The logo design challenge.

Logos are a bit of an anomaly in the design world. It is a tough challenge to create something that is unique, memorable, long-lasting, and helps to achieve your overall business goals. Here are five things to think about when you’re thinking of designing or redesigning your logo:

1. Telling the story behind your logo design.        

A strong strategy for a great logo, is to tell a story about your business. The origin, the name, the people, the culture, the product, the future; these are all good jumping off points to get a conversation started about what should be encapsulated within the design. Another key point when establishing a foundation around your business name and image, is to always, always, keep your audience in mind. There could easily be a process of 5 – 10 logo concepts created, 10 – 20 rounds of revisions, months of work, and multiple people involved until you have finally grinded down to your final logo. But if your business is to sell motorcycles, and you insisted there should be a bear with a fishing rod somewhere in there; you have just potentially confused and lost half of your future clients.

2. Designing a logo looks easy. It’s Not.           

Having a company backstory and a vision moving forward is a great start to communicating your brand. But now comes to hard part: how do you tie this large message into just one small image or word mark, that will demand immediate recognition and broadcast what you do as a company as a whole? That is why online “logo-generators” or “quick and cheap branding packages” are never going to be as effective as a designer who puts a strategy in place, commits to the company’s unique needs, and strives to produce a logo that could potentially be on a business card, store-front, or corporate high-rise for 50+ years.

3. Being proud of your image.      

Now that your business is booming and you have your brand new logo at the top of that corporate high-rise; and it will continue to be there another 50+ years…do you even like it? I believe it is a must for you to be proud of your image, or it will manifest its way into a negative corruption across your brand, and thus, your business. If you aren’t 100% confident in your designs when handing a business card to a prospective client, they may catch that hint of doubt and hesitation you feel towards your logo and brand. If a client is making a decision on a quote provided on your stale, uninspired letterhead versus a competing business with outstanding branding; you’ve just made that choice much, much, easier for the client.

4. Understanding the science behind logo design.

The next time you are in the grocery store, take a quick scan of the most popular cereals, canned goods, granola bars, etc. You will quickly see that people (knowingly or not) are driven to buy by aesthetic and appeal. The fact that the ingredients on the no-name boxes are identical is irrelevant, the branding is what is selling. This is true across almost any industry you can name that deals in consumer-goods, sales, or advertising of any kind. A good designer will not just look at themselves as designer, but also as part-time psychologist. It is their job to be aware of ongoing trends, be aware of what people are in-to and what is being phased out. The world is full of design: commercials, movies, printed materials, store signs, website ads, fast food wrappers, car-hood logos, real-estate signs, bus benches and so on. Making your brand stand-out while also running parallel with the direction of modern design trends is a science and an art in one.

5. Committing to your brand. Coke or Pepsi?

This idea of running parallel with modern trends also produces an interesting dilemma: should I ever change my logo? We have seen a boom of logo-redesign by major corporations over the last ten years: Pepsi, Yahoo, Wendy’s, Instagram, and many others. This designer’s humble opinion is that this is all a direct result of Apple’s outstanding marketing strategies since 2007 that prompted – no, forced – a lot of other corporations to re-think and re-align their advertising. Apple changed the game and unless you wanted to sit on the bench, you had to adapt to the new rules. Start to make a note of how many ads these days have that simple, clean, white logo-on-a-bright background aesthetic that Apple made popular. Very quickly you will have a long list of organizations.

So why does a company like Pepsi change their logo and branding, while Coca-Cola essentially has not changed their branding since the 1940’s?

This loops back around to Point #1 – Establishing a Story. Pepsi has committed themselves to being a young, fresh, cool alternative to Coca-Cola, while Coke chooses to play on the tradition, the history, the nostalgia, the classic-ness of their product. So, Pepsi makes the decision to update their branding as certain trends take over the marketplace in an effort to remain young and keep consistent with their established story of being cool and modern. And the exact same statement can be said for Coca-Cola, with the exception that they choose to not update their branding for these reasons. Both strategies are effective in different ways for different audiences. Which one are you?: a Pepsi person or a Coke person? Maybe now you’ll have a little more insight as to why!

A new logo for your organization.

Are you a CEO thinking of re-branding your company? Are you starting a business and need to strategize about your image and audience? Which of the five thoughts on logo design did you find helpful and insightful? Let us know!

William Taylor is available for web and design projects across Canada, USA. Please contact Boardroom Metrics: 1.416.994.6552 or by email: [email protected]