Why You Need A Logo
To understand ‘WHY’, you need to understand ‘WHAT’ a logo is. To understand what, you need to understand ‘HOW’ and ‘WHERE’ a logo is used, or the PURPOSE.
In simple terms, a logo is SYMBOL, a MARK, a FLAG or a SIGNATURE representing a BRAND, company, group or agency. In legal terms, it is referred to as a ‘Trademark’ or a ‘Servicemark’, both precise about the intended use (ie; applied to goods, or services respectively).
Used as a primary identifier for a BRAND, requires that it be unique and strikingly different from other logos or marks. Particularly in the same market niche. Generally measured by the creative use of shapes, colors, fonts and images in it’s creation.
- Are immediately recognizable;
- Inspire trust, admiration and loyalty;
- Imply superiority of quality;
- Are elegant and feel premium (i.e.; “High-end”);
- Conveying a certain finesse and attention to detail;
- Avoid the sharp and obtrusive.
Likewise, they should not be Gothic, Geeky or otherwise a ‘strange niche favorite’.
It’s generally best to go for the wider appeal.
A LOGO does NOT SELL directly, it is rarely a description of a business and the subject matter is unlimited. Logos derive their meaning from the quality of the products and/or services it represents, NOT the reverse. What a logo represents, is more important than it’s visual impression.
What Makes a Good Logo?
Naturally, there are common elements that guide us to what makes a good logo. Following are some of the most basic elements:
A good logo should lend itself to any size of reproduction. Though it may be more or less complex for various sizes.
Selected colors should be appealing to the target customer. Remember, color is very subjective and emotional. It can be distracting from the overall design.
By way of example, if it is HOT PINK, the viewer may well respond to the PINK, rather than the composition or design elements and the target message.
When possible, it’s best to sign-off on a black and white logo, before color is introduced.
The logo concept must communicate the owner’s intended message effectively.
Simple, memorable, practical, appropriate, distinctive, Timeless, Versatile, graphic.
Rookie Startup Mistake 101
As logo design experts, we note that a common mistake many small business owners make is to under value the power of a good logo in building a BRAND. Too many think fast and cheap about their BRAND, and subsequently about their LOGO.
Likewise, too little thought goes into a business name, often leading to a poor choice. They then follow this path to an amateur graphic artist for logo for a quick and useless logo.
The Dress for Success Strategy
By contrast… those billion dollar companies that many new business owners aspire to emulate. Put thought and money into their BRAND first, knowing the money is well spent, because they depend on BRAND RECOGNITION to help them grow their business at those exponential rates the news so faithfully reminds us of.
They plan on using countless collateral materials from business cards and brochures to print, radio and TV, as well as re-targeting across social networks and the web. So they depend on a SOLID, well defined easily identified BRAND IMAGE. Which frankly, works best if you start with a kick-butt logo design.
Timeless Logo Design
Then, there is the timeless logo. This logo is so well considered and designed that it stands the test of time. It is as fresh and strong in 25-50-100 years. It is unforgettable, striking, unique, eye-catching and appropriate.
What makes a timeless logo? In rare cases, just luck, in many cases, millions upon millions in advertising dollars. But there are common elements that successful logos teach us. Follow these and you’re on your way to creating the right logo for your company.
Complex designs tend to date faster • Simple tends to have greater longevity.
Look for an easy to identify image, with focus and impact.
If you wiz by at 70mph, how easy is it to identify?
Crazy ideas can work, but your focus is to speak to and emphatically express the personality of your BRAND.
Simple but strong, think twice about wild and crazy.
Typography is one of the oldest arts in advertising layout. Spanning hundreds of years since the printing press became available.Today there are many thousands of typestyles and variations.
It is important to note, many carry history or other moods, emotions and expression beyond the words they convey.
A font that looks good today, can be seriously dated in 5 years. In 10 years you say to yourself; “What the heck was I thinking.” This happens all to often.
Be careful with typography, stick to well-crafted fonts and simple effects like bold and italic, use as few fonts together as possible, and use various sizes to create visual effect. Keep your typographic creativity in check.
Remember, decorative, trendy fonts are the first to be sacrificed as the years pass.
There is a science to your overall layout, shapes and colors. Remember that your choices dictate the outcome to a great degree.
For example, a logo with a long business name or slogan and an icon set above, tend to lose impact and seem out of balance.
They can also be very hard to work with when designing collateral materials like business cards, letterhead, websites, flyers, brochures, trucks, etc. The reverse is true if the icon is too large above the text, now it’s awkward too.
Each option can present it’s own impressions and challenges.
