Logos have been around for centuries. They are everywhere but most of the time we as consumers go about our lives not really noticing them unless we have experienced the brand before or until we are looking for a solution that a brand provides.
This article is not about the history behind logos but more about the importance and role they play in building the credibility of your brand and awareness for your business. Before we get into what makes a remarkable logo, let’s set the context between “What it a Brand, What is a logo, What is Branding”; simply because these terms are used interchangeably whereas they don’t mean the same thing.
What is a logo?
A logo is an easily recognizable symbol that symbolizes a business, product or service offering. It consists of text (typography and tagline), an image and colours, that are used to identify or differentiate a business. It is an integral part of a brand’s identity as it not only distinguishes a brand from its competitors but also contributes towards fostering brand loyalty. It is through a logo that customers create their first impression of your brand.
What is a brand?
A brand, at an emotional level, is the sum total of all customer experiences with a business, its products and services. At a practical level, it is the perceived corporate image of a company as a whole (including its Vision, Mission, Values, Strategy, Brand Story, Visual Identity, Market Position, Tone of Voice etc. that are all wrapped together).
What is branding?
Branding is the strategic design and implementation by a business, towards creating and building a brand. It is through branding that businesses differentiate themselves in the eyes and hearts of their customers, and give customers a reason to choose their product or service over the competition. A logo is part of a business’s branding.
What does a logo do for your business and your brand?
People are predominantly visual in nature and therefore logos give businesses the opportunity for people to recognize the brand and differentiate the business from competitors. Brand logos are the first impression for new customers. They communicate a business’s personality, create recognition, boost loyalty and also contribute towards building trust. A product or service from a trusted brand naturally extends that trust to other solutions that the brand offers, and towards repeat purchases. It connotes a promise and guarantee that the purchased product or service will live up to the quality standards, and delivery to the promises made.
The 7 types of logos
Emblem logo designs are considered the oldest types as they were uses in crests, stamps, seals etc. These logo designs tend to give a brand a traditional feel while remaining memorable and professional. The only downside is that sometimes these design styles do not lend well to smaller sizes due to readability issues.
Pictorial marks conjure up strong symbolic meanings as the imagery is reduced to its very core. The downside of these logos is that during the initial years it requires that a Word mark be included with the symbol till such time that people get accustomed and acquainted with your brand… (Unless the name of the brand and the pictorial mark is the same… as in the case of Apple).
Word Marks are arguably the most powerful type of logo design. These logos are void of symbols, graphics, patterns and emblems, and draw their design style with typography. It is through this simplicity that customers instantly make the connection between the logo and the brand. The only downside is if your brand has a long name.
Letter Marks are brand names that have been reduced to an acronym or names that have taken the initials of each of their words in the brand’s name. While this logo design solves the problem of long brand name, its downside is that it is confusing to customers of new brands that have not yet established themselves well enough in the market. A work around would be to also include the full brand’s name below the Letter Mark till such time that customers recognize the brand.
Abstract Logos are images without any text. Usually these types of logos are created with the specific intent of creating a “feeling” that the brand wants to evoke or wants its consumer to have. While these logo designs generate uniqueness, are highly recognizable and usually very versatile, the downside is felt most by new brands that are still making a name for themselves in the market.
Mascot logos are illustrated drawings of both humans and non-humans with the intention of creating a positive and friendly emotion with your customer. Usually Mascot logos are preferred by F&B brands, Service companies and Sports teams. The downside of these logo designs is that the associate emotions with Mascots lacks seriousness.
Combination logos are usually a mix of the previous 6 logo types. Care must be taken when mixing different logo design types, as they can get complex and confusing very quickly.
9 Questions that need to be asked and answered before designing a brands logo:
How does your brand intend to improve the lives of its customers?
What/ How does your brand deliver better in comparison to other similar brands?
What should your customers love about your brand?
Why should your customers care about your company?
What are the core beliefs and values that are tied together with your brand?
