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What 5 thoughts come to mind when people see your logo?

Wed, September 21, 2016

by Shad Opper, Creative Director

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person,” Jeff Bezos once said in an interview. This is a good way to look at how to go about creating a company’s image.

The more human traits you can apply to a non-human object, like a company, the easier it will be for others to relate to it. Establishing a reputation for a company allows the audience to see its personhood and purpose. 

This is especially important in today’s climate where consumers are expecting businesses to not only produce quality products, but also be socially and environmentally responsible in the process. When a pet lover looks at a Petco sign, she wants to feel like the company is kind and compassionate toward all pets and is treating them humanely. Think about the logo: A smiling cat snuggling next to a smiling dog in red, white and blue. What says love more than a company that can get cats and dogs to co-exist peacefully?

Like a signature is to a person, a logo is to a company.

Telling a story with merely one image is why the corporate logo is so powerful. In a glance, at least five things should come to mind when your audience views your logo. The reputation should precede it.

Almost everyone knows who Elvis is and that’s without using his last name. Consider the title of his house, Graceland. The name, when applied to the Memphis home where he lived and breathed, takes on a life of its own. Although he’s not physically inside of it, visitors of Graceland can almost feel the spirit of the king of rock and roll by experiencing what the building has to offer. The name Graceland will always carry the essence of Elvis for his fans.

If it isn’t already, your logo should be able to tell the public a story about your company. It should make your audience feel something. As the face of a company, a logo carries great weight. A strong one can stand alone and speak directly to the intended audience with or without a positioning statement.

Let’s go back to Elvis. Say we want to sell his tunes to a new generation of millennials who, by the way, listen to 75% more music than baby boomers. Will they be attracted to thin baby blue letters spelling out his full name and joined to a blue suede shoe, or a bold, black ‘E’ wearing a gold crown and typeset for an app button? If the latter is widely recognizable based on the single ‘E’ like ‘F’ is to Facebook, then you have a winner.

4 essential design principles

A good logo creates solid brand identity by following four design principles that make it simple, balanced, recognizable and evolutionary.

Simple

Get straight to the point with a clean and uncluttered logo. Viewers will not take time to figure out the abstract. Additionally, too many details and combination of colors leave an unprofessional impression. A single, unfussy object like an apple can speak volumes.

Balance

A good logo is balanced so our minds enjoy looking at it. One of the surest ways to achieve this is through a professional graphic designer who has created hundreds of eye-catching logos. A logo created by an amateur can depict an amateur company even if it’s first rate. Also, pay attention to scale. The logo needs to be legible when reproduced in various sizes from business cards to billboards.

Recognizable

Brand recognition is the whole point of a logo. When your audience sees it, they’ll immediately think about its characteristics. Look at the golden arches, for instance. Fries and burgers quickly served up at the local McDonald’s certainly come to mind. When your logo successfully combines balance, size, color, graphics and creativity, a memorable image sticks with the consumer.

Evolutionary

The best logos keep pace with the times and can change with them too. Although they’re rooted in founding elements like the Nike swoosh, they can be altered as needed and still maintain identity. They can also adapt to different environments. Take Google’s rainbowed logo. Transfer it to black and white newspaper print and it’s still recognizable. A good logo can be slightly updated without losing its power.

If you’d like me to take a look at your company’s logo to see if it’s as effective as it should be, send it to me at shad@creativecommunication.com or message me on our Facebook page @creativecomm.

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