I recognized that clients feel often a little bit confused to pay more than expected for something that looks pretty simple at first. I set this post up to justify the costs and to explain some logo 101 by sharing my design process.
The truth about even the simplest logo is that it radiates values. A good logo should be recognizable and inspires trust, admiration and loyalty. A logo is your unique visual identifier and therefor pretty important to your brand’s recognition.
To craft such an identifier in a careful way I always ask myself during the design process if my proposals meet the following principles:
- Is the logo simple enough?
- Is the logo memorable?
- Is the logo enduring?
- Is the logo versatile enough?
- Is the logo appropriate?
When you are a client and need to pick a logo you should ask yourself the same questions. Let me explain them in detail:
Simple logos are often easily recognized, incredibly memorable and the most effective in conveying the requirements of the client. The most successful brands in the world run with a simple logo.
An effective logo design is memorable. This should be achieved by having not only a simple logo but also an appropriate one. Nevertheless, there might be some situations or branding strategies where the logo can be totally inappropriate to appear more memorable.
A good logo should not follow any trends. Did you see the Pepsi vs CocaCola comparison? CocaCola runs with the same logo since the beginning of the 90s and adjusted it slightly over time. Pepsi seemed not to be pretty satisfied with their versions in the past which resulted in many different iterations. This comparison shows how a logo can transport subconsciously values. The winner for trust and loyalty is clearly CocaCola.
This is a highly underestimated point. A logo should work across different mediums and sizes without losing its effectivity. I always try to prove if a logo is still effective when it is:
- set in one color
- resized to a tiny piece
- resized to a laaarge piece
- displayed with reversed colors (ie. light logo on dark background)
This process assures that the logo remains flexible.
As a client you should prove this as well to make sure you purchase a logo that will work for use-cases you might not even think of yet.
A logo design should be appropriate for its intended purpose. This means that the logo should support the overall branding strategy of the product, company or individual. For example, a law firm’s logo should look more serious than a logo for a festival.
Here are some pretty inappropriate examples.
Appropriate means not that the logo needs to show what a brand does. The Apple logo does not show a computer nor does the Nike logo show a sneaker. A logo is more an identifier like a fingerprint.
„Should a logo be self-explanatory? It is only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation that a logo takes on any real meaning. A logo derives its meaning and usefulness from the quality of that which it symbolizes. If a company is second rate, the logo will eventually be perceived as second rate. It is foolhardy to believe that a logo will do its job immediately, before an audience has been properly conditioned.“ – Paul Rand
The designer needs to find out the client’s ideals and beliefs and incorporate these aspects in the design process while inheriting the 5 design principles described above. This is a time-intensive puzzle and a lot of work. I hope I was able to dispel doubts about the true value of a logo.