The dreaded logo.
At first blush, it seems like one of the more exciting aspects of building or rebranding a business. It’s fun. It’s visual. You get to take creative license, or hire someone else who’s really good at it to do so.
But after wrestling with its design for just a few minutes (or hours, or days, or weeks), you quickly discover that a logo is not to be taken lightly. Branding well isn’t just a matter of picking a nice image and stamping your company name across it. There are several problems with a hasty approach:
- If your logo is too intricate or hard to figure out, customers and prospects won’t try to make sense of it. They’ll gloss over it, but their confusion will leave a mark: They won’t trust you as much.
- If your logo looks pixelated, unprofessional or homemade, potential clients and customers will cross-apply that to your business immediately. They will assume you’re too new, inexperienced or poor-quality to help them effectively, and they will look elsewhere.
- If your logo is off-brand, your customers won’t associate it with you. A green leaf, for instance, is probably much better suited to an environmental or gardening company than a professional law or tax firm.
- If your logo is inconsistent, people won’t form brand associations with it. A good logo will come in two or possibly three iterations, no more. That includes color variations, so don’t make the rookie mistake of making a logo for every situation; stick with committed branding.
That said, a logo is absolutely crucial. You use it to mark business cards, brick-and-mortar signage, websites and promotional products. You have to get it right … and here are 7 tips to help you do just that.
Hire a professional Designer
It’s tempting to “save money” and do your logo in-house. Perhaps you know someone who has graphic design experience, or have yourself dabbled in online apps purporting to create amazing logos in minutes. While these sources might save you cash in the short run, they’re guaranteed to work against you over the long haul.
That’s because your brand relies heavily on visual appearance. “Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than we process words,” says Crowdspring, adding that this is why so many companies incorporate visual elements into their logos, with or without words. Knowing which images, though? That’s a professional’s purview, so keep in mind that the following steps should be completed in partnership with your designer.
Check Out the Competition
While you don’t want to follow the herd blindly, scoping out your competition can help you get inspiration for what works logo-wise. Take your cue from larger, more established companies than you – even if you have been around for a while – since they’re likelier to have a proven approach than competitors at your level. No need to stick to your local area, either; you can source your inspiration from anywhere in the country or world.
Collect Images You Love … and Ask Why
You won’t know what works for you until you know what feels authentic. Start by collecting images you love from other brands and assessing what works for you. Ask detailed questions, such as how they use lines and angles, what colors they incorporate, and whether their logos are organic, modern or abstract.
Make Sure Your Designs Are Simple
“It only takes consumers 10 seconds to form a first impression of a brand’s logo, but it takes 5-7 impressions for consumers to recognize the logo,” says Crowdspring. You need to keep that logo simple so that people can scan and form an opinion of your logo immediately, then do the same thing when they see it again.
Choose Signature Colors
“Color is a huge factor in brand recognition,” Crowdspring also notes. “A signature color can increase brand recognition by 80% (like the Starbucks green).” Choose signature colors that are in line with your values. Bright neons work well for apparel or food companies, while understated hues connote high design, green harkens to the Earth and outdoors, and blue emphasizes professionalism, medical care and liquids, such as beverages. When in doubt, black works for everyone.
Make No More Than Three Logo Variations
As we discussed above, the point of logos is to engender brand recognition. You want people to look at your mark and say to one another, “Oh, that’s [Your Company]! Yeah, they’re good at what they do. Have you tried them?”
Our visual senses rely heavily on the small, hidden cues contained in images. That means lines, angles, colors and the associations we hold in our minds. (This is why artificial intelligence hasn’t come close to matching human or animal image recognition, by the way; it’s composed of thousands of tiny details that we automatically turn into a single image.) If you don’t keep that image consistent, you wreck your prospect’s ability to recognize that image instantaneously. So our recommendation? Keep it to four: A logo with your name, a logo without your name, and a black-and-white version of each.
Put It EVERYWHERE
Research shows it takes up to 12 touches to make a conversion. We already know it takes at least five to seven impressions for customers to recognize it, which means you need to have as widespread an application as possible. Put your logo on your store signage, print collateral for trade shows or front desk areas, websites and social media platforms, and branded products. Don’t make the mistake of branding “in stages.” When you’re ready to do a company overhaul, commit and get it done.
Now that you have a better understanding of what it takes to create a great logo, it’s time to go find yourself a professional designer and get the job done. With logo in hand, you can then create well-branded promotional products that appeal to your audience, earn you impressions and build your business fast. Get in touch to learn more about this amazingly effective marketing technique today.