The Importance of a Logo and Branding
We often hear about the importance of logos and branding. What is the difference between the two and how can they affect your company’s image?
Your branding is the combination of graphics, colors, fonts, and images that help people identify your company, and identify with your company. It can extend to letterheads, internal forms, outdoor signage, uniforms, and more.
Your logo is the chief visual component of your branding. It’s the face of your company. It quickly becomes the single most recognizable thing about your company. Because it is scalable and anchors your branding, it acts as shorthand for your business throughout your advertising and promotional material.
It’s not enough to make your logo ubiquitous, however. You also need to make it good.
What Makes a Great Logo?
The best logos share several key elements. Yours should be:
Why is your logo so important? Your logo represents your business.
Would you turn up to an interview, chair a crucial business meeting, or give an important presentation to clients without making some effort to be presentable? Now consider that your logo needs to be ready to do all of these things and more, 24 hours a day.
Branding – The Bigger Picture
You have a fantastic logo? Great! Many businesses sit back on the couch and grab the remote at that point. Don’t make that mistake.
If you have a well-balanced, evocative, memorable logo, but all the elements around it are amateurish and sloppy, what is the overall effect?
All graphical and typographical elements should look good alongside your logo. Your look needs to be consistent so that the messages you give to your customers and potential customers are cohesive.
The Effect of Your Logo and Branding
One of the reasons that businesses invest heavily in their logos and branding is because they have an instant psychological effect on customers and potential customers.
Consider that black logos suggests luxury and are popular with designer clothing and fragrance brands. Unsurprisingly, predominantly pink branding tends to be feminine, popular with brands from Barbie to Victoria’s Secret. Red and yellow in combination are known to make people want to eat, which is why so many fast food restaurants use these colors in their branding. Don’t believe us? Ask Google.
Your fonts convey messages too, both in your logo and throughout your marketing material. Solid, bold lettering, for example, suggests the solidity, authority, and strength of a business. This might work well for a legal firm, but is perhaps not so appropriate for a manufacturer of children’s fashion jewelry.
Add imagery appropriate to your values and your business and your branding can become even more powerful.
As well as instantly affecting the emotions of your audience, branding also works over time. As you build brand awareness, your look becomes familiar. This is good news. Do most people want to do business with a complete stranger or someone they are familiar with?
How to ensure that your logo and branding are the best they can be?
1. Think about your key values.
Your business may be diverse, forward-thinking, cutting-edge, caring, family-owned, and environmentally-friendly. Trying to say all of that through your branding, however, is likely to lead to over-complication. Your logo and branding need to be focused. If not, you risk confusing your potential customers by giving them too many messages at once.
Consider the top three things that you want people to know about your business.
Now eliminate two of them.
2. Create and Use Brand Guidelines
Your logo and branding need to consistent across platforms, whether print or online. Inconsistency makes your business look amateurish.
By creating a brand guideline document, you can make sure that any designer – whether freelance or in-house – will understand how to recreate your logo and your brand’s style.
Include information about your logo, including preferred size and placement. Also include the font or fonts that your company uses. If you use more that one font, explain when to use each one. Also add the types of graphics, imagery, and photos that fit your brand.
Your brand guideline doesn’t need to look polished if you only intend to use it internally. It needs to be clear, to contain examples, and to be accessible by any designer you work with.
3. Employ Professionals
Content is King according to many, but let’s not forget about presentation.
Amateur branding instantly and inherently makes your company seem amateurish. Professional designers know how to evoke emotions in viewers through colors, use of white space, placement of images, and much, much more. Graphic artists have the skills to elevate homemade logos to a professional level. Even if a designer gives your Microsoft Paint logo an extra 10% of credibility, that 10% can make the difference between amateur and professional, between sale and no sale. A professional touch can be just enough to make a new customer trust you over your competition.
With good quality branding, you are investing in your business. Your potential customers will either see that and appreciate it, or they won’t notice your branding much at all, which is far better than having them discouraged by common, unsettling problems with logo, layout, and typography.
4. Tweak and Update your Branding Over Time
Modern tastes and trends change, so your logo might need updating from time to time.
As logos evolve, they normally become simpler. Starbucks, Shell, and Nike, for example, have all taken the step of removing their names from their branding. Consider, too, Nike’s tick, or McDonald’s Golden Arches. This scaling back reflects not only modern tastes but also that these businesses have achieved a coveted level of brand awareness where the name of the company is no longer required for the company to be recognized.
This removal of the brand name won’t apply to most small businesses, but the move to simplify logos and to be increasingly recognizable is worth remembering.
If you still think that customers don’t care that much about your branding, think again. When PepsiCo rebranded Tropicana in 2009, loyal customers demanded that they return to the original packaging. And when Gap changed its iconic logo with its tall white letters on a blue square, Gap customers complained so ferociously that the company changed it back within a week, despite the millions of dollars it cost to do so.
Finally, it is worth considering that the main problem with PepsiCo and Gap’s rebranding was not poor design but, arguably, that they dramatically changed the branding without changing their products. Branding and imagery are important, but they complement a business. Also, the public is quick to see through a company that attempts to use its logo and branding to say something that isn’t true.
Like a firm handshake or a confident smile, your logo and branding make powerful impressions. They can convince customers to do business with you. Then it’s over to you to make sure that your business lives up to its promises.
The right branding can help your business achieve the recognition, authority, and success that it deserves. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help you with your branding and how great branding can boost your business.
Contact Dan Stark: firstname.lastname@example.org to hear about AltaStreet’s process in designing the over 500 Logos we have created to date for the Financial Vertical.