A very simple way to communicate your brand identity to potential customers is your logo, but designing it yourself can be a mess of overly complicated decisions. If you’re stuck in this maze of confusion, the best thing you can do is to take a step back and examine the goal you are trying to achieve with your logo design task. If you are too focused on the specific design – you could unintendedly display your own personal opinions and styles, mirroring brands that aren’t in your industry, or worse yet – adding too much of your own personality. “You don’t like it? But, I really like Comic Sans!”
Remember that what you want DOES NOT MATTER as much as what your customer is looking to find.
Let me repeat that more clearly…
“What you want, does not matter as much as what your customer wants.”
This comes as a shock to many businesses, who have lived with a logo they ‘like’ for many years. Since they’ve started the business, way back in the 1980’s – they haven’t considered any changes – since they are happy with what they have. (One of my least-favorite sayings – “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?) They have a few hats, some big magnets for their trucks – but the truth is, what does the customer think of their logo?
Are you ready for the truth? The customer doesn’t care – because they are checking out your competitor’s shiny new logo. Meanwhile, your logo (and company) are fading back into the dark recesses of your customer’s memory.
- Real Estate Agents
- Food Packages
- Auto Dealers
- Gas Stations
- Shoe Companies
- Clothing Companies
- Soft drinks
These highly competitive industries are all guilty of changing/updating their logos to remain ‘top-of-mind’ in their customer’s minds. If you are in a competitive industry, think about your customer’s logo – and if it’s changed in the past five years. It doesn’t have to change much – but just enough to warrant a second-glance – because that’s all it can take to keep that logo in the mind of your customer! Have they even bothered to ask their customer if a new logo would be good for their company?
If you have an aging logo – and are wondering if it works for your company, or if a redesign would even be right for you, stop reading and ask your friends/family what they think of your current design. Post it on a social network, ask a waiter, talk to a friend at a gas station, or send a quick note to a trusted friend – and get some feedback. You might be surprised what information comes your way.
Another aspect to keep in mind, is that there are trends which could age your logo prematurely – such as gradients, beveling/embossing, or vintage (intentional aging) filters or overlays. Just search for “old logos” online, and you’ll find some examples, which have (no doubt) had to be redesigned in less than ten years.
If you want a logo that will stand the test of time – make sure that it works in solid black & white, without any colors, textures, shading, shadows, etc. With all these options removed, is the logo spaced properly – letters set with proper kerning, and generally appealing? If so, that’s great – but make sure that you aren’t being fooled into a ‘great’ logo that is just covered in shadows/textures or more options obscuring the true design.
Size can also be a factor in logo design – as it truly matters what you are going to be printing the logo on, when picking width of lettering or details in the logo itself. If you plan on printing the logo on pencils or pens, you would think that it wouldn’t be a good idea to put too much detail into your logo. When you decide on a good logo – this should be kept in mind, that you don’t know what you’ll be putting the logo on in the long term. Imagine T-Shirts, business cards, coffee mugs, signs, billboards, newspaper ads, and more options. If any of those might seem odd – you could come up with an ‘alternate’ logo, which could add either a border to bigger elements, or remove detailed text on smaller options.