Case Study: The Multiple Roles of A Logo
Any web designer knows that every important thing should be added on the homepage of a website and it should be bold and big. Altogether, not everything that is small is implicitly negligible. Well, a considerable part of the designers and the majority of the clients consider that what is bold and big is important while the rest is ignorable.
I consider that the vocation of the designers is to convince people that every small detail is important. Here, we advised the readers many times that small details make the big difference. Once again, we warn you that on long term perspective, the small details are capital for the “health” of a project.
Usually, logos are small and not very bold. Following the aforementioned misconception, it has almost no importance! Of course, it’s not true! A logo is the perfect example to illustrate that the physical size isn’t a reliable indicator of the importance. It’s small, but it has a very important role on multiple fronts.
I have faced reticent clients that disregard the importance of a logo and I am aware that it’s very difficult to change mentalities, but a good logo designer should be able to convince them. Having a good communication with the reticent clients is one of the key factors into this apparently complicated situation. A working solution is to let people know that a logo isn’t just few pixels situated on the left part of the header. Let’s explore together the multiple roles of a logo!
#1. The Design Role
Yeah, willing or not, a logo is part of a website! Consequently, it should match the website where is added (if there is a website). Anyway, the correct approach is to firstly establish the logo and secondly to create the website. Life isn’t perfect and sometimes the things are inverted!
A logo is built by taking into account the rules of design, the same as the layout or any kind of design project. Therefore, it is a valid reason to sustain that a logo has a design role. Much more, some basic rules of design were specially tailored for logo design. A good logo supposes a good color scheme, usually based on no more than three colors, the typography must be simple and effective and so on.
Now, I hope that it’s clear why a logo has a design component that can’t be neglected.
#2. The Marketing Role
If the design role is based on the material aspect of a logo, the marketing role is exclusively related to the immaterial aspect. It doesn’t mean that these roles are separated: a successful logo must have a design that is suitable to the marketing policy. A wonderful and serious black and white logo, no matter how well designed is, won’t be a success if it’s destined for an after-school foundation that has as main target kids.
Nowadays, even the most qualitative item ever created, without a strong marketing policy, won’t be recognised by clients and eventually bought. A logo is the item that makes the difference. The idea is simple: let’s suppose that you have in front of you a wonderful car but you don’t have any idea about the manufacturer. Now, seeing a logo, let’s say – Mercedes, it instantly “informs” you about the quality and value of the car.
More pragmatically, the marketing part of a logo may be regarded as the creation of a good first impression. Taking into account that the actual economic climate is changing, marketing became even more important.
#3. The Branding Role
Any business owner prefers two loyal customers instead of four desultory ones. Here comes into the scene the branding role of a logo. In order to have loyal clients, a company/agency or a product must become the client’s “friend”. The most annoying issue is that more and more entities want to become “friends” with potential clients. It means that an individual has many temptations and the brands should “fight” for his loyalty.
A very good indicator about the “friendship” between a company or product and a common individual is the recognition of the logo. A person that recognises a logo is someone that has an idea about the team and the values behind the respective logo. This is the premise of a good “friendship”.
Under these circumstances it is crystal clear why a logo has an important role in branding: it’s the catalysis element of the „friendship”. If you are not convinced about this aspect, I recommend checking some promos of Coca-Cola or Pepsi and you will see their logos being very bold.
I hope that I explained clearly enough these roles of a logo, but why are these important? A logo can be designed without having in mind these ideas, or not?
Partially it is true, a logo can be created without keeping in mind the above ideas, but a real expert is aware that this separation of the logo’s roles is helpful. We previously presented our manner of creating logos. Of course, it is applied by many other designers or creative agencies. Some aspects were obvious, such as creating the digital file of the logo using software solutions as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, while others were strange, at least for amateurs. For example, sketching a logo using a paper and a pen sounds a little bit too “old-fashioned” but in fact it’s a vital step for the marketing role. A black and white drawing highlights the concept of the logo because there is nothing to distract the mind of the viewer. A logo that is attractive even in this format, it will most certainly have a strong impact over potential clients.
Also, a universal recommendation in logo design is to create a timeless logo. Maybe you will ask yourself, why timeless? Why not create logos to be only in trend? The answer is simple: due to the branding role. People can’t attach to a company or product that is always changing the visual identity because they won’t be able to identify it!
Our personal ambition is to convince the designers, including the logo creators, that everything in design is logical and learning by heart or ignoring the theory is not the correct solution. The above mentioned separation isn’t overcomplicating; it’s a step further to understand the inner essence of logo design. It will be great to have your opinion about the inner essence of logo design or about the necessity of dividing the roles of logo.
– Written by Daniel –