These days brand identity plays a more critical role than ever before. Of course, one of the most important factors in building and maintaining a strong brand identity is a logo that stands out and that people will remember.
Developing an effective logo to represent your company goes far beyond simply putting together a few flashy graphics and choosing a font you like. There are some serious psychographics at play when it comes to developing a logo that has staying power, as well as the versatility to be represented consistently in different forms of media.
If you are a startup or a small company developing your brand for the first time, or an established business embracing a redesign in hopes of garnering more marketing share, the following article can help guide you better understand the logo design process.
Why A Logo Is Important
You’ve probably heard the saying “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” In a lot of these cases, the “First Impression” you make on potential new customers is your logo. It’s often the first thing that they see before deciding to engage with your content.
Of course, logos appear in other places than just on your website’s home page or the snippet on a search engine. Your logo will be festooned on packages they receive, printed in industry trade publications, showing up on letterheads and customer invoices. Not to mention printing it on a sea of promotional products including pens, post-it notes, coffee mugs, and employee uniforms.
With so much prevalence, you need your logo to stand out and be memorable.
Your Logo Helps Define Your Brand Identity
Brand identity is a key component of an effective marketing strategy. When people see your logo, you want it to instantly connect with your product line or the types of services you offer. In this way, it is essentially an extension of your brand’s personality. Once you’ve developed a clear idea of what makes you unique and what your brand is all about, it will be much easier for you to make design choices that complement and complete that picture.
This includes asking and answering some key internal questions. Such as
- What is the purpose of our business?
- What are our core products and services?
- What are our core beliefs and values in this industry?
- What is our company better at than anyone else?
- What are the top three words that define our company?
Seeking Inspiration For Your Design
The actual design process can be laborious and you will likely go through many versions of logo options before you start to dial in the best one for your business. Most small businesses find that it helps to bring a professional designer on board early in the process. Not only does it help them stay informed on your expectations, but their experience can help you better understand the graphical strengths of one logo design element over another.
Different companies find visual information from different places. For some, this might be taking the top three words associated with your company and finding graphical representations for them. It might mean translating the core values into a mission statement that is printed in tandem with the logo.
Getting everyone involved and seeking their input helps you cast a broad net to bring fresh ideas to the foreground. This might include asking people to bring in their own sketches or perhaps visiting competitor websites to see if you can borrow inspiration from their graphics or come up with your own graphic ideas that contrast theirs.
Visual people often find that a “Mood Board” helps with the logo design process. This is a corkboard or magnet board that holds a collection of images, sketches and logo concept ideas. You can move them around, find ways to perhaps group popular or similar elements. This might be other logos, color combinations, illustrations, or graphics. This is sort of a free-for-all brainstorming tool.
Ultimately, the mood board will reflect what style and design features you are gravitating towards in no time.
Look At The Closest Competitors
Right off the bat, checking out the local competition can be a double-edged sword. They’ve most likely been doing it as long or probably longer than you have. Chances are, they have some good inspirational ideas to help get your creative juices flowing.
Just temper yourself against using their ideas. Not only could you run into very real problems with copyright infringement, but you also risk developing a logo that is too close to theirs to the point where it confuses your brand identity. More than one company has “Borrowed” inspiration from one competitor to the point that people simply thought they were a subsidiary brand.
Develop Style Sheets
Your style sheet is part of your brand identity. This includes things like the type of font that appears in your logo, the font used in your taglines and mission statement as well as the typeface used on your invoices or other corporate correspondence.
Here consistency is key. If you were to use Times New Roman in your logo, but then your tag line is always printed in Helvetica, it could send a confusing brand image message. It also makes you look inconsistent or in some cases unprofessional.
Choosing Colors & Color Schemes
Color carries a lot of meaning, helps establish your visual identity, and can even mean different things in different cultures. To put it plainly, the psychology of color is complex. Though certain colors have certain emotions associated with them. You could go in-depth on color for days and days to the point of thinking yourself in circles. Though the following are some general emotions and concepts associated with popular colors.
Red is often associated with passion, romance, and sometimes anger or even excitement. Many people also associate the color red with meat and certain savory foods.
Orange is considered to be energetic and emotional like red, though it isn’t used as much as red is. Though it doesn’t have as strong of an association with food.
Yellow is often considered to be friendly and accessible. It is thought to give off cheerful, youthful energy.
Green is a versatile color that can work in a lot of industries. Though in recent years it has become more closely associated with ecologically-minded companies or those that have some type of connection to nature.
Blue is often perceived as an intellectual color and demonstrates an air of maturity. It is also a common color used with water-related products.
Purple can sometimes be perceived as mysterious, eclectic, or feminine.
Pink is most often connected with the feminine and is a prime choice for women’s products and fashion.
Brown tends to be closely associated with rugged outdoor things or masculine vintage logos.
Black is a minimalist, functional color that can be used in a logo or to help a tagline or companion text stand out from the graphics.
White has the perception of being clean, modern, and minimalistic. It also adds a clean, youthful, and economical touch.
Gray has a mature, classic, and serious look. It can range from Darker shades that seem more mysterious to lighter shades that are more accessible.
Develop Different Logos For Different Media & Sizes
When you are working with the colorful graphics-rich digital environment of the internet and social media, it can be tempting to develop a flashy logo that looks good on screen. Though you need to also ask yourself, how would it look on paper? How would it look if it was reduced in size to be printed on a pen, in one color that you would hand out to customers?
Test Your Logos
Once you have two or three strong versions that you like you should consider testing them. This can be through things like sponsored focus groups or internet survey sites. This lets you put a potential logo or color variations of the same logo in front of a large volume of people. Their responses can help give you the feedback you need to ultimately choose one logo version or color scheme over another.