our life’s work has lead to this, starting and running your company. It has taken all your passion, expertise, and late nights. And simply, your logo should reflect that. It should be a beacon emanating the quality of your enterprise and the promise of your commitment as a business.
So does it?
Imagine if you will… Johnny and Suzy started a small independent bakery, that specialized in crumpets. They realized there was a niche in the market and that crumpets were in demand. They opened their first boutique store ‘Hot Crumpet’ and worked with a designer to establish a logo. During the process, they talked about their business plan, identified their client base and much more besides, and a brand was formulated to reflect the fun tongue in cheek nature of the name and appeal to their young affluent hipster crumpet eaters, all the while reinforcing the quality homemade nature of the product.
Well the store was a success, and after a couple of years they opened another, a couple of towns away, that was also in need of crumpets. Pretty soon they had a small chain of crumpet bakeries, and all through their expansion, their logo and brand lead the way. And it was able to do this because from the outset it was created with longevity in mind, where it could expand with the company, never holding the organization back. It was designed to function with ease of application on uniforms, the side of the delivery trucks, and the new packaging for distribution nationwide to supermarkets.
At the start, the logo became known because of the crumpets, but as it grew, Johnny and Suzy’s company became known by the logo. It did its job of supporting them at every step of the way, enabling them to focus on the business of making crumpets, and is now inseparable from their crumpet enterprise.
The secret behind their brand’s success is that their logo communicated the right things about their business. It’s all about the communication.
So what should a good logo say about your business?
Here are the four aspects that your logo should cover:
The logo should appear as professional as your business does;
It should connect to YOUR target audience by speaking their language;
It should represent YOUR brand, and give clear indication of company ethos and values;
And it should be memorable.
Your logo should let your audience know that you are professional, that your business is run in a professional manner and that you are taking it seriously. If you do not, how do you expect others to view your enterprise as such?
Thinking of situations when an entrepreneur didn’t find time to work with a designer and just plumbed for a stock art graphic that they found from the internet as their logo, what do you think becomes of the message they are putting out there about their life’s work?
In the same vein, how do you think them hiring an amateur to do their logo, is going to represent their ‘valuable’ enterprise? I can’t count the number of conversation’s I’ve had with business folks who have, they thought, paid good money, for a logo that they now feel stuck with.
A professional logo needs to be presented in a clear way so that people don’t have to guess what you are trying say, and it needs to be original to show both the authenticity and the honesty of your brand.
One story comes to mind (no names). When having a meeting about an upcoming project, I asked about why a particular part of this person’s company’s logo was there. I was told, “it didn’t really mean anything”, but, “that the thinking was that it was like the Nike swoosh”, and yet in the same breath this person admitted that some of their clients had wondered if it was just a smudge in the printing besides the word mark. So, certainly nothing like the Nike swoosh then. Quite apart from the fact that the Nike swoosh is connected with the check mark of achievement that goes back to when we were indoctrinated to its use as kids at school, it is a brand connection of aspiration through sports and sportswear, that is very clever, and through consistent branding has proved very successful. This person’s business, in general, had no discernible connection to the mark on his logo, and it was very apparent that the person who produced his logo, also had no understanding of why the Nike logo works so well, and seemed to trump it up to just a random shape, that just happens to be known as Nike, and thought that would be good enough for his client. And worse for his client and his client’s business, even though the logo may have been unintentionally unprofessional, it still worked AGAINST all the hard work skill and professionalism that the client has put in for years, and not FOR a business, that for all intents and purposes is run incredibly well.
A professional logo needs to be presented in a clear way so that people don’t have to guess what are you trying present, And it needs to be original to show both the authenticity and the honesty of your brand. All these details require not only a good creative mind, but also years of experience to implement them. Things don’t come together randomly, it’s a calculation based on your specific needs, and that of your business.
Know YOUR audience, and know your clientele. Get into their brain and think in their visual language. Your logo should talk to YOUR target audience. If you are selling lunch boxes then you are probably not talking to people who can eat at home, or want to eat in a restaurant. So what are those things that people who carry lunch boxes care about? What makes them use lunch boxes in the first place? What are their interests? Where do they go shopping? In what context will your logo will be shown? What message connects with them to respond positively to your brand and buy your product? All these aspects and more need to be taken into consideration during the creative process of your logo design.
The logo should represent your brand. The question here is: What is your business? Is it a boutique cafe around the corner, a non-profit that provides legal aid to environmental groups, or an online investment bank? It is obvious that these different companies would be looking to project a very different look and feel that corresponds to their particular industry, but it is also much more than that. You need to think, what is your business image beyond the basic industry standards, and what do YOU want it to be? A well-branded logo will tell your future clients, so much more about your company than just what you do, it will also give them an idea of how you do it, what your attitude and business style is, the things you value and the company ethos that you are keen to follow.
Last but not the least, your logo needs to be memorable, and in a good way. Having a full understanding of your competitors and where your market position is will enable you and your designer to help your brand stand out from the crowd. Your company logo will also need to stand the test of functional adaptability, as in time you may need it to have the potential to be vastly effective across multiple platforms such as newspaper ads, poster, website, social, signage, uniforms, transport graphics, and much more besides. And at every exposure, your logo will need to instantly and consistently convey the essence of your company at a glance. And here simplicity is the key to being both versatile and memorable.
It goes without saying, and yet here needs to be strongly reiterated, that your logo should be visually appealing in a way that follows objective design principles, much of what happens when this is not adhered to, we went over in the part about the importance of being professional.
When you think about those companies, with revered, admired and successful brands, and look at their incremental brand logo development through the years, you will notice that they all keep their brand consistent, so that their audience will know right away who and what their logo represents. It enables them to tap into the brand loyalty that they have built up over time. In order to achieve this, your logo should avoid trends AT ALL COSTS and strive to be timeless. No one wants, to be left with a dated logo. A dated logo implies a dated company, and that can be the death knell.
So what DOES your logo say about you and your business? You may have an idea, but at the end of the day, it is your prospective customers that will make that judgment. So what you hope it says and how they view it better be in alignment, projecting credibility through authenticity, otherwise you are undoubtedly looking at lost opportunities and revenue for your business.
Luckily there are plenty of experienced and talented brand and identity designers out there that understand the intricacies of logo design. It pays to do your research, and find a designer or design agency that you feel will be a good fit.
This has been The Long and Short on ‘What your logo says about you’ We hope you have found it to be at least a little informative. For more chat on graphic design topics in the future, be sure to check back in with us here, follow us on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.