Think about Hallmark. When you buy a Hallmark card, every one of them
has the name of the company. But more importantly, the way the name
*looks* is exactly specific. The font, shape of the letters, size
relationships, and so forth. In other words, look at the word
"Hallmark" as a graphic image. That`s their logo.
You can see the same with Coca-Cola, IBM, Target, Nabisco, FedEx, and
every other logo. That`s your "mark"---the picture that represents how
you`re going out there and plying your "trade." It`s for people who
can`t read, or for people in cars whizzing by on the freeway, when
letters are too hard to read.
When you come up with this logo, that will be a central gathering point
for all that you do with your company. Each card you sell will have
that mark, as will each box of stationary, calendars, or whatever else.
The cards themselves will have their picture design on the front, and
whatever inside messages. But on the back, you`ll have your trademark.
If you personally create the designs and artwork for a particular card,
then you can protect your "right" to own it and prevent anyone from
making a "copy" of that design without your permission. That`s your
"copy-right" or "copyright." Each unique design can be copyrighted.
That trademark is a legal process, meaning nobody else can have a name
that looks like "Hallmark." If their name is too similar, like
"Hillmark," and the shape of the letters is too close, then Hallmark
can sue them and have them remove their mark from the business world.
Your question is whether or not you should build your mark, then start
your business. Or; should you build your business, and assign it a mark
that makes sense. It depends on your overall strategy, how many ideas
for designs you already have in place, and how organized is your idea
for the business.
You don`t need a license to start a business like this, as far as I
know, but you should consult with an attorney to make absolutely sure.
Particularly in your geographic area, in terms of local ordinances.
There are advantages to having a business ID number, but far more
important is that you have a *product* you`re trying to sell, and a way
to track each sale and customer.