When you consider a brand, one of the first things that likely comes to mind is the logo. A “logo” is often made of two components – a logotype and a logomark. A logotype is made of a word or words (usually the name of a business) that are designed in a customized way, whereas a logomark is an identifying mark or symbol that doesn’t contain the business name – it’s simply a graphic image that represents the business. While there is definitely more to branding than just the logo, a well-designed logo can play an integral role in building a brand image. Here’s a quick list of 6 considerations to make in the development of an effective logo:
- Simplicity: It is critical for a logo to get the idea across quickly. A logotype is not only the name of the company, product or organization – it’s the voice of the brand. Most of today’s major logos can be identified by the logomark alone. We see these logomarks everyday of our lives and they stand on their own without text or logotype (e.g., Apple, Nike, AT&T, Target).
- Timelessness: Avoid trends for the sake of trends. Few things date a logotype more than choosing a poor typeface just because it is popular. A logo should be less about the latest fashion and more akin to a flag or a signature.
- Uniqueness: Create a point of differentiation within the product category. Does your logo stand out and set you apart from your competition, or does it get lost in a sea of similarity?
- Appropriateness: Does the logo convey the intended brand image? Is it appropriate for the target audience? Does it reflect the culture and values of the brand?
- Color: Emotion plays a factor in how we interpret the colors we see to some degree. The color you choose should be carefully considered based on the industry in which you place your brand. What emotion do you want your logo and brand to communicate? Does this color convey the meaning you are going for? Could the color mean something else to other cultures? Do not go color-crazy – four-color logos can easily create visual clutter and make it hard to create a reverse version. Ninety-five percent of the top brands use one or two colors.
- Media Versatility: A strong logo should hold up well and convey meaning across the full spectrum of uses. Print, environmental signage, digital media and video are all possible media outlets for your logo. If the logo is on a billboard, will it be recognized at a distance? Can it be projected on a wall or screen? How about being reduced to an extreme measure? Not all logos have to crunch down to a quarter-inch within a printed piece or 50 pixels on a website, but if your mark is still legible or holding up in extreme measures, it should stand up in most situations. As a design instructor once said, “You should be able to silkscreen your logo on carpet!”