Basic options include:
• Icon with Text below;
• Icon with Text Right or Left;
• Circular Layout with Word Wrap;
• Square Shape with Stacked Text;
• Triangular, Oval, Diamond, etc;
COLOR SELECTION: Black, white, yellow, green, each color carries an emotional response, sometimes memories, even smells. In logo design these are the first concerns only. Beyond this there are other secrets. For example, it’s nearly impossible to make a pure black logo look classy, where 98% black subdues the tacky, shinny problem.
In most cases, it’s best to choose a one or two color palette, featuring a primary and complimentary secondary, then perhaps add a neutral like black, white, grey, cream, beige, etc. Once you choose your palette, you can explore shades of color.
STYLISH: Because color can be either trendy or timeless, tricks like adding a tint of black to your bright green, tends to make it a more stylish, timeless muted version.
CONTRAST: Most important, take care to control contrast, so that important text or other elements are not lost in a blend of light or dark colors. It’s always more striking and easier to read or identify a crisper more contrasting logo.
Remember, when the main elements of your logo are in sync, the effect is powerful. But, get it wrong and it could turn-off your target customer.
Working with JingleSPOT, we’ll keep you on track with all the “Logo Best Practices” so that these and hundreds of other important factors are considered at every stage of your logo development.
The Logo Design Process
- So what’s the big deal anyway?
- What’s so hard about creating a logo?
- It’s small, looks pretty easy, so what gives?
First, when you’re looking at a finished logo for most successful companies. Your looking at the end result of the design process. Your seeing a finished product.
However, the actual process of logo design is an intense mix of research, creativity, logic, color meanings, symbol meanings, the effect of shapes and countless other elements that must merge in exactly the right way.
When JingleSPOT is charged with designing your logo, we follow a process that ensures the final design will meet or exceed your needs and expectations.
Following is our Step-by-Step design process:
We start with a blank white paper and let things happen spontaneously.
Of course this is the core of the design process. Working in and around the concepts and research, client needs and requests, we mix a good portion of creativity and inspiration.
Sketching in itself is not time-consuming, nor is it finished to any significant degree. But, as a part of our process, it guides our imagination.
Our designers take frequent breaks during the design process. Letting ideas mature, soliciting feedback from associate designers, renewing enthusiasm and returning with fresh perspectives.
Rinse and Repeat Reflection + Computer Drafting
Once the process is completed, we present our best logo designs to the client for review. We do this via custom pages on our website.
When commissioned to do so, we will also show your logo in context, i.e.; placed on Business Cards, Brochures, Flyers, Website, a company Truck, etc. To help our clients better visualize.
Basic Design Principles
As mentioned above, a good logo design is should be immediately recognizable, inspire trust, admiration, loyalty and imply superiority of quality, etc. But there is more, in order to properly convey the owner’s intended message, the most important principles to keep in mind are:
SIMPLE: Remember the K.I.S.S Principle of Design. Feature something unique, unexpected, eye-catching, but not ‘overdrawn’. Your goal is to be easily recognized, incredibly memorable and to convey the primary message if possible.
It is also important to remember that it should catch attention and be recognizable to 70mph drive-by, on shelves at stores it should not be lost in a sea, likewise when used in advertising and marketing mediums.
By way of example, look at Nike, ‘a graphic swoosh’ is all it takes to convey a story, invoke an emotion, increase brand awareness.
A very close second, memorability is more important than anything in the mix. That’s the bullseye, every time they see it, they know what it is, what it means, what products or services are represented.
Memorable is a factor of design simplicity and appropriateness. Though it is hard to find appropriate in many successful logos, signaling that the subject matter is of less importance than distinctiveness and easy identification.
It’s a foregone conclusion that logos should be timeless. Any company or product worth the long-term investment, deserves to have a lasting logo that will be contemporary, stylish and stand the trend 10-20-50-100 years from now.
Trends belong to the fashion industry. They come, they go, they come again. But, your logo should not be tied to trends. Look for solid, transcending concepts and design factors over trendy in the moment, fad vulnerable factors. Aim to stand out, don’t be a follower.
In nearly every case, your logo will be used in a variety of ways. Business cards, brochures, flyers, car signs, billboards, TV, newspaper, logo shirts, stickers, golf balls,websites, smartphones and coffee cups to name a few.
It is important that the original artwork, be flexible enough to expand or reduce on demand to fit the target medium. For this reason, it is always recommended that you pay the extra cost for VECTOR ART if available. In some cases, the art will not or cannot be done in VECTOR, so you will need to specify that you want it done large enough to use in your biggest target medium.
