A key part of any business’ marketing strategy is its logo. Your logo is the public face of your company, the mark that will appear on everything from apps and websites to stationery and stickers. Making sure that your logo captures the spirit and purpose of your brand is vital.
“A company needs a logo to stand out from the crowd and differentiate itself from its competition,” said Pamela Webber, operations and marketing officer for 99designs.
“A logo is a visual queue that communicates to customers, ‘You’ve found us!'” she told the E-Commerce Times.
Your company’s name might be part of your logo, but it goes much deeper than that.
“It’s the experience and personality you want to convey to the world,” said Matoaka Winters, client director for Landor.
It’s the thing that sets you apart from your competitors and is ideally unique to your company,” she told the E-Commerce Times.
With all of that in mind, here are some tips as you go about designing and using a logo.
Look at the Big Picture
Your logo will not simply be a mark on a page, screen, or package. It will be your company’s message to the world. And to make sure you have the right message, you need to take a close look at both your customers and your company.
“The place to start is with your target demographic,” suggested Kate Austin-Avon, owner of Advokate.
“You need to find their pain points and tell them how you will solve those problems for them,” she told the E-Commerce Times. “Rather than thinking about what you personally like, you need to put yourself in your shopper’s shoes and find out what appeals to them.”
After conducting your external market research, you’ll need to turn your focus inward.
“It’s time to work on the branding,” said Austin-Avon. “Is your brand more of a jokester or more of a sage? Are you casual or formal? There are many questions to ask yourself before getting to work on the logo.”
It’s really a matter of treating logo creation as not simply a design project, but one that is tied intimately to your overall purpose, goals and mission.
“It’s imperative to have thought about your brand holistically before you get started on designing your logo,” said 99designs’ Webber. “This holistic view should take into account your mission statement as a company, your values, your desired brand personality, your target audience, and your differentiators versus the competition.”
Plan for Versatility
Logos can turn up anywhere from small screens to coffee cups, so it’s important when designing one to take versatility into account.
“Context is crucial,” said Webber. “Think about where you will be reaching your customers and where your logo will be used. For example, emblem marks can work really well for beer brewing companies, because beer labels allow the space to show these off. A great emblem can help your beer brand stand out on the shelf. Round beer mats also show these off perfectly.”
“However, if you’re an online-only, men’s shoe retailer, you might want to go with something more responsive that will look clean and simple when scaling to several screen resolutions, as well as on a smartphone app.”
It might be that you have multiple versions of your logo that will work in various contexts, and planning for this multiplicity can be part of the design process as well.
“It’s rare to be able to have a single design made and call it a day,” said Austin-Avon. “Brands these days need a social media profile, an app icon, labels, brick-and-mortar signage — there are many different configurations of a logo that are necessary.”
When to Hire a Professional
It might be that you’re comfortable designing your own logo, but even if you’re an expert designer, it can help to bring in a professional to guide the process from conception to execution.
“Attempting to design it yourself or doing it on a shoestring budget may hold you back, as a non-custom designed logo may not look credible,” explained Webber.
“It’s hard to differentiate yourself if your logo design has been purchased by 17 other businesses,” she pointed out. “Bringing in a skilled graphic designer is required to communicate a differentiated brand promise within a small — in size only — brand element such as a logo.”
A professional designer can bring, perhaps most importantly, a sense of perspective.
“A lot of times you are too close to your company to know how to represent what’s unique about it,” said Lora Kratchounova, a principal with Scratch Marketing + Media.
“Even if you know how to do this right, it is always better to get outside help,” she told the E-Commerce Times. “The perspective that professional strategic designers can bring can make or break your brand.”