One of the most visible elements of your brand is your logo. Your brand logo will be seen everywhere—on your website, your business cards, every social media post, in all your advertising, and in every email you send. It’s critical that you have a well-designed logo, one that accurately represents your brand.
The Role Your Logo Plays
Remember when I said your logo is not your brand? While I firmly believe that statement, I also believe you need to have a great-looking, professionally-designed logo to help communicate who you are as a brand.Your logo is not your brand, but you still need to have a great-looking, professionally-designed logo to help communicate who you are as a brand. Click To Tweet
Your logo will be seen just about everywhere your brand is seen, so it’s critical that you have a logo that not only looks great but also accurately represents your brand’s personality.
Because your logo plays such an important role for your brand, I’m going to insist that you hire a professional to design your logo. Unless of course, you are an experienced graphic designer, in which case you can DIY all day long. 🙂
What to Avoid
Here are a few things you’ll definitely want to avoid when choosing your logo design:
- Overused or cliché elements. If everyone else is using it, you definitely shouldn’t be. Set yourself apart by doing something different and unexpected.
- Swooshy people. Logos that use swooshy people are a dime a dozen. Please don’t use them. Ever.
- Ready-made logos. There are some businesses out there that allow you to create a “logo” instantly with just a few clicks. A couple of issues with ready-made logos: 1. Your logo is not unique—chances are good someone else has the exact same logo. 2. You could run into legal issues since you are using a pre-made design.
- Lots of words. Too many words make your logo too complex and hard to understand. If your business name is unusually long, consider a shortened version for your logo.
- Confusion. People should understand your logo right away. You shouldn’t have to explain your logo or what it means.
Do a Google image search for “(your category) logo” and scroll through the results. What do you see that’s cliché, overdone, or expected? Start thinking of ways you can differentiate.
For example, when I did a quick search for “personal trainer logo” I got the following results:
The results yielded page after page of barbells and flexing muscles. I would tell my designer to avoid using these overused ideas so my brand could stand apart from all the sameness.
Here are a few examples of logos that just don’t work:
When the London 2012 Olympic planners revealed their logo the reaction was visceral—and not in a good way. The colors and jagged edges are jarring. No one “gets it”. The whole thing just feels amateurish.
The Gap introduced the logo on the right back in 2010 and it lasted less than a week. This new version appeared to have been thrown together in Microsoft Word by a middle-schooler. They quickly reverted back to their iconic, simple, and memorable logo.
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) didn’t realize there was a problem with their logo until someone showed them what it looked like rotated 90° clockwise. Oops.
What Makes an Awesome Logo?
So what makes a logo great? What separates a unique and memorable logo from all the ho-hum-ness out there? In order to be awesome your logo must be:
- Simple. Your logo should be simple, not too complicated or too busy.
- Flexible. Your logo will be used in a variety of ways—as your social media profile, at the top of your website, on your business cards, so it must be flexible enough to look good however it’s used.
- Memorable. It should be easy to remember your logo (simplicity will help here too). People should be able to easily picture it in their mind or remember it when they see it.
- Unique. Your logo can’t look like everyone else’s out there, it has to be unique so your brand can stand out from your competition.
- Understandable. People need to “get it” right away. If you find yourself constantly explaining your logo to people, it’s probably too abstract.
- A reflection of you. You’re going to see your logo more often than anyone else so your logo needs to feel good to you. It should be a reflection of who you are as a brand.
Here are a few examples of awesome logos and why I think they work so well:
Amazon’s logo is so simple. It’s just their name with a simple “smile”. One of the cool factors is that the arrow “smile” goes from A to Z. In a very subtle way, they’re showing us that we can get anything we want—from A to Z.
Death Wish Coffee Co.’s logo is big, bold, memorable, meaningful, and just plain cool.
Real Human Performance is a personal favorite of mine because it’s the gym where I work out. Their logo is simple, easily recognizable, and unique. No cliché elements like barbells or flexing muscles anywhere in sight!
What to Share with Your Designer
Most designers will ask you for the following information. Lucky for you, you’ve already done most of this work so you’re way ahead of the game.
Brand elements to share:
- Your exact business name
- Your ideal client, target market, and/or niche
- Your unique selling proposition
- Your brand archetype
- Your brand voice
- Your brand archetype
Logo elements to consider:
- Include your tagline? Decide whether or not your logo will be displayed with your tagline. Short taglines work best for this purpose.
- Logo name, logo mark, or both? Your logo name is simply your business name, while a logo mark is any symbol or graphic element used in your logo design.
- What shapes and sizes are required? Square, rectangle, vertical, horizontal? Consider where your logo will be displayed and be sure to cover all the bases.
Day 15 Action Item—Create an Awesome Logo for Your Brand
Your action item for today is to get your logo project started! Use an online resource or hire someone you know, like, and trust. I absolutely love 99designs for all of my logo projects and recommend them to all of my clients.
A few things to keep in mind to make your awesome logo project a success:
Be patient. Your logo project may take time—be patient. It’s more important that your logo is awesome than how quickly it gets done.
Give constructive feedback. I can’t stress this enough. It is vitally important that you keep the project moving forward and in the right direction by giving your designer quality feedback.
Be open-minded. Let the designer do her job. She may show you something way outside your comfort zone. You may not love it but just be open to new ideas. Just because you haven’t thought of it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Create a focus group. Pick a small focus group, share possible logo designs, and ask for good feedback. 3-5 people are probably enough. Too many opinions will only make things more complicated and drag the project out longer. Keep it simple and choose a few key people to help you choose the perfect logo for your brand.
Coming up: Tomorrow you’ll learn why the art of storytelling is such a powerful way to communicate your brand’s message.
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