Branding is not complete without a logo. According to Paul Rand, creator of logos for IBM, ABC, UPS and others, “If, in the business of communications, ‘image is king,’ the essence of this image, the logo, is the jewel in its crown.” In this post, we’ll break down the essentials of memorable logo design.
A logo can spell out what the company stands for. Heineken beer is a good example of this. Or it can be very, very simple. Take Time Magazine. This easy-to-recognize logo is nothing more than the magazine’s name in a consistent font and color.
What gives a logo power is the connection that’s forged between the graphic and the company’s image. Take Nike’s swoosh. Without years of careful branding, that graphic alone would mean nothing. But show the symbol to most people and they’ll identify the company and the slogan “Just Do It.”
Just about any image could be used as a logo, but the best logos share certain characteristics.
Know Your Audience
When it comes to marketing, clearly identifying the target audience or audiences is paramount. This is absolutely true for logo design. Knowing the audience informs choices that range from colors to level of “cleverness.”
Express Values that Matter to the Target Audience
Continuing with the Nike example: Here’s a company that sells sports gear, and the graphic swish expresses a sense of motion and energy. Coupled with the slogan “Just Do It,” this logo appeals to the kind of “get-up-and-go” consumers who buy the brand.
Make it Easy to Recognize
Apple, McDonalds and FedEx all have logos that stand out. Even before branding made them icons, these images were memorable.
Make Sure It’s Original
With so many logos out there, it’s easy to copy another company’s image without even realizing it. Once you have an idea, take a look at logos of companies in your industry. Just to be sure you haven’t “borrowed” elements of a competitor’s logo.
Make it Versatile
The best logos can be varied for different purposes while remaining recognizable. The logo may need to display differently on a product, a website, or on Twitter. DreamWorks takes a creative approach to their logo. They dramatically vary the background, and other elements, according to the movie they are promoting.
Make it Appealing
Logos should be aesthetically pleasing to the target audience. Make ’em want to wear your logo on a t-shirt.
Keep it Up to Date
As times change, logos should change as well. There’s a difference between “classic” and “dated.” IBM, for example, has gone through numerous updates since 1924, yet each iteration has the IBM “feel.”
When designing or updating a logo, it’s important to get feedback from members of the target audience. And to build awareness among customers and potential customers, logos should be displayed prominently and consistently.
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