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SkinnyPop's Pam Netzky on Selecting a Logo

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    NEWSLETTERS

    When you think of popcorn and Chicago, your mind might flit to Garrett's, the local hustlers of giant tubs of cheesy, sugary, and generally decadent popcorn.

    But if you want a more, well, health-conscious alternative, the relatively recently formed SkinnyPop Popcorn is the company to turn to. Since 2012, SkinnyPop has been selling a low-calorie, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, etc.-free option for those a little more concerned with their life expectancy while enjoying a tasty salty treat.

    I gave President and Co-Founder Pam Netzky a call to find out what went into selecting a logo for her new endeavor and how other entrepreneurs can benefit from her journey. If you want to hear more from Netzky, she'll be speaking at the Metropolitan Capital Bank on March 13 from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. about how she started her business.

    Oh, and if you want some more information on how to find a firm to design a logo for you, read this interview I did last year.

    What should entrepreneurs keep an eye on when selecting a logo? How do you embody your brand with an image?

    Pam Netzky: I think that it has a lot to do with the graphic designer. When we selected our logo it was a lot of creative talk, creative banter. It didn't just come. It definitely took some time and a lot of iterations. I think when you see the one, you know what it is. I remember when we were going through them, our graphic designer presented us with a handful and we selected one and pretty much changed everything about it. [Laughs.] But it was that base. Our logo started getting from life and legs from there. Just don't stop until it's perfect and it's what you want.

    That evolution you mention, how long did it take to go from the initial iteration to the final one?

    Pam Netzky: For us it was more like weeks, not days. We were crazy motivated and we were really excited and we wanted to hurry, but I don't have any tools like that to be capable of creating artwork like that. You can hope that you have someone who is respectful of time and has the time and effort and energy to devote to you, but you also can't say to the creative person: "Go create. Do it in an hour." Everyone has their process of going through the steps, and especially with creativity it doesn't always come immediately.

    I'd have to think, too, that designers also have a different vocabulary when it comes to executing different ideas. Is there any advice that comes to mind in navigating that?

    Pam Netzky: I feel like there's a lot of progress to be made in person. We would have creative meetings with our designer. A lot of it has to be done emailing back and forth with technology, but there's a lot to be said for face-to-face meetings and sitting around a table together and bantering thoughts and ideas. Just make sure you're having the right meetings. Working with people locally, aside from supporting the local, is important because you can be a lot more productive when you are face to face.

    Should people use type at all or just a symbol? In your case you did your both, so I'm a little curious why you made that decision.

    Pam Netzky: For me it's a combination. I've been involved in businesses where the type becomes the logo. It depends on what is you're selling and what the business is. If you're a firm, not necessarily a company, but just more service-driven, it's not necessarily a tangible item, I think you can do very interesting things with font and text. If it's a tangible product, you're going to certainly have more than just text involved in your logo is my guess. You might want to because you're going to want some identifying factors for your brand.

    Where should people go to get their logo made? Someone in-house, one of those ready-made logo generators, or your nephew's art studio?

    Pam Netzky: [Laughs.] I've done all of it in the different businesses I've been involved in. It again goes back to what it is you're talking about. We needed some specific things in regard to packaging that needed more than my cousin's son [could do]. We needed the experience, expertise, and motivation to actually research things that you don't know about. Just because someone has experience in it doesn't mean they're not capable of doing it, but you have to make sure you're trusting the right person who's taking the right steps to do what they need to do. I think that it's a lot of interviewing. Everything that I do I make sure I talk to several people. Not to say that I don't hire the first person I interview, but I don't decide after talking to the first person. I always talk to several. Generally speaking, if you get a nice survey of three to five people for a job, you tend to know who you really want to go with and trust.

    Having gone through that journey so many times, how has that changed the way you view logos now?

    Pam Netzky: It's interesting because the logo, at some point, when you start a company you feel like it's the most important thing. But you sometimes kid yourself because you haven't even created what it is the logo is representing. Maybe you're focusing too much on the logo and not enough on what the company is going to be. But funny enough, assuming you're successful, your logo is going to mean a lot because you're going to have to live with it for a long time. Trust your gut and every part of building a business is important.

    David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a columnist for EGM. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.