There are several aspects in setting up a business that shouldn’t be cut short, and the brand image is one of them. Logo design sets the tone for everything about your business that follows. Unfortunately, far too many businesses miss a significant opportunity in creating a positive impact with their logo – instead looking for a quick, cheap solution to creating a graphic with their name in it.
You’re probably familiar with the statement “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.”, right? There can be similar chances in getting a logo from a freelancer on Fiverr that successfully represents your WHY instead of falling short – leaving you with an image you call a logo. Often, the consideration of all the uses of the logo aren’t reflected in the final product: website, business cards, social media, brochures, embroidery, signage, etc.
Below are some key point of building a successful logo that embodies the WHY of your business, giving you a true brand identity.
1. Know Your Purpose
As I’ve worked with thousands of businesses over the years, I’ve heard some amazing stories behind either their company name or their culture. These stories define the brand identity that goes beyond the graphics used to build a logo. In the marketing messaging that comes from branding efforts, it’s imperative for consumers to view the logo and the company culture/purpose/WHY as being synonymous. Approaching the logo with the WHY can make that marketing department’s job a little simpler in getting that in front of consumers than the process of developing enough content and messaging ahead of the brand in order to achieve the ideal level of association between graphic image and brand image.
To illustrate this, I’m going to walk you through some stages of brand development for Revivify Marketing over the last 11 years.
2009 – Before we were Revivify Marketing, my thought was to provide direction to businesses. Having grown up as a scout and looking to the North Star for direction, I incorporated the star and Little Dipper in my logo. Polaris Marketing and Design or Polaris Marketing & Consulting were the name alternatives I worked with.
In 2014, I revisited the look of the logo, considering how difficult the previous design was to visualize and read on various devices. Still keeping with the theme of direction, the Little Dipper and star were replaced with a simpler Star icon, symbolizing the legend on a map. Not a significant change, but something I hoped would appeal to a more modern design audience.
In 2017, there were two reasons I decided to do more than a visual change to the logo, rather completely rebrand.
People kept mistaking my company name with Polaris snowmobiles… I live and work in Idaho.
I realized there was more about my interactions with businesses than a desire to give them direction.
Revivify – bring new hope and vigor – proved to be the recurring theme as I helped struggling businesses overcome hurdles digitally and improve their online presence and successes. At the time, I decided to let the name (a noun and a verb) mostly speak for itself, adding only an iconic R instead of a standard R in the logo.
2020 – After an internal process that spanned nearly a quarter, I tested various logo options – eventually surveying customers and many others whose opinions I valued – to better capture the idea behind Revivify. Considering I work in the digital world, the refresh visual in the arrow circling the brand name, MARKETING being part of the arrow, and the arrow moving forward – all surrounding the word revivify – captures the essence of what drives me and the outcome hoped for with every business I work with.
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Less is More. Sadly, some companies dilute their brand by including far too many visuals in their logos for someone to really understand the brand identity. It may tell a great story of what the company does, but the increased complexity in the logos make them easily forgotten. Below, I’ll show a few logos from a few industries demonstrating how simplicity and WHY can be well executed. You’ll also see some “Don’ts” that can often come as a result of turning to an inexperienced designer for a logo.
I came across this logo in a group I participate in that supports home care agency owners with their operations efforts. What stood out most to me was while most other home care company logos have some combination of homes, hands, hearts, people, etc forming a complex icon mix, this logo remained simple and easily understood. In fact, another similarly named company has the heart, home, and infinity symbol all stacked into one.
This image is a mix of randomly selected icons from various other home care agency logos. As you can see, there’s an extremely common theme to these icons in the logos. “Common” being the defining concern when it comes to the brand’s potential to stand out. Each agency has a what of home care, very few symbolize what’s unique about their company in the logos, though.
3. Colors Speak Volumes
Certainly, finding complementary colors is important in building an attractive logo, but color can also be another factor in expressing the brand identity and WHY. Below are some core colors with terms often best associated with the color; any shade variations from these core colors will also align with these ideas.
Just as there are myriad options to consider in terms of icons and colors, there seems to be near infinite options for selecting a font to speak to your brand identity. Whether you recognize it or not, typography completes the aesthetic of your brand. The font family (or families) used in your logo set a tone of seriousness, trust, confidence, modern relevance, etc. to your brand identity. When it comes to fonts in general, there are 6 broad ranges to consider. Below are those groupings, with some considerations to bear in mind as you determine your logo font.
Most commonly known of which is Times New Roman. This font grouping is best recognized with the ‘tails’ off the tops and bottoms of letters. A more classic font type, serif lettering aligns with trustworthiness, formality, or respectability.
Slab Serif fonts
Confidence, bold attitude, solidity, innovation, intuition… These often associate with thicker fonts in the serif group. Often used with automobile or technology brands.
Modern, clean, engaging fonts that indicate a sense of honesty and sensibility. The fonts themselves are simple, with no decorative styling. In current best practices, sans serif fits with the ideals of forward-thinking companies.
With more of a hand-written style, these fonts exude femininity, creativity, and elegance due to their perception of being fancier. If not careful, these fonts can be quite difficult to read.
Going for more of a futuristic yet simple look, modern fonts are simple and legible – sometimes with a mix of thin and thick transitions between letters. For a brand with the name as the intended focal point, modern fonts can be ideal.
Whether modifying an existing font, or essentially creating your own, display and decorative fonts cultivate an unique identity to your brand. In this space, your creativity and ability to be fun, casual, direct, or professional is unlimited.
Above all with font selection… If you’re going to use more than one font, be sure they are complementary to each other. More than two fonts is rarely necessary – if ever.
Notice the lack of balance in CareerBuilder’s new logo compared to their old logo?
Ironically, this large brand seems to have gone backward, rather than forward with creating a modern, simple logo. Their old logo was balanced, consistent with font – using only a color change to distinguish the words. Orange and blue are great colors to use considering the audience of job seekers and employers. The new logo forces an unnecessary icon that doesn’t seem to connect with who they are or what they do. While unique, the font for Career seems more playful than serious, and is quite different than Builder in the logo. Before, there was a sense that career and builder had equal weight in the WHY for the company. Having BUILDER in a thin, smaller font also gives a sense of imbalance in the logo.
For an even greater example of conflicting fonts (and overall conflicting logo with images, colors, etc), look at the Plumbing Utah logo in the mix of logos below.
As you look at the mix of logos below, consider these four aspects of logo design and how they were incorporated.
Clean, Modern Logos
Put Your Logo To The Test
Looking to rebrand your business? Submit your logo to us, and we’ll provide you free feedback on your logo and recommendations for what to consider in a redesign.