• September 1, 2011
  • Tips

When we work on logos with clients, we’re always struck by the difference of opinion about what a logo is role that a logo plays in an organization. After all, we’ve all seen fine companies that have bad logos, or even no logo at all. Sooner or later, most companies that have longevity create a logo so I want to provide three tips to help guide expectations and make the outcome more rewarding.

1. It makes you proud
When you look at your logo, you must feel that you are putting your game face on. Dressed for business. Looking like you have somewhere to go.

It is sometimes difficult for people to take the leap of faith necessary to create something as new and pivotal to a brand’s identity as a logo.  (For practical help getting there, see my post on Top 5 Takeaways). If you are part of a committee that decides on a logo design together, the best case is that everyone agrees on the definition of the ideal logo. The bigger the group, the less likely that is to happen. You may feel less than 100% fulfilled. That is the nature of groups.

2. It is memorable
A logo does not have to be a diagram of what you do, just as your name doesn’t need to be a description of what you do – that’s what a tagline is for. Consider for a moment Nike, Apple, Starbucks, ExxonMobil and Target. None of their logos (or names) give any clue of what they do in their business. But that doesn’t stop you from recognizing them.

Some major elements that make a logo memorable are:
a) an original concept that inspires the brain to see something differently, much like fine art
b) visual simplicity with geometric originality
c) a strong, but appropriate color palette

3. It has a shelf life
Plan on making your logo last a fairly long time — about 5-10 years depending on the growth of your organization. It’s long enough that you want to give it serious thought but it’s also not forever. So don’t worry too much if you’re not able to see far into your future needs or fine tune it enough. Whether through evolution of your business or a change in aesthetic sensibilities, you will have the opportunity at some point in the future to address your logo again.

In the meantime, put your energy into making the logo stand for something. Because even the coolest logo needs a really good organization to support it. Otherwise, it’s just another pretty picture.