What is a logo?
Even though I am very passionate about logo design, marketing and brand positioning one of the hardest things as a designer is explaining the importance and value of a good logo to a potential client. Let us first start with the definition of a logo.
Logo (lō′gō) a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition.
However the definition does not fully explain the value of a logo. Most people know, in it’s simplest form, that a logo is something that allows people to recognize a business in a visual sense. What most people don’t know is that a logo is not just a cute image that you stick on the top of letters. It is a major step in branding and should never be an afterthought. Uh oh, there’s that word “brand”. Let’s go ahead and define that as well.
A brand represents the holistic sum of all information about a product or group of products. This symbolic construct typically consists of a name, identifying mark, logo, visual images or symbols, or mental concepts which distinguishes the product or service.
This is the most comprehensive definition I could find. Note that a brand is more than just the logo itself. It includes the “mental concepts which distinguish the product or service”. So basically a companies brand can even go as far as to communicate a particular feeling and generate a specific thought in a consumer.
So what is a logo?
A logo gives a business visual recognition
You can drive down the highway at 100 mph and only get a slight glimpse out of your peripheral vision and you will be able to recognize the golden arches of McDonald’s. Without McDonald’s displaying the actual name of the restaurant or even the fact that they sell food at all, in your mind, you already have thoughts of a #2 combo. A logo gives a business recognition beyond just its name. Since we are visual creatures, showing a representative image of a business has a much stronger effect than repeating the name of the business over and over.
A logo communicates a message, idea or process
When BP redesigned its logo from the former green shield to its current logo shown above it wasn’t just to show of a new, pretty flower-type design. This was to show a new way of thinking and a new way of operating. These changes were intended to highlight the company’s interest in alternative and environmentally friendly fuels. And on a personal level, that warmer logo design, with shades of green and yellow does draw me to them and has me to magically ignore how I feel about them as a company.
A logo helps you stand out from the crowd
What is a “go daddy”? Who knows? Who is the little man with orange hair, green shades and a star on the side of his head? Who cares? Is he the “daddy” in Go Daddy? I don’t know. The point is with all the hosting companies out there it is tough to be that one that stands out. The logo makes you want to know who they are. And let us not stop at just the logo. GoDaddy’s entire branding from the GoDaddy girls to Danika Patrick to the t-shirts, uncut online commercials and out-of-the-box advertising makes you take notice. I do use them and they may be slightly better than other hosting companies but to be honest I mostly use them because of their strong branding.
A logo gives credibility
A logo tells a potential consumer that you care how you present yourself to the world. It’s not enough to have just a good product or service. Someone who has never tried what you have to offer, in most cases, knows nothing about you. The logo provides them with a first impression. Before they talk to you, see your building, know what you offer or know your track record they will probably see your logo in a magazine ad, on a letterhead, on a website or on a business card. Not having one at all can make the most professional business look fly-by-night.
A logo helps consumers remember your name
It is almost impossible to forget this Apple’s name. The logo makes it obvious who they are. Surround this logo with aggressive branding and you have just created a very loyal customer base (or a cult following).
As a business owner/freelancer are you satisfied with your branding? As a designer, what challenges have you come across explaining the importance of a logos and branding?
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