Why have a logo?
A logo is an identification device that can often serve your business better than the name of your business can. While your name may not be correctly pronounced or understood by other cultures, your logo acts as an international symbol that is understood by all.
Companies that expand outside their host country, where the language may be different, have a heightened need for a recognizable, distinguished logo. For example, McDonalds is a corporation that operates restaurants worldwide, and is synonymous with its golden arches. In some countries, like Japan, the name is pronounced entirely different but the message behind its golden arches are internationally understood. The arches themselves make people aware that just around the corner, or down the street, there are delicious McDonald’s products. This type of brand messaging is what every company should strive for.
Your customers should feel that they have found a solution to their needs merely upon seeing your company logo. It is an extension of your brand name.
4 elements to consider when deciding on your business logo
Establish a Unique Logo Image
Before you adopt a logo you should research other products and brands in your market to ensure you are not using same or similar marks. This will reduce the chances of your customers confusing your product with another company. You want to differentiate yourself from your competitors as much as possible. The logo should not only be original, but should be simple enough that your audience can recreate it in their minds with ease. It should serve as a stamp in their memory. Upon someone catching a split-second glimpse of your logo, you’d like for them to automatically recognize it or even search for it. Take for example the Pepsi logo, a split blue and red circle using a small wave. Being made of only three pieces, the logo is very simple and very memorable. This image can be easily resized to fit any canvas, billboard or label.
Different styles of lettering could also add strength to your name, or potentially detract from it. Through the use of a thick font it can be communicated that your company is more adventurous and bold. Starbucks uses a thick, uppercase font, which supports its bold, awakening coffee drinks. On the other hand, using thinner brand lettering conveys more sensitive and gentle feelings. Flickr uses lowercase and not so bold lettering, which maintains the elegance and delicacy most of us often associate with photography. Achieving the correct usage of these attributes is what logo experts specialize in.
Understand the Colors of Your Logo
Choosing the colors of your logo is just as important as the logo design itself. Colors have indirect relation to mood, personality and strength.
Every color has a different reaction to the brain. For example, when most people see the color pink, they attribute it to objects and ideas that are soft, fragile, innocent, and feminine. This is not an innate attribution, as through time we have developed these associations to colors after applying them to many common themes. As another example, take the color black. This color gives a personal feeling of boldness, resilience and mystery. Every color within the rainbow, or even the Crayola box, has an underlying meaning that has gone through decades of establishment. Even further, different cultures identify colors to different things, which makes the job even more difficult for the logo designer seeking to appeal to a worldwide audience.
Create Visual Recall
The Nike logo has become a synonym for the word “Nike.” You look at the unmistakable swoosh symbol and instantly your mind recalls the Nike company and what it offers. The logo is more than a compliment or companion of its name, it is an identifier of its name. Because of its world recognition, the symbol is often used as a substitute for the Nike word.
Many other companies can be recalled this way as well. We recall Facebook by seeing the uniquely styled “F” inside a blue square and think of Twitter when we see the recognizable little blue bird. The Starbucks symbol has also become synonymous for its title. Starbucks packaging and products altogether leave out their name, simply using their logo so we have to recall their company name instead of reading it. Using this technique helps to further ingrain their company in our minds. It forces us to summon their name.
This kind of natural recallability obviously takes a lot of effort and time but starting early with a simple and recognizable logo is a start in that direction. Getting too complex with your logo can harm its recognition. Decide on something simple and memorable, then stick with it. Unless it is decided later that your company logo is genuinely bad and antique, avoid changing the image you kicked off with. Many companies change their logos, but these changes are often slight tweaks or modifications that still adhere to the roots of their original image. Their recallability is not changed, only modernized and refreshed. Microsoft has changed its logo several times since it was founded in 1975 but every logo since its inception has clearly upheld its original “windows” symbol.
Study and Understand What Works
By researching your competitors and other successful companies you can begin to develop an astute understanding of logo usage. Here area few questions to ask yourself during your research:
- Where is the logo being used?
- In what areas is only the logo being used and not the name?
- How simplistic and memorable is the logo?
- What colors are being used and why?
- Does the logo have a history of changes?
The more you gain from your research the better your decision ability will be when it comes to deciding on your logo. Many companies rush through the naming and logo process, which causes expensive headaches later on. Do yourself a favor and research what works and understand why. You can use this knowledge to apply it to your company logo so you are on the right track right away.