Otherwise, you will endure paying the same or worse another artist to make a larger one. Or you will pay fees to the poster maker, billboard maker, etc. to deal with enlargement cleanups. Of course, you can choose to just have a blurry billboard… NOT.
Your next concern is color. Again, you will want to use the logo on any medium. Some will not allow all the colors you want or maybe even limit to black and white. You will also want to consider the effect of different background colors. Will it work good on both light and dark backgrounds? Will it only work with limited background colors?
During the design process, we recommend working in black and white from the start, then adding color. Not always possible, the next strategy is to test it in black and white or grey scale, then do tweaks, or make a second version that looks very close, with changes that allow it to work in black and white.
Here, many things are at play. First, what are we branding? A lawyer, doctor, car dealer, jewelry store or a day care center? In each case, there are acceptable and unacceptable standards for colors, design factors, shapes, symbols, slogans, and overall feel. You would not use PINK and BLUE for a law firm, nor would you use BLACK and WHITE for a daycare center.
While the logo does not have to say what the brand or company does. For example, the Apple logo is not a computer, the McDonald’s logo is not a hamburger or fries, the Mercedes is not a car, Taco Bell is not a taco. But each seems appropriate, they fit somehow.
Remember, the meaning of a logo is a derivative of the products and services of the company or brand it symbolizes. It is meant to associate usefulness and quality with the products and services. It need not be otherwise self-explanatory.
In most cases, it will take time and investment for a logo to do it’s job. The audience must be conditioned by exposure to the logo and the related products and services. Regardless, the goal is long-term recognition, which leads to a comfort level and trust that makes the consumer choose your brand over another, regardless of price, materials, etc.
Naturally one of the biggest and most frequent concerns is the price. How much should you pay for a logo? What’s in the price? Is it all the same, is every logo is the same price based on the number of colors, size or other factors?
These questions cannot be answered without additional information. For example, when considering the cost or value of a logo design package, you need to consider the following and more:
- How many concepts;
- How many revisions;
- How much research;
- How will it be used;
- What format: ie; Vector / JPG;
- How many colors;
- How many constraints to design;
- Is there a slogan;
- Will it contain the Name;
Of course there are many other things that will affect the cost. But the above gives you good reason to be clear what you want.
If you want to save money, you can compromise research, tight constraints, limit revisions, limit the number of concept drafts, etc.
A logo is as important as you make it. If you’re building a business that you hope to give your kids, or sell for a profit later. Good branding is extremely important. If you’re just doing lawn maintenance for a side gig while you finish a law degree. You get the point.
Invest more, if you want more value, more flexibility, more distinctive, more memorable, more unique.
Choosing Your Logo Designer
There are two ways to look at this stage:
- Lone Gunman Design
- Hire an Advertising Consultant
Many people make the assumption that they will save money having cousin Joe or the neighbor’s kid to do the job. If you choose this path, saving money may or may not be the case.
It depends on many factors, let’s look closer at the pros and cons:
Lone Gunman Logo Design
What will be important is to know what they will bring to the table.
The fact is, no matter how good they are. They are but ONE PERSON, with a SINGLE MIND, with singular experiences in life and in talent.
Again, in some cases a fantastic logo is the result of a drunken stuper, three girls, an all nighter and five napkins. But, this is NOT a reliable strategy. It is pure fluke when it pays off.
For the rest of us, it is better to plan for success. That said, experts bring experience and in many cases much more to the game. For example, the foregoing knowledge of design factors, color meanings, symbol meanings, and a hundred other things mentioned above.
That said, unless you have the luck of the Irish, it’s better to seek a professional designer or consider the corporation strategy. If you do decide you want to go small, then CLICK HERE for more about selecting a one-on-one personal designer.
More Bang For Your Buck
For those of you who want a better, more reliable option. We highly recommend choosing JingleSPOT or another agency that brings many designers to the game.
In this case, you have the advantage of a corporation to hold responsible for delivering what you want. While they have the flexibility to use any 1-2-3 or more artists they like to service your request.
For example, we generally match the job order to the artists that we believe have the right corner for the customer. We then order 3 or more draft ideas and present them to our client. The selected draft, is then tweaked to the client’s specifications by one of the draft artists, or perhaps a completely different artist.
Regardless of the artists involved, we guarantee satisfaction. In some cases, this means we redo the work more than once, using any number of artists. With one goal. A happy customer.
In the end, we generally deliver a product that will be of higher quality, greater longevity, better recognition, more appropriate and you will deal with one agent from start to finish, providing you will first class, consistent, reliable service and communication.