A logo design tells a story about your brand.
What story does your logo tell?
A logo speaks for your company, your mission and the values behind your company. What will your answer be if someone asks“what does your logo stand for?”
For example: A well known company could answer two ways about their logo design.
A: We liked the cool, pretty swoosh because it seemed like a neat design.
B: The swoosh design is an abstract representation of the wings of the Goddess Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory.
You can probably guess the company we are referring to there… But let’s take a lesser known company. Perhaps a financial institution that has a large “A” icon with a creative whip added to the design, broken into three different colors. Now, you might look at it and think it’s just a nice recognizable and creative design to the first letter of their company name. However, if someone actually asks for the story behind the brand, the answer would be “The whip of the ‘A’ is the guiding financial road our company works to provide you with. And the three colors represent our main areas of expertise. Dark blue is our overall financial planning umbrella, the lighter blue is the focused financial services for small businesses, and the red is the separate added tax service.”
Now, you might not get asked all of the time for the meaning behind your logo design. However, do you want to be the one with answer A, or answer B?
And…designing a logo is quick and simple, right? Pshaa. Think again. If you’re looking to have a logo that is described by answer A, sure. But if you’re looking for an answer B, then real thought and talent is going to need to be given to your design. The design may still be as clean and simple as an iconic swoosh, but rest assured, a lot of effort went into your strategic design to represent your story.
So what goes into a professional logo design? Here are just a couple of things to consider when considering the concept of your design.
1. Be unique and clever, without over thinking it.
But didn’t you just say to give it a lot of thought? Yes. Give thought to the meaning. But then, let your mind guide you to the simple, clean and descriptive design to communicate that meaning. Remember to be different. Turn things on their sides. Inside out. Backwards. Try less. Try more. Try NOT incorporating the industry into the design. (…what does an ‘Apple’ have to do with computers?) Think more about the story, describe it, clean and simply. Understand the brand and story.
Yes, a professional logo is an image, but it’s more than that: It’s an introduction to the brand. Is the brand emotionally driven, or all about utility and function. Is it contemporary or traditional? Is it quirky and fun or serious and driven? What does the brand aspire to be? More than anything, know what your logo means. Every logo should have it’s story. Take that famous Apple, for instance. The fruit missing the “byte”. Do you know the story behind this incredible brand? Answers are rarely simple… CLICK HERE to read the amazing back story behind the Apple logo from CNN.
2. Color, is key.
I saw a truck a few weeks ago called “Something Design”. It was a very nice pick-up truck with a gorgeous full print application- in green. To this day, I have no idea what the company did. However, each time I saw that truck, I wanted to call them to do the landscaping for my lawn.
Sometimes we want to be original and different and stand out. But, it’s still important to recognize that there are still associations that go along with certain design elements- such as, color. The company behind that truck may have been offering interior design or, (hopefully not) graphic design. But because of their over use of the color green without an added descriptor to associate it with it’s correct industry, I’ll forever wonder what that company really did. (I did find out from my neighbor that he did NOT have landscaping done, but he never shared with me what type design they DID do. It still drives me insane.) And on the other end of the spectrum, we had a landscaping company with a patriotic theme that had NO green in their design. It just didn’t “feel” right. Add a spark of green, and suddenly the logo fit perfectly with every marketing item from that point on.
Color is crazy expressionistic. Bright and bold colors may grab someone’s attention, but could come off a brash and in-your-face. Muted tones communicate sophistication, but if not used right, could leave your logo overlooked. Finding the balance to communicate your message and story is key. Here is a quick rundown of a general color communication:
- Red: energetic, sexy, bold
- Orange: creative, friendly, youthful
- Yellow: sunny, inventive, optimism
- Green: growth, organic, instructional
- Blue: professional, medical, tranquil, trustworthy
- Purple: spiritual, wise, evocative
- Black: credible and powerful
- White: simple, clean, pure
- Pink: fun and flirty
- Brown: rural, historical, steady
3. Keep it simple. Keep it flexible.
We touched on this before, about keeping your professional logo design clean, simple and recognizable. You want your logo to be interesting, but you don’t want your viewer to be agonizing over the design trying to figure it out. Amazon’s logo is one of my favorite samples. You know that familiar yellow arrow that looks like a smile. It’s fun, it’s cute, and it makes the design happy. Right? …It is also a clever representation that Amazon sells everything from A..to Z.
When keeping it flexible, make sure the design works for multiple applications. One layout won’t always work well for every space. Perhaps the main logo design is a taller layout, which works fantastic for vertical business cards, letterhead and the new company embroidered polo shirts. But when the logo is displayed on the new sticky header on your website, it’s too tiny to even read it. So, a horizontal layout option is necessary. -Or perhaps the design works FANTASTIC with all of the great gradients and sheen, but then when you need to put it to a one-color option or on a different color background, the effectiveness of the logo is completely lost. Future reproduction is incredibly important to consider while creating your design, to ensure you’ll have an option for every unforeseen need. A successful professional logo design tries to predict the unpredictable, and solve problems before they happen.
4. Don’t expect instant success.
Even the most famous and iconic logos of today took time to gain popularity. Even as the most amazing logo design with the perfect combination of elements, flexibility and communication, a design won’t become instantly iconic. It is important to be patient. Trust your marketing methods and give your efforts time to get your logo the recognition it deserves. Then, someday down the road, when someone asks you about your company and says “…so what does your logo mean?” you’ll be prepared with a thought-provoking and interesting answer that is sure to impress.
Do you have a professional logo for your company with a great back story? We’d sure love to hear it and any advice you have as other’s begin the wonderful adventure of building their brand! Want to hear some more great stories behind famous logos? CLICK HERE to read a few more stories.