We live in a visual age. In the hustle and bustle of the hundreds and thousands of promotional messages we receive daily, how is it possible to create a unique and recognizable company persona that customers, patients or clients can latch on to, one single marketing identity so that they may instantly recognize messages from your business?
There is one marketing element that can achieve instant recognition: your logo.
Without a logo clearly imprinted on all your business promotion and publications, how does your customer know that it is your communication? That he should read your message or pay attention?
Further, what is a good logo composed of? What makes a logo recognizable or unique enough to achieve instant recognition for your company?
Creating the Right Logo
A logo is composed of different elements that create the final impact: the font, the color and the image. All these thing create — hopefully — an instant visual message that is recognizable by its unique shape, color, font and image. If done correctly the instant visual message is — hopefully — different from other logos in the same market.
When you get your logo right, this visual representation acts as a symbol of your business that helps to build brand awareness and consumer recognition.
Just how necessary is a logo? The answer is easy: it is vital. Can you think of any leading companies without a logo? A good, strong logo is one of the best tools to set your business apart from the crowd, to communicate that your business is professional. And it cannot be overstated how important it is to use your logo to create continuity in your marketing efforts.
While your business may not have millions of customers, you do have a niche or localized market within which your business operates. And within that niche market you want to be recognized and brand your business in order to create repetition and be memorable.
Here are five steadfast rules to logo design.
Rule 1: Keep it Simple.
Think of all the logos you know – the ones that are recognizable instantly. Nike’s swoosh. CocaCola’s CocaCola. McDonald’s golden arches. What do all the logos have in common? They’re simple. They don’t contain too many colors or too much detail or try to tell everything about what their company does or stands for. They’re images that are easy to read and recognize, and they work well on a large or small promotional piece.
Rule 2: KEEP IT SIMPLE. (Yes, we repeated it… It’s that important!)
One of the most common mistakes people make when designing logos is trying to include too much. Logos that contain too much “information” (too much text, too many words, too many different colors, graphic elements with too much detail) don’t translate well to a scaled down version. Your logo needs to work well on everything from banners and T-shirts to business cards. So when you’re evaluating your logo — current or new — think about it in every possible size and format.
Rule 3: Remember Your Audience.
Your logo represents your business, but you need to keep your target audience in mind. A logo with a clown hat, bubbly writing and a circus color scheme wouldn’t work well for a surgery, for example, even if the doctor really likes clowns. A surgeon’s audience (his or her patients) wants someone professional, experienced and accurate, and a surgeon’s logo needs to represent that. However, if the surgery specialized in children the aforementioned, playful choices may, then, make sense.
Because your logo is the graphic representation of your business, company, office or institution, it should represent your business as you’d like your clients and consumers to see it. If you want your image to be fun, you logo should be also. If you want your image to be professional, your logo needs to communicate that. Fonts, colors and graphics all communicate a message and each element should be chosen to communicate your image effectively.
Let’s look at examples of fonts and color that would change the impact of the message. Try to imagine who you think that John Smith is by looking at each of these examples:
Did John Smith become a different person each time you viewed the next example? He sure did in my mind. He started out as a tattoo artist and ended up being buyer for a clothing store!
Rule # 4: Design for Today and Tomorrow.
Logos shouldn’t be changed very often. So, when you’re designing or redesigning a logo, you need to think about how it will age. Don’t choose faddish colors or graphics that won’t work well five or ten or twenty years down the line.
Rule # 5: Use Your Logo on Everything
Your logo should appear wherever your company’s name exists — business cards, invoices, office signage, company newsletters. Don’t neglect a single chance you have to fuel your company’s brand or mission. At the same time the logo should always be the same color, the same font, the same every time it appears.
I Already Have a Logo. Should I Redesign?
A lot of brand recognition is based on your logo, so it isn’t something you want to redesign very often. You should, however, consider a redesign if you answer no to one or more of the questions in our Logo Effectiveness Quiz.
There are many reasons to consider redesigning your logo. The best reason to redesign a logo is to more clearly establish your company’s brand. A logo that poorly or incorrectly establishes a company’s position isn’t doing it any favors. Similarly, a badly designed or very dated logo can communicate lack of professionalism. A total overhaul of your company’s current logo could be the answer.
One thing a lot of clients worry about with total overhaul is loss of brand recognition. It’s true that changing your logo can cause some brand confusion, but a long-term plan can help reduce your risk and, if your logo scores badly on the quiz, the potential benefits of “fixing” your logo may outweigh the problems. The important thing to know is that every piece of marketing and promotion you use needs to bear your NEW logo. Brochures, business cards and other print material as well as shirts, banners, etc. must be updated.
Basically, you want to have your logo — the new one — everywhere. You can even use your new logo as an excuse to promote: send out emails and newsletter announcing the change or even do press releases.
If you have a logo that works well for you but feels dated or has some technical issues, you might consider updating it instead of creating an entirely new image. Technical issues can be redressed with regards to resizing and translating to electronic media by getting proper file types created. And aesthetic problems can be tweaked to bring it into line with what you want to communicate. With a new and updated version, you can give your current logo an updated, clean look that effectively communicates what your business does.
Take our Logo Quiz to find out how your logo measures up.
What makes one logo better than another? This quiz will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your logo against a set of standardized guidelines.