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Friendly. Strong. Passionate. Forward-thinking. Geeky. Romantic. Serious.
These are all things a logo can say about a company, product, event or charitable organization. Logos are the first thing most people see when coming in contact with a new business or product and also serve as immediate reminders to repeat viewers. They are a visual representation of a company’s offerings and ideology and as such, are a critically important piece of brand identity which reflects many key aspects of the products and services they represent.
The best logos are simple, unique, appropriate, adaptable and, most importantly, memorable. Logos that incorporate overly used icons can hurt a company’s brand, while logos that are difficult to replicate or adapt to different applications due their complexity can equally confuse customers, clients and prospects.
For an example of how to do it right, look no further than the unveiling of the new Yahoo logo last week. The company’s logo is still very recognizable with its friendly purple color and exclamation point, but the new “whimsical, yet sophisticated” look Marissa Meyer and her team put together is very clean, modern and crisp.
So what does your logo say about you? Here are 3 things to consider the next time you update your logo or create a new one.
There are two things to keep in mind when thinking about an image or icon to represent your company. The first is that the image does not have to physically represent the products and services you provide. Starbucks doesn’t have a coffee cup or even a coffee bean in its logo, and they’re not doing too poorly for themselves, are they? Secondly, you don’t have to have an image. Many of the most recognizable and valuable logos don’t have an image component at all. Coca-Cola is an easy example here. They have been using their unique script-only logo for more than 125 years quite successfully. Should you opt for an image in your logo, be sure that it has meaning behind it, even if that is only a feeling or attitude you want to convey. Lastly, don’t use globes, arrows or light bulbs; they are a visual cliché.
The color of a logo is very important. Colors represent feelings and emotions very well and have different meanings to different people in different cultures. When settling on a color, it is important to consider your target audience. Are they here in the U.S. or abroad? Young or old? Male, female or gender neutral? Blue is the most popular color for business logos because it is almost universally liked and conveys a sense of stability and trust. Red carries more energy and vitality, bringing with it a more passionate vibe. Green is calming and evocative of nature or wealth, depending on the hue. Orange indicates friendliness, confidence and productivity. Yellow is attention-grabbing and full of optimism, positivity and warmth. Purple is a bit more varied – it can feel creative, mysterious or even aristocratic, depending on the context. Good old brown is as dependable and down-to-earth as the soil it brings to mind. When selecting a color, it is generally advisable to limit your logo to no more than two, as another key design aspect of a logo is that it should still be recognizable when printed in black and white, and on either a dark or light background. Your industry is also an important concern. For example, legal firms almost exclusively work with blues and grays.
The third major component of logo design that can say something about company is the font and typography used. As with images, keep in mind that you don’t have to have words in your logo. Apple, Target and Shell Oil are all logos that eschew names, yet still instantly evoke the companies they represent. That being said, the vast majority of logos do involve text and there are a number of options when considering how you’d like your company or product name printed. Text can be all caps, all lowercase, italicized, bold, serif, sans-serif or developed completely from scratch. The key is to ensure that the font matches the brand. Strength comes from big, broad words; class, style and heritage resonate from cursive scripts; and innovation and forward movement are shown with slanted text. The style of your type needs to tell the world you’re your brand is all about.
While your logo may give potential customers and prospects an idea of what your company stands for, it won’t tell them all the details. To do that, you need prepared strategic communications. To help you with them, download our free strategic communication plan template and make certain your target audiences receive effective messaging.
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