Logos that last. The key to an enduring logo.

Some logos really pass the test of time. They are strong, ownable and memorable year after year. Others fade away with every new entrant and look tired within a year of launch. If you are assessing some new logo options for your brand or business and you want to pick one that is memorable and enduring (you want it to be memorable and enduring!) then make sure it passes these 3 fundamental logo hurdles.

 

Make sure:

  1. It is strong without words and in any language. Make sure its shape is unique and memorable.
  2. It works in 2D black & white. Make sure it doesn’t rely on colour, shading, textures and other visual effects to have cut through.
  3. It is identifiable when small or seen from a distance. So when someone only gets half a second to see it, or it is embroidered on the polo shirt of the guy across the room, you still know what it is.

 

Think Nike, Lacoste, Shell, Lucky Strike, Qantas, WWF, Apple, Target, Volkswagen. Aspire to have a logo like one of these. And maybe a business like theirs too!

5 Logo traps to avoid

If you are trying to come up with a new logo for your business, please try to avoid these traps:

 

1. Uttering ‘It’s just a logo’

At your peril. That is like saying ‘It’s just my face’ when you meet a new group of people. Sure, what you have to say will be important. But they are looking at your face as you approach and making strong judgments about you with every step. If you look dishevelled, uninterested or nervous then you can expect that’s what they’ll think you are. It’s not ‘just a logo’. It is the face of your business or brand. Make it attractive to your customers.

 

2. Insisting on a funny image or word play

These can work for sure, but for the right business or brand and then only occasionally. Just because the name or logo is a funny play on words or images DOES NOT necessarily make it a good logo. Open up your mind to as many different ideas as you can think of.

 

3. Designing a logo that you (and only you) love.

You may be a dentist that LOVES cats. That doesn’t mean you should have a smiling cat for a logo. ‘But I love cat’s’ I hear you say. That’s great… but leave them at the door when designing your logo unless they makes sense for your business and to your customers.

 

4. Choosing a winning design via a friends & family ballot.

Logo design is not a democracy. Sure, it is good to get feedback from people around that you trust, but you are the one in the driver’s seat. You know your product or service, you know your competition, you know your customers and you know what you want to say about your business. Choosing a great logo is as much a strategic decision as it is creative. You are the boss… not uncle Jim.

5. Getting lazy or ambivalent when forced to make choices.

Do your homework and have a clear set of logo deliverables you will assess options against. The logo that ticks the most boxes wins.

 

 

Your logo will be the first visual anyone gets to help them understand what it is that you do. Make sure it is a great piece of communication.

Why your logo is more important than you think

In times gone by people trotted off to the local shops to get what they needed or talked to their friends and neighbours when they wanted to find a lawyer or agent. A business or brand logo was important, but mostly as a re-inforcement to what someone had already learned about the product or service. But today… well, we just don’t get out as much as we used to. We don’t talk with our neighbours as much. And we certainly don’t stroll the shopping malls as much. So what do we do with all our time? We’re online of course. Like it or lament it, we are living more and more online every year.

I’m not here to discuss the pros and cons of this quantum shift in life, rather simply to recognise it and relate it to brands and logos. Does it make a difference in the world of branding? Well yes, it makes a HUGE difference. Without a salesperson or shop-assistant, let alone touching and feeling the product, we still have to makes choices about what we buy and who we engage. So what do we have to go on? Photos, testimonials, reviews. Sure. AND the business or brand image.

 

  • How does it look to us through the screen?
  • Does it look good?
  • Can I trust it?
  • It is what I’m looking for?

 

We may never utter these words out loud but we are always thinking them.

 

Let’s imagine you are shopping online for some dive gear for an upcoming holiday. There are two pairs of dive goggles you are looking at. They look very similar, roughly the same price, roughly the same specifications, both rated 5 star. So what’s left to make the decision? You’ve never dived before. How do you choose? You want to buy them now. There is only one thing left. It’s the brand. Is that really important? Hugely. In the level playing field, comparative shopping, all across the world of the internet we can find plenty of comparable products and services to consider. We don’t just pick the first thing we see. We scope the marketplace quickly and efficiently and check out our options. We collate, filter and then pull the buy trigger.

 

So how do you make someone like and trust your brand the 3 seconds they are going to consider it online? They are about to spend $59 on a pair of goggles so the decision is not without risk. Well, to start with you give them a strong, unique and appealing brand and logo. That is your point of different. Yes, it is emotional, not rational but don’t underestimate how important emotional benefits are in purchasing behaviour. We like to think we are all sensible and rationale and would never be influenced by something as shallow and emotional as a brand or logo. Surely not!

 

So if we have done a good job and presented our shopper with an appealing brand and logo, how will they articulate it when they see it. No doubt it will be something like ‘those look good’. Hallelujah… the holy grail of desired consumer responses. ’They look good’. Three little words that will mean the difference of $59 in your banking account or not.

If you are online, your logo is more important than you think. It can be as important as everything else you do to make your product or service great. My advice. Give it some time and respect. It will reward you.

I want a new logo. Should I change?

Changing the logo of your brand or business is big decision that should not be entered into lightly. To change abruptly may disenfranchise existing customers. On the same token, sticking with a poor logo because ‘it been that way for ever’ can be just as damaging for new business. Ask yourself the following questions to see how careful you need to be:
  • What sort of business am I in? Are brands important to my customers and my industry?
  • How long have I had my logo? Do my existing customers identify it with my business?
  • Is my current logo helpful in explaining what we do and how we do it?
  • How different is my logo to my competition? Does it help me stand apart or is it just another generic type logo for my industry
  • How much is my logo used. If I change it will it be an expensive exercise to change everything over to the new logo?
  • Has my business moved on from how it used to be when the current logo was designed? Will our current logo still be relevant in the coming years?
  • If you are planning to moving into new markets, how will you existing logo fair? Will it still work for different nationalities? Does it infringe any trademarks in the new market?
  • If I change the the logo will my customers still know it’s us?

 

Make sure you ask yourself all of these questions and more before jumping headlong into a new logo. And remember, you don’t only have the choice of old or new. Often the best solution is to ‘evolve’ a logo. Retaining some of the existing equity and adding some new personality. This can be a single step or can be spread over two, three oven more iterations on the way to a final new logo. And don’t forget to tell your customers you are chasing BEFORE you change. In consumer goods this can be a flash or banner on an existing product saying ’great new packaging is coming’. For services businesses maybe a flyer about the exciting change coming. It is hard to win customers, so don’t be lazy and loose them in the change.