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If you read some of my articles you know that your brand isn’t just your logo, it’s much more than that. It doesn’t mean that your logo isn’t important. On the contrary, your logo is the foundation of your brand. Because it is so important you should be careful when designing it.
I said on the begging in that brand is not a logo and branding is not about the logo. It is true, but it is the first step to create your own brand.
Some may think that in today’s world almost anybody could draw a logo using Photoshop or even Paint. Pick something that looks nice add a company name and voilà – job is done right? Don’t do it! Branding is about strategic thinking and careful planning. That is why your logo should not be random. It doesn’t mean that you have to pay thousands of pounds to a graphic designer, it means however that it should be part of your coherent branding strategy.
Other branding efforts aim to build a positive image of your company. So that people will associate your company with the values that you stand for. The purpose of your logo is different. It builds brand recognition so that customers think of your brand whenever they see your logo.
That is why you should follow certain rules when designing it.
Make it universal
One of the most important things you should keep in mind, while thinking about the design of your company’s logo is that, each potential customer has different taste, experience and knowledge gained through his life depending mostly on from where geographically and culturally they come from. There are two general business models. One of them is the better known local market, so if it is your aim to have your company serve only local clients, you should already have an idea what will be a good and a bad choice for your logo. If you will take for example the second business model and would like to grow your company into a big international chain of shops and services, each with the same logo visible on them, the logo must be – universal.
What is an universal logo you might ask? The best and straightforward answer to this question would be – it’s timeless, simple and it’s doesn’t get affected by any trends (yearly or even sometimes monthly). Best examples are: the well know around the world Coca Cola font used on all cans and bottles since the year 1885 (with a little experiment during 1890-1891, which failed) and National Geographic yellow, vertical, rectangle logo, that represents the yellow border that can be found on each of their magazines and sometimes photos. From more modern examples we can summon: Adidas focus on the number “three” which now consists of stripes, with minimal contrast color and Apple’s “bitten apple” that is also a universal theme understandable in countries all over the world.
Make it fit
Your logo should fit your company. It will be everywhere, on your products, on your website, business cards, or even company’s notepads and pens. You want it to reinforce your brand and carry your message. Take “Nike” for example, their logo is very simple, but it is also dynamic. A perfect match for a company designing sports shoes.
Colours used in your logo are also very important. Together with fitting shape colours in your logo can carry a powerful message and help customers recognise you instantly. Picking the right colour can be tricky, fortunately, I prepared a guide that will help you make the right choice. You can find it here.
Make it simple
Your logo should be simple! Because you want it to be everywhere, it needs to look good no matter if it is on a pen or a lorry. Keeping it simple can help you scale it to different sizes. It also makes it easier for people to remember and that should be your goal.
Remember about symbolism.
The best example for this symbolism issue in a logo design are animal themed logos, like Puma, Mozilla, WWF, Lacoste and Ferrari. Let’s now take a closer look on one of the most known car companies in the world – Ferrari. Their logo consists of a distinctive black horse standing on his rear legs, also called the Ferrari’s “prancing horse”. The owner and creator of the Ferrari car company Enzo Ferrari, deeply impressed by the story of Francesco Baracca, a I World War fighter pilot, decided to use a similar crest as Baracca (that the pilot had painted on his plane) as his own business logo. This was a very personal decision to make for Enzo Ferrari, but also is worth mentioning – he knew that a black standing on his rear legs is regarded in Italy as a well known symbol of luck!
Most of the symbols used today in the biggest companies and organizations are images known wide in Europe and US. Here I wrote some examples of popular symbols and their meaning so you can get the general idea of it what I wrote above:
Bull – magnanimity and valor used by Redbull
Bear – strength, courage and tenacity, used by Russian Federation.
Snake – transformation, immortality and healing, used by various medical facilities and apothecaries.
Square – static, geometric perfection, straightforwardness, used by Facebook.
Triangle – represents mostly fire, used by Google drive and CAT.
Circle – wholeness and original perfection, used by HP and WordPress.
and just short of the most popular colors:
Red: dynamic movement, fire, urgency, used the most by a variety of company’s: CNN, Canon, Netflix
Blue: trust, peace, authority, used by Oral-B, Dell, Skype, Twitter
Green: balance, harmony and positive energy, it can be seen used by: Android, BP and Starbucks.
As you can see even from only few the most popular examples, there is a large variety of possibilities to test and think about. What will your logo symbolize and mean to people from different countries and cultures? What emotion will it bring when they will see it for the first time on some banners over the internet or on billboards in their public space?
So if you already created the dream design for the company logo it will be a very good idea to…
Don’t change it when you don’t have to
Your logo is a ‘face’ of your company, changing it with no reason can make you look unprofessional and make it more difficult for your customers to recognise your brand. You may want to read more about rebranding to understand when is the right moment to change your logo.
Creating your logo remember the chapter about typography and colours. It all makes a huge impact on your business in the future.
I will remind you briefly that colours help people to associate your brand with colours what makes it easier to recognise. It also influences the dynamics of the logo and emotions.
Typography, however, gives a character to your logo and express your brand. It also helps you to tell your story in your logo.
You should also remember to ask your designer to prepare a corporate identity book that describes in details your logo, typography and colours used and gives examples of use and a few variations of your logo positioning, eg horizontal and vertical. It will definitely be a must-have when it comes to printed media and sending your logo to your partners or when you sponsor an event and your logo needs to be printed on banners.
In today’s fast growing economic market each day dozens of new companies appear monthly. Each new company needs to create their new unique logo, so very often designers are looking for inspiration (mostly through Internet). There is a slight chance, that there could occur a situation where someone could just happen to design a very similar logo as yours. It could happen even when they have a different product or service to offer. For most situations it could not even be the intention to do it on purpose, but still – it can happen.
There is a solution to this inconvenient topic and it is very simple – just trademark the logo! Applying for a trademark for your logo and company name isn’t so difficult as it may seem. The protection law in each country is a little bit different, but mostly always you can find all the important information on your countries Patent and Trademark Office website. It’s worth noting that the first ever trademarked logo was Bass red triangle in 1876! If they needed it then, you should consider it at least now.
To sum everything we wrote up, here are 7 good pieces of advice you should follow while creating your logo:
- Remember that brand is not a logo and branding is not about the logo.
- Logo greatly helps with building brand recognition
- Your logo design must fit the company’s character
- Don’t over do your logo, make it simple
- Try to make your logo universal so everybody will understand it
- Use the right symbols in your design
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