Your logo is your company's representative. Does yours represent you well? Or is it like a slipshod employee–sloppy, garrulous, a little dense?

You may not believe that a logo, that device your operation has used unthinkingly for decades, can pack such a punch. It can. Don't look now, but yours may be communicating things you don't want it to reveal.

In today's crowded visual marketplace, where a logo has to deliver its message amid the graphic cacophony of many other voices, LBM dealers should take a moment to consider whether their logos are doing the best possible job for them or just adding to the noise.

"The logo is absolutely vital," says Scott Casper, marketing director for Builders. in Kearney, Neb. "It's your identity! I think it's important for an independent to look as polished and 'national' as often as we can."

Builders., formerly known as Builders Warehouse, redesigned its logo four years ago. Company surveys "found that a vast majority of customers referred to us simply as 'Builders.' Plus, some customers felt discomfort with the "Warehouse" terminology, "that it had a bad connotation," Casper says.

The old version of the logo was a square red box–"very Home Depot-y," he says. The new logo showcases the company name with a period at the end in a simple, weighty font. The only touches of red of are in the lines that form the peak of a roof over the "u" and "i" in Builders. and the Do it Best text below the name.

Casper says the company loves the redesign, which was done by SCORR Marketing in Kearney. "We think it's instantly recognizable, it lays out well, and it's attractive," he says.

A strong, simple design like the Builders. logo exudes clarity and strength, according to graphic designer Jack Gernsheimer, who is co-founder and creative director of Partners Design in Bernville, Pa. That's just what Erie Materials was going for when the dealer had its logo redesigned 10 years ago.

The new logo, with a simple but substantial building's roofline sheltering the first word of the company's name, uses one color and one uncomplicated font to spell out Erie Materials, Building Product Solutions.

Explains company president Chris Neumann: "We realized we needed to brand ourselves better than we had. As our industry continued to consolidate from the manufacturing side, there were fewer product options for us and our customers. In many cases, we were selling the same exact product, which often left price the determining factor. We wanted Erie Materials to become a brand in itself and be the deciding factor for our customers when choosing who to buy from. The first step in this process was to create a more professional and consistent image."

Find a Pro Neumann used a design professional. "I don't believe we could have done this without the outside help," he says. "We probably considered 10 to15 different concepts, and even worked with one for several meetings, until we all decided it wasn't us.