What’s the big deal with a logo? Just pick an image or whip up something and slap it on a business card. Done! Onto the next thing, right?
Choosing a distinctive company logo is one of the most important things a business can do to brand itself and establish a unique, eye-catching identity. A good logo gives a company credibility and gets it noticed, and getting noticed means attracting prospects, which, hopefully, turn into customers. There is a lot riding on a company’s logo.
Conversely, a poorly-chosen logo can cause a prospect to choose a competitor, bad, or drive them away, worse. One good example is the French cook giving the OK sign while winking. This stock image has been used by countless pizza parlors and restaurants and has become a visual cliché, telling us nothing about how good the food is. In fact, if the business owner puts such little effort into his logo, how much effort does he put into his food? Or service?
Another example is the name Dun-Rite, as in Dun-Rite Towing, Dun-Rite Roofing and Dun-Right Air Conditioning. Not only are the two words misspelled, but the name itself shows a complete lack of consideration and imagination, chosen almost as an afterthought. What would this say about the quality of the work?
Seeing Is Believing
Human beings are visual, and react on a subconscious, emotional level to images they see. Various studies have indicated that people remember only about twenty to forty percent of what they read but seventy to eighty percent of what they see. Images that people see trigger a subconscious, emotional reaction in people, and buying a product or service is largely an emotionally driven process.
Another factor to consider is that due to the vast amount of information available on the Internet, including product and company reviews, eighty percent of the sales process is already over by the time a customer reaches out to a company to buy a product or service. Consumers have already done their research. The deciding factor that remains is an emotional factor; feeling more comfortable with contacting one business over another. You want consumers to feel more comfortable about choosing your business than your competitor’s.
Important Qualities of a Successful Logo
- Easily recognizable (not confused with another logo or completely different concept)
- Easily reproducible for use on business cards, patches, key chains, clothing, other items
- Representative of services offered and the culture of the business
- Unique from other logos of businesses in the same industry
- Visually appealing
Examples of Good Logos
The winged sneaker says all you need to know about how this company views itself and its rubber products
In the Amazon logo, the arrow forms a smile, a subconscious design gimmick that is particularly clever
Disney’s famous logo is child-like and whimsical; you know right away that fun and entertainment is this company’s business
The famous Batman logo looks like a bat, but also fangs as well; the logo conveys two messages in one and is instantly recognizable
Look between the E and the X; you’ll see an arrow, a subconscious design cue indicating speed and accuracy in what this company does
The Rolex crown above the name tells you all you need to know about this brand: the height of luxury and status, hovering over the name
Examples of Bad Logos
A logo should most definitely not look like a sex act, as this logo, for The Institute For Oriental Studies, unfortunately does. The red sun and the Oriental curved-roof architecture, indicating Japan, make sense, but not the way they’re arranged
The logo for the Office of Government Commerce looks okay…until you rotate it clockwise…it becomes another sex act. I’m sure the person who designed this logo didn’t notice the unfortunate imagery until it was too late
What do you see in this logo? Two dancers? Or a topless woman? Maybe that was the intended effect, but if the dance classes are designed for juniors then the imagery is definitely wrong here. After noticing the two breasts, you can’t un-see them.
I understand the impression this logo meant to convey, but the arrangement of the elements conveys something else altogether
Overused Logo Elements
Some logo elements have been used so often they no longer serve the purpose of making a company stand out, defeating the whole purpose of a logo in the first place
The letters of a company in blocks shows a complete lack of imagination and doesn’t tell us anything about what these companies do, or what they stand for.
The roof motif has similarly been overdone. A company using this design could be a contractor, a realtor, a property manager, carpenter, the list goes on.
The name through a circle…what does that mean? What is the circle supposed to represent here?
The tree imagery could mean many things, and doesn’t tell someone at a glance what the business is all about. It could be anything from a medical practice to an environmentally friendly construction company
Steps In Creating An Original Logo
Choosing the Best Imagery
What does the company do? What type of “personality” does it have? What concepts represent what the company stands for? Is the company’s culture whimsical, or serious? Technical or artistic?
The larger and better known a company is, the less it relies on its logo to attract potential customers (think of the Nike “swoosh”, the blue Ford oval, the Mickey Mouse icon for Disney, McDonald’s golden arches, etc).
The smaller a company is, the more vital it is that the logo communicates what it does and what it stands for. This image is what’s going to stand out in your customer’s mind, what they will remember when deciding to call your business or your competitor’s.
Narrowing Down the Image Elements
The logo designer has an initial consultation with the client and whips up some extremely rough pencil concept sketches, trying out different elements, and different arrangements for the client to approve. At this stage, the client identifies elements he or she likes, and makes suggestions for changes.
The logo designer creates more refined sketches that take into consideration client input, and then shows them to the client again. This process can be repeated several times until a final version is approved.
Final mock-up of logo
The logo designer creates the final logo design in either Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, a process that can take, depending on the complexity of the logo, at least four to six hours, and very easily as long as eight to twenty hours, collectively. The logo is created in several formats:
- A Photoshop file, preserving all the layers and settings so the image can be modified later as needed (colors changed, images added/changed/removed, etc.). This will be a very large sized computer file, as all the digital information is saved.
- A vector file which is what printers, graphic artists and web designers would need to place the logo on-line and on business cards, signage and other promotional material. This also would be a very large file, so that when it is enlarged it retains its clarity and sharpness.
- A low-resolution jpeg image that can be easily emailed and shared on-line without taking too long to load.
What should a logo cost?
Creating eye-catching, original logos is a definite skill and is not an easy process, requiring not only computer experience, but the skills of an artist and well as a graphic designer. Someone who has skills in all three areas are usually in higher demand.
Large companies can expect to pay thousands of dollars for a logo package that, once created, will be used literally everywhere – business cards, websites, exterior signage on buildings, promotional material, packaging, invoices and business forms, shirts, keychains, the list goes on.
When discussing what will be charged for designing a custom logo, there are several factors that must be considered:
- Is there existing image files the designer can work with, or will the logo have to be created from scratch?
- How soon is the completed logo required? Keep in mind the process requires the active participation of the client; if the client is unavailable during this process, it will take longer
- Will there be future modifications to the logo? This would usually entail additional costs, unless a package price is worked out.
- How many colors will the logo have, and will it still be recognizable in black and white?
- Will the logo be allowed to be used by the logo designer for promotional purposes?
In conclusion, choosing and creating a logo is a core part of a company’s identity. Take your time and put a lot of thought into it; this is what your prospects and customers will remember, much more than the flowery verbiage on your website or pamphlets. Your competitors may not have spent much time on their logos – this is an area where you can gain a competitive edge. Don’t waste it.
Article copyright 2015 Magnum Arts