If you’re an entrepreneur or a marketing executive at a growing business, you’ve probably given it at least a moment’s thought: is a professional logo really worth the investment?
A logo isn’t just a calling card, it’s the face of your brand. This powerful first impression will stare back at you from print, digital and social media for years to come, so it’s important to make well-informed, purposeful choices.
As increasingly sophisticated design programs have become available for download, the temptation to attempt a DIY is understandable, especially if you consider yourself artistically inclined. But before you start mixing fonts, images and colors, it’s important to understand what makes a logo successful.
A good logo stands for something.
Your hands-on involvement with your brand can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, you are an expert on your brand essence and personality, but this closeness can make it hard to prevent personal preferences from creeping into design choices. A common fatal flaw in self-designed logos is that they reflect the designer rather than the brand. Instead of choosing elements that you find appealing, it’s crucial to consider how your logo tells your brand’s story.
Don’t feel bad if you’ve never noticed the arrow formed by the negative space in the FedEx logo – it’s a fantastic example of purposeful design that is subtle yet effective. Without cluttering the logo, the designer incorporated a small reminder of the forward momentum we are supposed to associate with the brand.
The best designs are simple and deliberate in their details. The choices you make within your logo carry meaning for your audience whether you intend it or not. Shapes, fonts and especially colors exhibit measurable psychological responses in the people who look at them – if you aren’t aware of how your design is perceived, you may unintentionally work against yourself.
A good logo can go anywhere.
Your logo should be able to go anywhere your brand may go (now and in the future). It’s an immutable part of your brand identity, but a design that looks sharp on a billboard may be completely illegible when reduced down to a business card, and vice versa.
Professional designers have the expertise to create logos that can be nicely reproduced across all your assets and merchandise, but it’s about more than t-shirts, letterhead and ink pens. A bird’s eye view of your overall branding picture is critical for creating a logo that will integrate seamlessly with your existing brand guidelines. Keeping your digital and physical assets harmonious gives your brand a polished, trustworthy look.
A good logo stands out in your category.
Logo design may be a creative process, but it begins with research. Too often, DIY designers take on a project without taking a thorough look at mentor and competitor brands within their product category.
Take time to notice where others are succeeding and where they may be falling short. A winning design will be eye-catching and distinct without being confusing or setting inaccurate expectations for your audience. Creating the right kind of visual disruption can be hard to get right, but it’s what separates iconic brands from the competition.
A good logo grows with your brand.
Whether you DIY your logo or invest in professional design services, you want it to have staying power.
Simple designs often age the best, but it’s about more than the passage of time. It’s important to consider the future of your brand and whether or not your logo will be able to support product line additions and extensions without creating confusion.
Without knowing where your growth may take you, the biggest challenge of logo design is creating something that is simultaneously highly descriptive yet simple enough to be evergreen. Choose your design elements carefully (or better yet, partner with an expert), and you’ll develop a meaningful symbol that grows with your brand and evokes its essence wherever it goes.