A logo can easily be thought of as a small aspect when establishing a brand. Many think of advertising strategies and promotions to attract and keep customers, hiring staff, creating mission statements and much more, before even looking at the logo design. The brand identity can simply be overlooked.
Often, the logo is something that is created without any strategic thought or planning. But, the fact is that your logo matters, and your branding heavily influences customers in either a positive or negative way. Some skeptics have argued that a logo’s sole purpose is to distinguish a company from its competitors. While this may be true, both real world observations and psychological studies have shown this to be only part of the story.
It’s very important to remember that there’s a difference between your company and your brand. While you can control the perception of your company through client relationships etc, it’s impossible to completely control how consumers will react to your branding. Your company has a marketing budget and your branding should be included in this. Your service and products must be sold to clients but your branding sells itself.
What your logo says about you
Think of some of the world’s best known companies… Apple, Sony, McDonalds, Starbucks, etc. All of these companies have well known and established logos and icons. Brands that have stood the test of time and shown certain values to current and potential customers. Every single aspect and detail of your logo is saying something to your customers. Whether it’s blue, black, has sharp angles, big fonts, weird spacing – they can all contain hidden meanings.
For example, yellow portrays feelings of fun, energy and exuberance. It is associated with youth and innovation. Whereas black tends to indicate strength, power, professionalism and precision. Taking the shape into consideration – circular styles create associations with softness, indicating that a company is warm, caring and sensitive to customers’ needs. In contrast to this, angular shapes correlate to harshness, signalling that a business is tough and synonymous with durability.
Symbolism and imagery
A lot of logos are more than just lettering, shapes and colours. Logos have been used to convey meanings more powerful than words for a long while. Each of the following logos convey messages to their customers.
Starbucks’ mermaid logo
Starbucks was named after a nautical character, so the original Starbucks logo was designed to reflect the seductive imagery of the sea… to lure coffee lovers from everywhere.
Red Bulls’ charging red bulls
The Krating Daeng logo underlies its branding, with two charging bulls representing power, red signifying perseverance, and the backdrop of the sun symbolising energy.
McDonalds’ Golden Arches
Originally, real arches were part of the restaurant designs, incorporated into the chain’s logo in 1962, resembling a stylised restaurant. In the current Golden Arches logo, introduced 1968, they represent an “M” for “McDonald’s”.
An effective logo will repeatedly give customers a developing meaningful relationship with the brand, helping to increase sales and reduce customer price sensitivity. Not only does it serve as a visual representation of a particular company, but it will also reinforce the promises it makes to its customers. If the purpose of a business is to make some aspect of life easier for its clients (which we can assume is true of most businesses), a logo can become synonymous not only with a certain company or brand, but also with a certain responsibility or view.
When people see the Arm & Hammer logo, they may think of a business that can help with heavy duty cleaning. Walt Disney’s logo makes a person think of dreams coming true and imaginations running free. So when creating your logo, not only do you need to think of the lettering, fonts and imagery, you must also think of what message your logo conveys and what it shows you can do for your customers.
Tips for a positive influence
Simple: You want your logo to be easily recognisable across all marketing platforms. This is best achieved by using clear imagery and lettering.
Versatile: Your logo should easily translate from print, to web, to social media. It should be easily recognisable as the same logo across all.
Relevant: Ideally, customers should be able to make a logical connection between your logo and your products or services. It’s no good having graphics that don’t relate to who you are and what you do.
Memorable: Your logo won’t make much of a difference if people can’t remember it. A nice blend of creativity and simplicity is needed here. Wow your audience and give them something to remember.
Enduring: In addition to having your logo being memorable, you also need it to stand the test of time and have a lasting effect. All of the logos we’ve mentioned above are instantly recognisable and have been for several decades.
Your logo sends messages to current and prospective customers every time it is seen by them. People who know nothing about your company will subconsciously make connections and assumptions based on the shape, size, colour, font and design of your logo. First impressions really count. Understanding this is the first step to designing an effective logo for your company.