The first thing entrepreneurs think about when building their brand is their logo. So, I thought this post would be useful.
I recently came across an article in the October 2011 issue of Inc. Magazine, called ‘What not to do when designing a logo’. The article goes on to say how Milton Glaser — one of the most celebrated American graphic designers famous for his “I Love NY” logo — explains three “don’t dos” when designing a logo:
- Don’t trust your gut. Everyone is an expert. They don’t like blue, or they want fatter letters. It’s hard when you have a manufacturer who’s been making something for 50 years and thinks he understands the subject — but designing logos, he doesn’t know anything about anything.
- Don’t focus-group it to death. It’s a nightmare presenting a logo to a board of eight people and trying to find consensus. At the end, you have something that is weak and ineffective and looks like 100 other things.
- Don’t just do it. The word trend is the Nike swoosh. So many clients and designers think of a logo as being a peculiar kind of shape that stands out from others. But there has to be a fundamental editorial proposition behind the logo.
As a branding strategist, I believe there are TWO important factors missing from the list:
- Don’t develop a logo without a brand strategy. People often ask me: “What do you think of my logo?” And, honestly the answer is always and inevitably: “it depends”. Since design is highly subjective, evaluating a logo without knowing the context or the strategy is unfair. Sure, I could provide my feedback, but without knowing if it appeals to the target audiences, then my point-of-view would be just that… one point-of-view. By having a brand strategy, you can evaluate the logo against it, which helps to reduce the subjectivity factor.
- Don’t put all the responsibility on the logo. Once in a while, I see entrepreneurs putting all the responsibility of the logo to achieve everything. They want the logo to be symbolic of all aspects of their business. They want the logo to clearly articulate what they do and what they stand for. They want the logo to be locked up with a ‘tagline/slogan’. Now, it would be ideal if a logo could accomplish all of that (symbolically, of course) – however, the reality is that logos simply can not carry all the needs of your branding. Consider creating a visual identity – a visual language that builds upon the logo, with additional elements such as primary and secondary colors, typographic style, photography/imagery style and secondary graphics.