Yea I said it! Stop relying on a logo to create your brand! I know this sounds crazy coming from a brand identity designer but hear me out.
Whether you are starting a new podcast, blog or God forbid opening a brick and mortar I see too many people relying on logos created from those popular cheap logo and contest sites to produce something that tells the world who they are and what they’re all about.
Before I go any further maybe I should explain the differences between a brand and a logo. A brand is the way your business, product or whatever you are trying to promote is perceived by others. In other words a brand is the way your business or product is remembered, how it feels, how it communicates and lastly how it looks. A logo is an icon of that brand. It is meant to act as the tangible part of the brand.
The problem with these sites is they make logo’s based on a quick description the customer (not to be confused with a client) gives them forcing them to inadvertently choose the best one which can make them feel like they’re picking the right one but what they’re really doing is choosing the best one that was given, sorry did I lose you?
What I am trying to say is unless they get lucky the best one was never made because these logo producers are only about creating an image based on the vague description.
By going the route of designing the logo without establishing a brand first you are asking for trouble ok maybe I’m exaggerating but it’s going to be really hard to come up with the right logo that conveys the business’s message. That’s why I see so many people who rely on these type of fast food logo designers asking for help choosing the right logo when a logo is done the right it’s clear right away.
I don’t want to just single out these sites, there are also some graphic designers that work this way that is why I suggest finding a designer that does branding or pick a branding strategist that works with a logo designer.
In order for a logo to be done the correct way there needs to be an open communication between the designer and the client something that is missing from logo crowdsource and contest sites.
As an Identity designer I want to get to know the client not just their business and the only way that will happen is through good old fashion conversation. Here are some of the questions I ask clients:
- What is the name of the business and why did they choose the name?
- What exactly does their business do? Any specialty?
- What problem does their business solve?
- Why do they feel they need a logo?
- What adjectives best describe their business?
- What are the businesses strengths and weaknesses?
- Where will the logo be placed/seen and are there any restrictions?
- Will the logo be used for web, print or both?
- Do they currently have any marketing materials?
- Who are they targeting and who are their competitors?
- Is it a regional or international product?
- What are the industry trends?
- Do they have a slogan, tagline, strapline, icon that they want to include?
- Do they have a mission statement?
- What is the message their business wants to convey?
- Are there any colors they love or hate?
- Any styles they love or hate?
- Is there are any logos they like?
- Will they be expanding into other products and services?
- What made them go into that business?
- Where do they see the business 5 years from now? what about 10? how about 20?
I know this seems like a lot of questions but the nice thing is I present these questions through natural conversation so not to overwhelm the client. Could I do this as a questionnaire they fill out? Absolutely but like I said my goal is to provide value so it is vital that I can understand the client genuinely and a piece of paper just doesn’t seem to work.
One of the arguments I get is that a logo can be changed as the business grows so no need to take it serious now and spend good money on a logo, hogwash! If you truly believe in your business or product you need to solidify your brand from the beginning. Changing everything later can be a big headache believe me I hear it all the time. “Wish I would have done this the right way from the beginning!”
The other issue is some people just can’t tell the difference between a good logo and a bad logo. The truth is some people just don’t have an eye for design so it’s really hard for them to justify going the professional route when a $10 logo is just as good….so they think. What they should remember is this isn’t about them but their audience they’re the ones that will make the decisions on how they perceive them.
Oh last but not least the argument that a logo is not important what is important is quality of the product or service. I can’t completely disagree with that but you’re trying to appeal to a market and it’s the business owners duty to produce a great experience inside and out so although it might not be the most important thing it is a valuable thing.
Bloggers and those that have websites are also notorious for thinking branding is only for larger companies and content alone is all they need. What they are not aware of is consistent branding with the right logo gives them credibility and the appearance that they are serious about their message or thing they are promoting.
Bottomline if the marketing materials are not effective then their message is not getting out properly. Why do you think the big boys take branding so serious?