A lot of companies consider logos to be their most valuable asset. Lots of customers will recognize world-renown logos without knowing which company they belong to. A logo is the essence of a company’s soul – at the heart of establishing a brand and the first thing your audience will attempt to relate to.
Your logo won’t be worth as much as a lot of famous logos at the start. Most companies go over a series of iterations before finally settling on a logo that they stick to over long periods. And even then, there’s still no guarantee that the logo won’t change.
The important thing is to have one in the first place. No matter what niche or segment of the market you’re involved in, a logo is a requisite no brand can afford not to have.
The first step to creating a killer logo is to have an idea. Luckily for you, the internet has more information and logos than you could consume in an entire lifetime. There are different apps you could use to design simple logos, some free, others paid for. These come with the fonts, images and, for more complex apps, transitions you might need to make your app more welcoming.
If you’re a designer and want to create the logo from scratch, logo building sites exist for that very reason. Do a quick search for the word ‘logo’ and hundreds of thousands of options will pop up. Just be sure to choose the best one lest your plans might go awry. Go over them and find something that resonates with you. You can then use that as a base for building your logo.
Don’t be afraid of copying someone’s logo and making incremental changes to it, to begin with. This exercise is meant to give you a sense of direction and perhaps bring to life a revolutionary idea you might have.
Different people get inspiration from various places. If the internet doesn’t work, participate in an activity that exposes you to colors and various aspects of design. Go for a hike, visit a museum or pick up your favorite design book to give you the initial kick.
Perform competitor analysis
One of the most commonly overlooked strategies for building great logos is by performing competitor analysis. Every company faces the same shortcomings and runs into the same barriers when designing a logo. Look into your close competition and determine what they did to finally get out of a slump.
This may sound counterintuitive because the whole purpose of a logo is to set you apart from competitors. The main thing to remember when utilizing this trick is to stay away from design aspects that could bring any similarity between their logo and your own.
The point is to observe several different logos and find interesting takeaways from each of them. These takeaways can then be modified in your own style, customized with your own colors and given a final creative twist that grants it that desirable connection that bridges a gap between visual stimulation and brand association.
Competitor analysis is also important because it helps you find your competition’s weak spots and identify your own strengths.
Choose the right type of logo
People that have outsourced the logo creation process in the past have probably been asked the question, ‘what kind of logo do you want?’ It’s a simple question, but the answers that are normally given are far from it. You need to have a simple idea of what your logo will look like and how it can be represented.
There are seven main types of logos that you can use. You probably already recognize brands that utilize them in real life.
- A wordmark is the simplest and cheapest kind of logo. This is the representation of a company simply using a word. For instance, Samsung or Coca-Cola. As simple as it may seem, however, crucial parts of picking a proper wordmark is having the right fonts and making sure the company name isn’t too long.
- A monogram/lettermark is the kind of logo companies like NASA and CNN use. These are the best solution for companies with long names or whose names can be easily abbreviated. They are a favorite among marketers because changing or revamping them is easy.
- A pictorial is the representation of a company using simple pictures that don’t need any further explanation. Take Nike’s iconic ‘Swoosh’, for instance. It is instantly recognizable across the world and doesn’t need words to explain.
- An emblem logo is a lot like a pictorial but involves more fine-tuning. It’s the most common type of logo and involves the use of a symbol to represent the business. Often, this symbol doesn’t mean anything in itself but its meaning is brought out with the added context of the business. Good examples of the same include BMW and Mercedes.
- Single-letter logos are also a popular choice among modern businesses. As the name suggests, it’s the use of a single letter to represent the whole brand. Companies known to make use of it include Pinterest and Google. The most important thing to remember is not to go overboard in customizing the letter. Pick the right font, colors, and background to make it instantly recognizable.
- A mascot logo would be the same applied by businesses like Wendy’s or Pringles. It’s the use of a human/humanoid/animal character to appeal to your audiences. This works especially well if you’re targeting children.
- Combination logos, if you can guess, it’s are a combination of one or more of these types of logos. Most companies tend to have at least a pictorial/emblem and a wordmark ready for use, eg. Amazon, Nike, Microsoft, etc.
Be simple, creative and flexible
A good logo is unique and simple. A unique logo is interesting to look at and doesn’t need to be explained.
For instance, picking a man walking up a hill with a stick in one hand as the plants around consume him is going to make people ask questions. Is the hill symbolic? What about the plants? Why does he have a stick and what’s in the mountains?
Unless you have a really interesting story about how the company’s founder found inspiration by hiking the tallest mountain in the world barefoot (or something along those lines), it’s not worth the effort. It’s even worse if the story ends up being less interesting to the audience than you’d anticipated.
Aside from creativity, your logo should also be simple. It shouldn’t have too many details or colors or you’ll have trouble representing it on print media or having it printed on different backgrounds.
And while it’s useful to observe current design trends to determine what your new logo will look like, it’s important to make sure the logo doesn’t depend too heavily on them. Imagine using the words ‘dab’, ‘Yolo’ or ‘lit’ in your logo or brand name. Not only does this alienate younger audiences, it firmly places you in the past.
Why is it important to have a well-designed logo?
A logo is primarily a visual tool to help customers identify your brand. It is the representation of your brand in and of itself in words and perhaps images. It sets you apart from other companies and creates a whole personality around the brand.
Take Minute Maid, for example. In 2009, they completely overhauled their logo to make it more consistent around different cultures in the world. As you might guess, ‘Minute Maid’ translates very differently in Spanish than it does in French. How can the brand be universally recognized even after translation, then? Simple: a good logo.
It sets you apart from the competition
With nearly every niche covered, every company in the world faces some form of competition. Consider a world where branding was not allowed on products. Customers would simply walk into the shop and pick any bottle of soda, for instance, because they all look the same.
Branding differentiates you from your competition – for better or for worse. Customers tend to show loyalty to brands rather than products. Brands are, in turn, associated with good or bad quality, not the product itself.
It helps to create an emotional connection
An emotional connection with a brand can be built in several ways. A logo helps achieve this by creating instant recognition with the brand. For instance, people will immediately recognize the Jordan brand and associate it with quality.
This could be because they love Jordan himself as a player or grew up in a household that placed significance on the Jordan brand for whatever reason. The latter of these reasons is more common with food, where people buy a certain brand because it’s ‘what I’m used to.’ Companies that heavily rely on this tactic include Coca Cola and Unilever.
A logo serves as a sort of connection between the inside of the company and the outside. It gives people that would otherwise never have a chance to understand what you represent a new opportunity to interact with your brand.
It’s important to remember that creating a logo and establishing it takes time. Don’t feel jealous about Coca Cola or Nike too much. They have had several years’ worth of testing and iteration to get where they are today. For you, the most important thing is to start, test, retest and iterate.