As part of your marketing strategy your logo is fundamental.
If all you’re hoping to do with your logo is stand out, your designer’s job is blissfully simple. Doing something outrageous graphically will make you stand out; creating something painfully minimalist will make you stand out, too. But “standout-ability” is just one element of good logo design. There’s much more to consider before you get a designer working on your marketing logo.
1. Make a statement based on your brand and values.
For a logo to function effectively it has to make a strong statement and the right Marketing statement.
The first thing you must do is figure out what you’re trying to say. Logos are symbols and as such should tell people what you mean to them (or what you hope to mean to them, logos should be somewhat aspiration).
Evernote, a popular note taking app, uses an elephant with a dog-eared ear as its logo. The app is used to gather and remember lists, images, ideas, etc.
Once you’ve established the attributes that make your company valuable to customers and prospects, use them as communication goals for your logo.
2. Understand your Marketing Audience.
A logo should not only reflect the company for which it stands; it should reflect its target audience, too. If your audience is middle-aged male gun owners who take part in the annual deer hunting season, your logo should be designed to appeal to them, with elements that suggest things like ruggedness, nature/outdoors, camaraderie, strength, etc.
Understanding your meaning and value to customers and prospects can help you pinpoint what look you want to achieve based on what you stand for (or should stand for). If you’re not sure, ask yourself what makes your company better than competitors; better yet, ask your customers.
Depending on your product or service, your competitive advantage might be speed, authentic old-world craftsmanship, precision, attention to detail, reach, intelligence, variety, coolness, good health, power, innovation, elegance, efficiency or one of a thousand other characteristics.
What you choose should be important to your prospects and customers, not exclusively to you.
3. Subtract unnecessary elements.
Since logos that are too intricate do not scale down well and are more difficult to remember, you’ll want to take the “simplicity” principle to heart. Boil your logo down to its most essential elements, removing components or details that aren’t absolutely essential to the message. In addition, visual effects like shadows, bevels, outlines, and gradients serve to unnecessarily complicate your logo in many cases.
Removing these things will help to make your logo have a greater visual impact.
4. Create it as a vector file.
Your logo is a versatile thing, and it will likely be used in a variety of contexts from the smallest bit of swag (like a pen) to large format graphic promotions (like billboards and banners). For this reason, a .jpg file that’s 500px by 500px just won’t cut it because massive sizing changes will reduce it to pixelated mush.
Enter the vector.
Unlike raster images like .jpgs which are made up of pixels, vector images rely on lines, points, and curves to construct your logo in a more mathematical way. Vector files can be sized up or down infinitely while the image proportions stay the same (and without pixelation or distortion).
If you design your logo in a vector environment to start, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of heartache later when it comes to your marketing collateral all looking the same. Using vector graphics software such as Adobe Illustrator will set you up for success in this regard.
5. Use Pantone colours.
Imagine this: You design your logo on your laptop at your home office. Then, you implement your new logo on your website. Someone in your department complains that the logo has “too many warm tones” even though your laptop is clearly showing a logo with cool tones. You print out the logo as a test and find out there’s a third variation of the colour altogether. Unfortunately, you already ordered marketing brochures for the office that are supposed to match this colour .
Monitors and printers have different calibration settings, so what you see is not always what you get. The way to ensure that your colour is consistent throughout is by using Pantone colours. The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a way to keep consistency with specific colours regardless of the process used to produce the colour.
By using Pantone colors, your team will always be on the same page regardless of what their settings are like or how the color is being produced (digitally, print, etc.).
6. Convey your Marketing Message effectively.
You can uncover great marketing insights by administering “the blink test” to unbiased individuals:
- Print your logo on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper (don?t fill up the page ? make it about 1 inch high).
- Hand that paper to people who haven?t seen the logo or been a part of conversations about the design project (in other words, pull a guy off the street).
- Ask these people to look at the logo ? for just 3 seconds!
- Now ask each to describe it to you.
- If your logo’s intended meaning was immediately clear to them, you?re onto something!
7. Don’t move forward unless it makes an impression.
Your logo is a huge part of your marketing strategy take your time to ensure it has the right impact.
- Put your logo and 8 others on a piece of paper (arranged in 3 rows of 3); make sure they?re about the same size.
- Show this to as many people as will participate; let them view it briefly ? no more than 30 seconds but at least 15.
- Take the paper away and ask viewers to recall and describe as many as they can ? is yours among them?
This is a poor-man?s research that replicates (somewhat) what your customers and prospects go through every day: they have just seconds to consider a logo and it?s often at a time when other logos are competing for attention.
For your logo to do what it’s expected to, you first must understand what your marketing and what value and meaning is to your customers and best prospects. Then, by following design principles that are the foundation of some of the world’s best logos, you’ll have a symbol that stands for something. A logo can never represent everything a company is, offers or wants to be, but a good one will say something distinct that your target will naturally respond to.
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