How important is a logo? At The NetMen Corp, we’ve designed hundreds of logos over the years for a wide range of companies. During that time, we’ve seen logos become iconic, recognizable brand marks that provide a mental shortcut for customers to associate brand attributes with an image.
Your logo is one of the most recognizable brand elements for your business. Many people skimp when it comes to logo design. They turn to stock photography or try to “wing it” and make their logos.
B2B buyers consider the brand image a central, rather than a peripheral, part of their decision-making process. Research from Sloan MIT indicates that an iconic logo has more impact on a customer’s buying power than a plain text treatment. Think of the Ralph Lauren Polo pony, the Izod gator, the leaping deer on a John Deere tractor. Color also has an impact on brand recognition: Coco-Cola red, IBM corporate blue, the iconic powder blue Tiffany’s jewelry box.
Let’s walk through the reasons why a logo is important, and then talk about what separates a good logo from a poor one. Lastly, we’ll look at logo design tips so when you choose to work with designers at The NetMen Corp, you’ll be able to share your thoughts with us as we design your perfect logo.
What Makes a Logo Great?
The first logos were used by Roman legions who emblazoned their shields with symbols and letters to indicate which legion they belonged to. Holding your logos aloft symbolized the pride you felt and the alignment of values with your legion. Later on, logos were used in pre-literate days to help people recognize one shop from another. A boot on a sign meant you’d found the cobbler’s shop, while a thimble, needle and thread meant the local tailor.
Even pubs got into the act, with names like The Sun, The Moon and the Archer easy to depict on painted signs. The symbol soon became recognized as the brand. If you were a villager in the 1600s looking for good beer and grub, The Moon might be the place to go, while you knew The Archer made the best meat pies in the three towns. The attribute of “good food” became associated with the symbol, and soon the symbol became part of the pub’s “brand” — even though you and your fellow illiterate townspeople wouldn’t know what a brand was.
As mass communications and increasing consumerism pushed the demand for advertising, the need for quick symbols to identify one product over another became commonplace. Colors, stylized text and marketing images such as models or mascots all became part of the brand attributes.
Chief among these brand attributes was the logo. It could be affixed to anything to create a quick visual shorthand so customers could quickly and easily recognize the product as belonging to a particular manufacturer, company and brand. Soon, logos became synonymous with brands, a valuable advertising shorthand that made it easier to market with fewer dollars.
That’s the number-one reason why a logo is important. It distinguishes your company from others selling similar goods and services. One soft drink is the same as another, but whether or not your mouth waters at the red, scripted Coca-Cola logo or the red, white and blue Pepsi logo depends on the attributes you ascribe to the brand. Just seeing the symbol painted on a building or billboard can make you thirsty for a crisp, refreshing Coke or America’s soft drink, Pepsi-Cola.
The Value of a Logo
It’s hard to put in dollars and cents the actual value of a logo. Logos, of course, are part of an overall brand. Companies that are bought and sold are purchased not just for their products and services, but for the customer base they bring to the sale as well as the brand recognition. The higher the brand recognition, the more a company is valued.
That’s because logos are part of brand recognition, and brand recognition is a shortcut for advertisers. The more recognizable the brand, the more it is marketed by word of mouth and by instant customer recognition. Companies can spend less on advertising when a brand becomes so easily recognizable that customers have no trouble identifying the products or services that accompany it.
Pepsi paid $1 million to update its logo. The Olympic committee paid $625,000. The good news is, you don’t have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for high quality logo design! Logo design with us starts at just $99!
How to Design a Great Logo
The simpler the better as far as logos go. While it’s tempting to cram every attribute or idea into your logo, stick to the big ideas that encompass your brand.
Simplicity includes fonts, graphics and color choices, too. Make sure the logo isn’t so complex that it won’t reproduce easily on a variety of formats such as banners, trade show signage, t-shirts and any other concept you can think of.
Color Sells, Too
Color can make your logo instantly recognizable and set it apart from others in your industry too. If all of hair salons in your town favor pink logos, making yours bright blue or green may set it apart.
But Consider Colors Carefully
There’s more to color than choosing colors that appeal to you and your target audience. Colors are produced for print and digital use using different techniques. Some digital colors cannot be reproduced accurately on a traditional press, and digital renders color differently on every device on which it’s displayed. Keep this in mind when viewing color samples from your designer, especially if they use an online portfolio to share designs with their clients.
