“We are a bakery; so we used a wedding cake in our logo. It looked great, and we thought we nailed it. We finally realized it was a bad choice-we don’t sell wedding cakes.”
“We just grabbed some clipart with kids in it-it’s a school not Amazon. But it is not working.”
“It seemed good enough-we didn’t think a logo really mattered for a manufacturer. Turns out we were wrong”
These are all actual quotes from clients a few years into their business who found their logo was not working for them. They did not understand what makes a logo ‘good’.
Logos serve to represent a given organization or company through a visual image that can be easily understood and recognized. A logo is a visual representation of a concept that may include a symbol or a name mark with a unique type treatment. The very definition of a logo is a visual symbol or design to define and identify itself. The word comes from ancient Greek for a graphic mark or emblem. It is imperative that as part of a complete brand strategy, a new logo be designed as a visual representation of your organization. But a solid logo design goes much farther than that. An intentional and purposeful logo must define the heart, vision, and goals of your business as well as be relevant to the market in which you operate. With free tools and templates available to everyone in the palm of their hand, it is tempting to do a DIY logo design. I have met with hundreds of clients over the years who found that quick and free did not ultimately achieve the strategic business goals of a growing organization. Cornerstone Communications functions on the philosophy that building on a solid foundation and doing it right the first time will save, valuable time, money, and human resources in the long run. I have served many clients over the years who had to start over a few years in because they did not have a sound brand strategy and did not fully understand the importance of developing marketing plans from the beginning. Here are five basic functions of a good logo to consider.
Intelligent concepts drive good design. Leave the literal visuals for advertising and marketing pieces. A good logo will utilize a symbol that is easy to recognize but also carry deep meaning that can give a complete picture of the company with a momentary glance. The symbol used in the logo for your organization should convey style, personality, and depth. Think of it as a single symbol for your complete identity. The symbol should be intelligent, intentional, and easily recognizable.
Font choice is critical for a good logo. The font can be used in the name mark which is the stylized treatment of the company name. Fonts can also be used if Initials or letters are used in the logo symbol. Together, the fonts and symbols create the complete logo. There are hundreds of thousands of fonts available. Most of them should never be used in a logo design. Avoid trendy or illegible fonts. Determine if uppercase or lowercase letters best represent your organization. Understand your market and competition. Use fonts that convey identity and are relatable to potential customers.
In today’s complex graphic production, color is widely available. Too many color options can complicate and ruin what might otherwise be a sound design. Just because you have the spectrum of the rainbow at your disposal does not mean you should use it. Color selection is critical to foundational brand development. Colo, like symbols and fonts, becomes an integral part of the story you are presenting. Developing a strategically planned color palette will ensure that your brand is consistent, credible, and easily recognizable.
A good logo will be created in context taking into consideration, the organizational roots, marketplace, competition, customers, and usage. In a highly competitive world where high-end graphics are expected, the logo must be developed within context taking into consideration the fluid nature of business and organizational structure. Part of developing within context is to understand how the logo will function now and in the future in different settings and usages. For example, does your 16-color logo reproduce well on an insurance form in black and white? Does your logo stand up next to your biggest competitors on a community event banner? How will your logo reproduce on a billboard or a pen? A good logo must transcend all contextual usage if it is to be successful.
A good logo must be able to coexist with the other elements needed to solidify your brand strategy. Clean professional graphics on a logo will appeal to a wide variety of people and communicate visually the message you are trying to convey and will set the stage for all other marketing communications. Ancillary elements may include a copyright symbol, a list of services, or a tagline. A tagline is a critical element of the brand development and should be developed in conjunction with the logo. Ancillary elements such as a tagline will often become the foundational cornerstone of the entire identity process. A tagline will be used to raise awareness and expanded to create ad campaigns, PR messages, and other means to establish a sound brand identity.
These five elements of a good logo are critical to strategic brand development. Finding a marketing partner who understands the complex nature of a ‘good’ logo design can help you save time, money, and future headaches by building your logo firmly on a strong foundation.