Every business owner and entrepreneur is eventually confronted with the need to create a face for their brand. It’s an absolutely frustrating task sitting with your own internal dialogue, as well as other people’s opinions as to how best to approach this. So of the worst conversations we end up having with ourselves, is when we assume we can just Google something, click copy, and use that. STOP!! That logo is NOT your brand. You need to start from scratch and learn how to create a logo that doesn’t suck and one that is original.
Not to worry – we’ve got some fantastic tips that will help you on this crucial step to creating a credible brand.
Understand your business / brand
The first step is to start doing a deep dive into what your business does and what exactly is your brand’s personality. To do this you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- What does your business do?
- Who is the intended target market and audience?
- What do you want the perception of your brand to be?
- How should people feel when they first see your logo and/or branding?
- What is the story behind your brand?
Your logo should capture all the answers to the above questions within less than 45 seconds. Yes, 45 seconds. That’s how long it takes to create a first, lasting impression. Think of TV commercials – your average commercial lasts 30 to 45 seconds because that’s enough to get a message across.
Now you might be wondering if your logo has to be literal? No, it most certainly does not have to be. Just because your business sells shoes, does not mean you need to have a shoe in your logo. Some of the biggest brands in the world sells the ethos of a brand rather than the product. You see a swoosh, you know it’s Nike (Just Do It). You see a singular red quotation mark in a circle, that’s right, Vodafone/Vodacom (The brand powering telephone networks). Each of these icons was created to create a feeling, an intention. Rather than positioning a product, they are positioning a brand and creating a branded community.
Be unique, be distinctive and sell your story
If you want to make your brand identity distinguishable from your competition, then do your homework. You need to know who your competition is, and how people identify with their brand. From there, your work is to discover what makes your brand different. You’ve got to tap into your brand’s story, your beginning, your mission and how to visually represent that without relying on too much literal imagery.
Now, once you know what distinguishes your brand from your competitors, you’ve got to visually sell it. Think of how you can do it through a single, simple visual.
Cut, colour and clarity
The three C’s of selecting a diamond most certainly applies to create an exceptional logo. Each of the elements of your brand’s identity needs to reflect the brand’s emotive journey and also attract the right customer. This is a really BIG tip that forms part of learning how to create a logo that doesn’t suck. Let’s take a look at the three C’s:
Shapes and design-construct are essential to creating structure and flow, each of which needs to reflect the emotive journey. Straight and clean lines usually reflect a modern brand, unlike curved/rounded edges which usually reflects something classic or playful. This applies to typeface, fonts and wordmark logo styles too. Cursive or Retro fonts will evoke fun or classic moods. Modern and linear fonts will reflect something more corporate and structured. Furthermore, you may want to explore jagged edges too which can resonate with pop audiences and brands and tends to look quite funky and distinctive.
Everyone wants their branding to pop, but that doesn’t necessarily mean bright colours and bold tones. Bright colours can be used to reflect vibrance and fun, although can confuse the brand if that’s not the brand’s culture. Similarly, muted tones add a sense of sophistication, but can get lost when worked in conjunction with other elements. Remember, your logo may be used alongside others in a variety of marketing ventures and campaigns. Another thing to bear in mind is the psychology behind colour. Each colour evokes an emotive connection with your audience. Here’s a breakdown:
- Red: energetic, sexy, bold
- Orange: creative, friendly, youthful
- Yellow: sunny, inventive, optimism
- Green: growth, organic, instructional
- Blue: professional, medical, tranquil, trustworthy
- Purple: spiritual, wise, evocative
- Black: credible and powerful
- White: simple, clean, pure
- Pink: fun and flirty
- Brown: rural, historical, steady
Do not confuse your audience. Although your logo can be figurative, imaginative and abstract, it’s important to make sure that your message comes across easily. First impressions count, and you have but seconds to create that. Therefore, if you’re going to create something symbolic and abstract, make sure it can be interpreted easily. Something you should also bear in mind is that your logo should be flexible and scalable. You never know which applications your logo will have to be suited for. So remember to work with a great designer who can create something for vertical, horizontal, full colour and black and white applications – particularly for trademark registrations. Essentially, it should impress even in a colourless version.
Name it and claim it
Many brands such as Ray-Ban, IBM and Coca-Cola have decided to make their brand names the highlight of their visual branding and their logo. So what’s in a name? Everything! If you are choosing to incorporate your company name into your logo, choose this carefully, especially if it has to visually carry your brand.
The main thing you need to remember is that if your company name also serves as your logo it has got to be in line with your emotive branding and must be distinctive. Work with negative space, alter your fonts/typography to be unique, ensure that it is legible and don’t try to be too clever (it will get lost in translation). Also, try to stay away from too many cultural or local nuances, unless the only market you’re targetting are locals. You never know where a brand will grow.
Your Personality – The People’s Choice
Finally, remember that whilst a logo and brand identity can include all the nuances of your personality, the brand’s identity is not for you. Your logo and your brand are for your audience, therefore, it should resonate with them and not just you. You may want to get feedback from friends, their friends, family and so on. This will help you understand how things are perceived and whether you’ve hit the mark.
In doing this, remember, the more honest the feedback the easier it will be to create something unique and authentic. So be open to all kinds of criticism and make lots of notes. These are people’s honest opinions, and are also potential customers – so listen to them, but take it under advisement. It’s not the gospel truth.
We hope this has been insightful and that you learned a little more about how to create a logo that doesn’t suck. If you’re looking to develop and create a professional logo that is truly unique, distinctive and makes an impression, chat to us to do that for you. Visual branding is something we’re passionate about, and we’re happy to help.