smell of sugar cookies baking.  Some Realtors will run lemon halves through the garbage disposal and some heat up a glass of beer (very carefully) in the oven to imitate the smell of baking bread. There are all kinds of scents used to make you feel more relaxed and at home.  

Why does scent marketing work?

Nostalgia.  As a child growing up, you make memories that get triggered by something later on as an adult.  So when you smell, say, sugar cookies baking, you might think about all the times you were at your grandparents’ house and smelled the cookies your sweet old grandmother was baking cookies especially for you.  That’s the kind of nostalgia scent marketers love to prey on (and yes, there are marketers and entire companies devoted solely to scent marketing).  

Scents are used in different ways for different effects. These way/effects include:

  • Ambient scents: Usually ambient scents are used in the absence of any scent or to cover up a less desirable odor.
  • Aroma billboards:  It’s big and bold.  These are the types of scents that real estate agents use.
  • Signatures scents:  These are scents specifically manufactured for companies.  When you smell these scents you immediately connect it with that company.  Examples include scents used by stores like Hollister and a lot of high end retail stores.
  • Thematic scents:  These are ones meant to complement the decor of a store.  It tends to be more subtle, like smelling cinnamon around Christmas decorations or vanilla around cook wares. 

Are there times when scent marketing doesn’t work?

Absolutely!  Scent marketing can backfire for a couple reasons:

  • Allergies:  Some people may be allergic to the scent that your using.  If they can’t walk around your store without having an allergic reaction, well, they aren’t likely to buy something when they can’t breathe. 
  • Too strong:  I mentioned earlier on in the post that Hollister uses signature scents.  And, boy, do they use it.  Personally, I can’t walk within 10 feet of a Hollister store without my head starting to hurt from that cologne smog.  In one of my college marketing classes, we were discussing scent marketing and one of my classmates used to work there.  She told us that part of her job was having to spray their cologne/perfume on the mannequins and around the store every half hour. EVERY HALF HOUR.   It obviously doesn’t bother everyone because the store is still pretty successful, but it does deter some people from shopping there.

 

“Alright, guys, I’m ready to go shop at Hollister!” Image source: shutterstock

“Alright, guys, I’m ready to go shop at Hollister!” Image source: shutterstock

 

Scent marketing doesn’t always work, and it isn’t always appropriate for every kind of brick and mortar business (a business with a physical location), but when done well, it can really add to the shopping experience.

So what scents are popular?

There are a lot scents people use, but some of the big ones are cinnamon (especially around Christmas), lavender and vanilla (they have a calming effect), and citrus scents (gives off a fresh feeling) to name a few.  

So, I could use scents in my store, but what else can I use them for?

Scent marketing doesn’t just apply to store fronts alone.  One of my favorite things to do is to make scented business cards (again, this doesn’t apply to everyone).  For example, say you sell coffee for a living, you could make your business cards smell like coffee.  Or say you sell fruits; you could make your business cards smell like lemons or oranges.  The possibilities are endless.  But if you decided you want to do a scented business card make sure it makes sense with your business type (like the ones I mentioned above).  

How do you make scented business cards?  Good question.  Put your business cards in a ziploc container.  Buy an essential oil in the flavor/scent you want, and put the cap (filled with the oil) into the container with the cards.  Make sure the cards don’t touch the actual oil though.  Seal it tightly and leave it for several days.  Open it up and voila!  You now have scented business cards.  (Side note:  the scent will work better with non glossy business cards, but you can try it with glossy cards too and see if it works for you.)

So do you use scent marketing?  What scent do you use?  Let me know in the comments.  I hope you enjoyed this post, and be sure to share it and subscribe!