“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare famously asked. But that was hundreds of years ago. Perhaps the more prevalent question today is “what’s in a logo?”
Logos serve as markers and road signs, stamps of quality and approval, and, to a large degree, the face of your product or service.
Big companies spend millions on protecting the integrity and copyright of their logos and produce volumes of guides about its correct usage and application. Logos have value but they also add value. This interesting article offers great insight into great logos.
And just because you’re not McDonald’s, 3M, American Express or Swatch, doesn’t mean you should skimp on a logo. Any business or brand’s logo should be memorable, iconic and reflective of the values and ethos it has been designated to embody.
Getting to the right logo is a process that requires at least some financial investment.
With our One Day Company logo we commissioned three different designers and went through countless iterations before settling on the one we did (and that’s not counting the hours of discussions among ourselves about the various elements of the logo). Eventually we also came to understand that one builds value into a logo. A logo in and of itself, however striking or attractive it may be, is also just a graphic and the business/brand needs to give meaning to that.
There are endless things to consider in designing a logo: colours, fonts, graphics, symbols, words, shapes, meaning, originality and suitability.
But as the “face” of your brand or business – it’s most distinguishing marque – it is worth having professionally designed. Forget the “free logo design software” you find online. Any logo designer worth his or her salt (… or logo, rather) understands these concepts that inform the creation of a memorable logo:
- Balance and proportion
- Font families
- Design scalability
- White space
- Information hierarchy
In fact, if your logo designer doesn’t casually throw these terms into the conversation consider another designer!
There are countless lists on “what makes a great logo” (Google it!), which can be narrowed down to 5 key points on what a logo needs to be:
- Simple, yet unique
- Versatile and adaptable
- Appropriate and fit-to-purpose
- Timeless and classic (avoid “trendy” designs)
- Works across media
Simplicity is particularly important as the other factors can easily be built on, or stem from that. As the renowned designer behind the “I Love New York” logo Milton Glaser said: “You want to move the viewer in a perception so that when they first look [at the logo] … they get the idea because the act between seeing and understanding is critical.”
And last, but not least, it must feel right. You’ll know it when you see it. Then work hard at giving it meaning.