What do customers hate about the category and your competition?
If your brand was a person, what kind of person would it be?
Who are your ideal customers?
Who are not your customers?
What makes a successful Logo Design?
There are many elements that when brought together in a cohesive manner, bring to life a Logo design, that is filled with Inspiration. For the purpose of this article we have narrowed them into 5 buckets.
A Logo must be memorable and distinct. Without memorability there is no reason or purpose to have a logo. Logo designs that are memorable and distinct allow customers to not only remember your brand but also differentiate it from the competition.
A logo has to be simple. Humans tend to quickly forget complex or intricate designs. If your audience has to use an enigma decider machine to understand the logo, chances are that they will not buy from your business.
A logo must be versatile, considering the almost innumerable platforms available today and those that will be available in the future. It must work in both Raster (Bitmaps, JPEG, PNG) format as well as Vector (EPS, Illustrator, CorelDraw) format. It must be useable in the smallest size (100px X 100px) and well as on the largest size (100ft X 100ft).
A logo must be audience appropriate to the segment in which the business operates. Choosing fonts or colors that either conflict with the category or trivialise the solution in the minds of the customer is never a good idea. Sure, the logo can go against the grain, but always err on the side of caution.
A logo must be timeless in its design. Relying on “Trends” is a surefire way of having to redesign the logo within 18 - 24 months. If that does not deter from following a trend then consider the possibility of losing any brand traction and equity that your business builds between the two redesigns. Startup businesses that usually prefer online image banks that offer logos are usually victims to logo trends.
Target Audience: While it is important that the logo design encapsulates the core of the business and that you as the business owner or business leader ‘like’ it; it is equally important that the logo design keep in mind the Target Audience of your business within a competitive environment.
This target audience consists of 4 cohorts.
Paying customers: Those that are willing to open their wallet and give you their hard-earned money in return for the product or service your business provides.
Influencers to your paying customers: Those whose opinions have a direct impact on purchase decisions of buyers for the business’s product or service
Supporters of your business: Those whose opinions may not have a direct impact on purchase decision but who may use the business solution or may suggest/ recommend your solution to decision makers or influencers.
Detractors of your business: In is important to state that this cohort is only mentioned to ensure that your logo does not resemble their brand logo or brand identity in any form or fashion. Deep understanding of the competitive environment will ensure that the brand logo is Authentic and Unique.
Personal Preferences, Emotions and Biases: All too often Personal Preference, Emotions and Biases impact our decisions. Knowing when to stop allowing personal judgements from negatively influencing the design process and overall outcome could mean the difference between creating a remarkable brand logo and a mediocre execution. Trust your judgment that you have chosen the right design agency for the right reasons (not because they were the cheapest or that they promised to deliver at the speed of light) and that they have a documented process methodology thereby allowing them to do their job, while giving them all the information they need and the space to do it.
While logo design is a creative and fun process, it should never be initiated or completed in haste or void of due diligence. While it might be tempting to create your brand logo yourself using your own design software, or using an online autogeneration tool, or hiring a freelance designer, all of which are definitely going to cut costs of labor and maybe even time; unless you’re professionally skilled and understand design these approaches could quickly take you down the rabbit hole into the abyss. Knowing what your brand’s core values are, how they will be presented in the real world, how you wish your brand be recognized and remembered, are some of the steps involved in the initial brainstorming idea sessions before actually creating a strategy or designing your business’s brand identity. Working with an agency that has a well-defined methodology and process rigor would be the most beneficial option even though it might be a little more expensive.
Trigger Worldwide is a Brand Marketing Agency, built specifically for businesses to create Sustainable Growth. Our proprietary tools and process methodologies harness Technology, Creativity & Innovation, leverage Economic Drivers and Consumer Beliefs to help businesses overcome marketing inefficiencies and achieve their Growth Agendas.
“CREATE AN INSPIRED FUTURE FOR YOUR BUSINESS”
~ Trigger Worldwide