Color reproduces on a printing press through two-color or four-color process. Most companies use a standard color matching system such as the one produced by the Pantone company. Pantone makes numbered color swatches. Printers can achieve an identical color by matching the number on the swatch to the pigment quantities indicated for that number. Pantone 185, for example, is a bright, almost pure red. A logo designed with “PMS” — short for Pantone Matching System — 185 will match that color identically on press.
Most logos are designed around such colors, using one or two colors plus black to achieve a final look. Keep this in mind during the logo design process. What makes a logo great isn’t necessarily the color but the design and meaning inherent in the logo itself. Color plays a secondary role in logo design.
Size and Shape Matter
The shape of a logo can also impact its usefulness. Square logos are easier to work with for designers than oblong or round shapes. Consider the impact the logo will have when it’s placed in a brochure, for example. How much space will it take up?
Consider Words and Text
Consider if your logo includes both the company name and a picture. If you do include both or your logo is text-based, review both the complete logo and how it looks separated from the text. Will you allow the use of words separate from the image? If so, how will they be separated?
Logos Don’t Have to Say It All
One common trap many business owners fall into when designing logos or working with a graphic designer to create a logo is trying to cram everything their business does in one small image. Your logo doesn’t have to be a literal interpretation of your company’s business interests. A delivery service doesn’t need to feature a package, and a dog groomer doesn’t have to have a dog in the logo. Let your logo stand for the attributes of your brand, not for the actual work that you do.
Logos Are for Your Audience — Not for You
Maybe you hate the color pink with a passion. That’s okay. But if your customers love all things pink, it would be a shame to avoid a pink logo just because you don’t particularly like the color.
Logo design is for your audience, your target customer. It’s not to please your taste. The more you know about your customers’ likes and dislikes going into a logo design project, the better. Always design marketing materials with the end customer in mind. That’s who is buying your products or services, and that is who you need to reach with all your marketing materials.
What’s Your Theme?
We’ve talked a little about how color and style can impact a logo. Consider the overall appearance of the logo, its essence and theme. The impact of text, color and design all create a theme. Some designs impart energy while others give a feeling of dependability and trust. It’s the combination of elements that creates the total impact and feeling of the theme of a logo. The choice of color, font and placement of the elements builds a visual story that leaves an impression in the mind of the viewer.
So consider your theme. What does your company represent? Are you jazzy, modern, fresh or new? Caring, thoughtful and helpful? Childlike and playful?
What Not to Do
Sometimes knowing what not to do is just as helpful as knowing what to do. When it comes to tips for designing a great logo, there are also a few things to avoid.
Obviously, a direct copy of another company’s logo is a no-no. Not only is it unethical, but you can be subject to lawsuits or trademark infringement. Not something you want to face, we’re sure!
You can certainly bring logos you like to your meeting with your designer. That can help the designer understand what you like and what you don’t like. Let good design inspire you, but never try to copy someone’s logo directly.
Don’t Be Literal
You run a ballet studio, so your logo features a ballerina and the words “ballet studio.” You own a Mexican restaurant, so your logo features a taco. Neither is a terrible idea for a logo, but it’s also not great, either. It’s very literal, and that may not make it distinctive enough to be memorable.
Can you recognize the Apple computer logo when you see it? Sure, it’s an apple, but it’s not a plain, ordinary apple. There’s a bite out of the apple — and in some cases, it’s a rainbow-colored apple. Those two changes set the apple apart in the logo, making it both distinctive and memorable.
Consider this when you’re working with your designers on your logo. You want your logo to reflect your business, but there are other ways of reflecting your business than using a literal icon for what you do. To make it memorable, you’ve got to make it different, and to do so, take it from the literal to the conceptual.
Don’t Add Taglines
Taglines are an additional saying or slogan that helps people remember your brand. Some logos include them, and some do not. It’s often easier to design a logo without a tagline than with it. Taglines can be lengthy and difficult to fit with a logo. They can also change over time, while logos tend to remain the same for longer periods of time.
If you feel like you can’t live without your tagline, have two versions of your logo made: one with the tagline and one without it. That way you have the flexibility to use the version that will work best with your current project, and if the tagline changes, you’ll still have a great logo to use.
What Makes a Logo Great: The Design Minds Behind It
When asking “What makes a logo great?” the answer is the designers behind it. Great logos are iconic, memorable, and filled with meaning. But to achieve that level of excellence, experienced graphic designers must apply their knowledge to the project.
That’s where The NetMen Corp enters the picture. Our experienced designers can take your company’s brand attributes and your concepts and make them into powerful, attention-grabbing logos. From gorgeous logos to print and digital design, we can make your company stand out with branding, beautiful design work and exceptional service. Visit us today to get your logo project started or contact us with any questions.