Creating a new logo can be some of the most fun you have when rebranding, or when building a brand for the first time. A logo is the visual summary of what you want your business to stand for. But what makes a brand logo truly great? Going from the simple shape to the evocative icon doesn’t happen overnight. In order to know what makes a brand logo great, we’ve got to first ask what makes a logo basically effective.
Traits of an Effective Logo
In the process of developing your logo, you always want to ask whether your logo captures the imagination, even in a small or subtle way. Is there some kind of visual interest in the font, color, or shape? What makes it appealing to look at? Even if you’re not artistically-inclined, could you draw it from memory pretty easily? In sum, why is this logo going to stand out in a customer’s or prospect’s mind?
An effective logo says something particular about your company. What makes you stand out uniquely from others in your industry? This specific trait should be translated into your logo. Whether your logo is an image, a word, a letter, the transmuted name of your company, or a combination of the above, it needs to be clearly distinguishable from your competitors’.
A flexible logo has a certain simplicity and can be changed over time if need be. It is also wise to develop different versions of the logo for different purposes. Your logo on a door may not work the same on a web tab. The logo also needs to work equally well in small and large formats.
Finally, an effective logo summarizes what you’re about. It evokes your ethos as a company, whether that’s playful, down-home, proud of heritage, forward-thinking, etc. It also evokes an immediate and positive intuitive or emotional response. This won’t reach its fullness, however, until you’ve partnered it with great service over time. But color and design should already be working together to give the viewer’s brain a head start on how you want them to feel about you on first sight.
This is what makes a logo effective. A basically effective logo is where you begin. But the title of this blog eludes to a “great” logo. And what makes a logo really great is not the graphic designer, the marketing team, the “wow” factor, or the way the logo perfectly summarizes your whole business vision. What makes a logo great is the company behind it.
Traits of a Great Logo
Accurately indicates your performance
If your logo looks stellar, but a customer doesn’t receive equally stellar service from you, you’ve lost them. Your logo at best has lost its power to convince, and at worst feels ironic or false. A logo only accrues the positive, desired, and appropriate meaning over time as you prove your logo to represent, not just the kind of company you are, but a certain expected level of performance from your company. “Pretty is as pretty does” is true.
Integrates with your marketing strategy
A new logo hot off the press doesn’t mean anything yet. You still have to “sell” it. Your logo’s design will evoke what you intend as it integrates with your marketing strategy, building visibility and meaning as it’s used in its contexts. And you no longer need to replicate your logo on every surface you can. Choose the most strategic places to include your logo. And at minimum, prepare a version that will look great for each of the following:
- Avatar for social media handles
- Employee email signature line
- Website homepage
- Print media, like letterhead and direct mail
Develops along with your business
On the one hand, a brand logo grows as a positive, recognizable presence anywhere your logo is seen, and your service is good. On the other hand, a great logo, as it accrues positive recognizability over time, adds to your reputation by serving as a visible ambassador for your brand. Your excellent service builds your logo, and then your logo evokes and advertises for your business. Your business gets the momentum going, and a great brand logo takes its place in a reciprocal, positive feedback loop.
And the time may come when your logo needs to change. If the logo starts flexible and stays positive, you can make that transition well. One way to keep it open to development is by
employing at the start a logo system. Rather than a single, static logo, you build a recognizable visual scheme your brand fits into, while still being able to evolve, even to turn on a dime. A great example of this is the way that Google has developed both a logo — the multicolored “G o o g l e” — and a logo system — the basic shapes of the letters that morph into new images on their homepage every day, while staying within the logo’s parameters of recognizability.
Adds good to the world
Finally, some logos are effective, instantly recognizable, and consistently evoke emotions accurate to the actions that accompany it. But these companies do not always correspond to a positive service or added good to the world. We can all think of instances in which a logo which was once a boon becomes a bane when a company turns out to be taking its cut without truly giving back. These are mostly mega-corporate examples, but we all start small. Take this encouragement: as you grow, keep the good growing with you, and the heart of your logo stays pure. And that’s earned, not designed.
Safeguard works with businesses to integrate brand logo with marketing, and more. Whether you’re rebranding, building your business, or looking into logo systems, we offer full service solutions that respect your bottom line. Connect with a consultant today to find out more.