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Logos are big talkers. I love weighing in on the logo design process for my ventures, because my logo is how I’m going to introduce myself to my audience, and I want to make sure that the right message is being sent.
But “the right message” is really just one aspect of what a great logo should communicate.
Whether we’re aware of it or not, our logos are saying far more than just the name of our company. And it’s vital to understand not only what our logos are telling our viewers, but how they’re saying it.
Accurate communication is vital to reach the audience and draw them to your business.
Here are five things that a good logo should communicate.
Positive first impression
As entrepreneurs, we all know the importance of making a good first impression. And we know that we have only milliseconds to work with to achieve that goal.
Logos are the “first impression” for a brand. So good logo design will be legible, readable, understandable, and eye-catching such as the Starbucks logo. If your audience can’t read your logo or understand the name or purpose of your organization like the London Olympics 2012 logo, you’ll make an impression — but it won’t be a good one.
Double and triple check the kerning and sizing of the typography in your company logo design, and get feedback on how identifiable your graphic is to make sure that your logo is making the best first impression it can.
Understanding of the audience
It still boggles my mind to see the tone-deafness of some logo designs. Logos for sleek, modern companies with jokey or gimmicky graphics. Logos for companies that provide services for professionals that use off-puttingly bright rainbow colors like NBC. Logos for childrens’ brands that are disparagingly dull like the Bon Bebe logo.
It’s absolutely vital to align the design of your logo with the target audience. Not only will it be more likely to draw the demographic you’re looking for, it communicates that you understand them.
For example, if I’m starting up a company that caters to design professionals, I don’t want a poorly-designed logo (who does?) because that would suggest that my brand doesn’t have the proper respect for the professionalism of my audience.
Personality of the brand
A lot of good communication in logo design centers on how well it projects the brand personality of the brand. For each of my ventures, I’ve spent a long time brainstorming what personality traits the company would have if it was an actual person — edgy, preppy, fun, quirky, straightforward, honest, and anything else that fits.
I communicate those details to my design team, and together we make sure that the finished logo design accurately reflects that personality.
It goes back to that “introduction” that I mentioned earlier. A company logo should basically say something along the lines of, “Hi, I’m Brand ABC, and I’m the fun one in the group.”
…or whatever personality traits fit your brand best.
Of course, none of us want to get confused with the competition, so our logos need to stand out as different, too. That’s a design element that demands consideration — a unique logo communicates that the brand behind it is also unique.
This can be touch and go because different elements can mark the logo as “unique” depending on the trends within your area of expertise. Color choice, graphic style, selection of typography — any and all of these should be leveraged to separate the logo from your competitors.
Professionalism is my final point, not because it’s least important, but because I want to really hit home on this one.
A great logo design can be absolutely scuttled by poor execution. If you’re not a graphic artist — and not many entrepreneurs have the time to do all their own branding — then make sure to work with a professional so you end up with a professional result. Everything from the file type to ensuring that it shows up well on different backgrounds goes into displaying professionalism; though, of course, avoiding a tone-deaf style and showing awareness of your audience, as mentioned, also contributes.
Logos are loudspeakers
Sending your logo out into the world to represent your brand is like giving a child a loudspeaker and sending him door to door. He’s going to say more than you bargained for.
That’s why it’s so important to be aware of the details, context, and connotations of what your logo is saying, and how it is being said.