Three Keys to Creating
an Effective Logo
Getting noticed by customers can be a challenge, and when it comes to first impressions a logo can make or break it. Today’s tech-savvy marketplace is aggressive; an effective logo is the key to capturing the attention of your target market, and of course crushing the competition doesn’t hurt either. It’s often difficult to know where to start when it comes to creating a new logo, brand or identity. If you’re ramping up to create a successful logo that stands apart from the rest, this post emphasizes best practices – for designers and clients – when working together.
Your logo is the most important element of your company’s identity. It ultimately serves as the primary visual touch point and initial voice of your business. It leaves a lasting impression on your customers, one that’s hopefully in line with the core values of your brand. Marketing collateral and supporting graphics follow this theme, reinforcing your company’s visual identity and brand strategy.
Effective logos embrace 3 key principles:
At its core, your logo is the shining symbol that represents your company, product, or services identity. It is a defining mark, one that subtly conveys a clear first impression of your company’s values. It sets the tone or vibe of your brand by speaking directly to the unique personality of your target group.
Simplicity ensures it’s instantly communicated, easily recognized, and memorable. Complicated designs can overload the viewer and are hard to quickly descipher, which doesn’t always leave a lasting impression on the mind of your audience. Simplicity also guarantees it’s versatile – how will it look when it is resized to meet the demands of different environments and mediums? It must be equally effective when printed on a business card, web page, T-shirt, or even plastered on the side a 5-story building… you just never know.
A powerful logo is distinctly exclusive. It stands alone. Being appropriate, simple, and unique will ensure your logo is different and not easily confused with other symbols, icons, or even the competition. Avoid cliché and overused imagery, research your competitors, and know your audience.
How do you ensure your logo meets these requirements?
For the designer, logo design is an iterative process. It begins with a thorough understanding of the core values of the business. To ensure the designer achieves the big-picture, it’s important clients and designers work together. Beyond the initial consultation, the first phase of the creative process is brainstorming. Collaborating during this phase helps you, the client, save time and money, and also helps the designer zero in on what makes your identity unique. The more information you bring to the table the better – you know their business best!
The first step is educating the designer about your business. To lay the groundwork, begin by defining your brand. You might be thinking, what is my brand? Your company’s unique personality defines your brand. Simply put, your brand is a mixture of three elements: your product or service, your company’s culture, and how the product or service is delivered to your customer. To further break it down, the definition of your brand should include a discussion regarding your values, competitors, vision, target market, mission, and stylistic attitudes. This will really get the gears turning for both you and your designer, and with this information collected you can move forward knowing your business is well represented.
Start by brainstorming on paper. Write down a list of keywords you feel define your business. It’s a free-form uninhibited activity – relax and let the ideas flow! Write down anything that comes to mind, you can fine-tune later. This method is referred to as a “brain dump”. Then, with the help of your designer, narrow the focus to emphasize images or symbols that stylistically represent those keywords. Extracting visual ideas is the designer’s job foremost, but as mentioned earlier, the more initial input you give the more effective the process. This establishes a clear direction for the designer and ensures your company’s identity is clearly represented.
Certain people find it more effective to visualize ideas than express their thoughts with words. Creatives refer to this visual brainstorming technique as “mind-mapping”. If you’re inspired more so by sketching than writing, you may want to give it a try. It’s a visual method that encourages the flow of interconnected ideas stemming from a primary or centralized idea.
Getting started with a logo design project can be time consuming for both you and your designer, so be open minded, don’t get stuck on one idea, and leave the artistic brilliance of creating an effective and powerful logo to… that’s right – the designer.
For a detailed look at the entire process, see my post titled “The Logo Design Process”, or click here.
Check out some of my recent logo / identity examples here.