Getting a new logo? Give this a quick read.
7 things you should know before getting a logo
If you're thinking of making a logo for your organization/app/event/whatever there are a few things you should know about logos. As someone who designs logos for a living, I think it's important to set expectations before my clients spend time, money and effort. For a complete look at the process of making a logo, checkout my approach.
1. Your logo won't make money
(at least not directly)
No one will ever see your logo, drop their jaw, and love it so much they hand you money. Logos don't pay for themselves in that way. Instead, they support your organization's desired perceptions which impacts people's actions towards you. They also tell your customers and employees "we take pride in ourselves" which gives them permission to do the same.
Here's how logos create their value.
Your logo impacts perceptions
The style of your logo impacts how people perceive your organization. Your logo won't be the only thing shaping their opinion of you, but it's still important to support your desired perceptions.
Their perceptions of you shape their actions
The best way to influence someone's actions is to intentionally shape their perceptions. For example, if people perceive you as 'wise' they'll be more likely to let you give them advice.
People's actions impact your goals
Whether your organization's goals are to break into new markets, hire an awesome staff, or simply to increase sales, you will need people to take some sort of action.
2. Your logo is not your brand.
Your brand is what we (the people) think of you. It's our gut-feeling and it's how we decide to buy your product, use your service and recommend you to our friends (or not). Your logo is only one of many things impacting how we think about your organization.
Think of a making a new logo like getting a makeover. Imagine getting a drastic, new haircut and wearing fancy, new clothes; It won't make people think you're any better of a person but some people will see you're trying to change.
Your logo (alone) doesn't make us think you're an awesome organization; it reminds us of the awesome organization you are (or aren't) and supports your desired perceptions. If your customer service is crap, who cares how 'perfect' your logo is?
3. Your logo doesn't (always) need to represent your industry.
Logos aren't always literal representations of a company/service/app/whatever. If your company name was 'Johnson Real-estate', would you really need a house in the logo? I don't believe so.
Consider this: the world's most popular computer, software and smart-phone company is named after a fruit (it's Apple if you didn't figure it out). In Apple's case, they use the apple to convey their essence of thinking differently; the apple references the apple that fell on Sir Isaac Newton's head, causing him to 'think differently'.
On the other hand, if you're a sports team, let's saaay 'The Winnipeg Jets' it probably does make sense to embody your name in your logo. It really depends on the situation.
4. Your logo is going to be small.
Logos have to fit into to small spaces (app icons, pens, USB sticks) so they're designed to be viewed as a very small size. Don't expect to fit your slogan, tagline, diagram of your services or your full legal name into your logo.
5. Making a logo requires time.
The logo making process is a collaborative one. Get ready to spend some time meeting, thinking, viewing and reviewing your logo. For a closer look at the logo process, go here.
6. Logos should be designed objectively
"Should we make the logo red or blue? What font should we use?" These questions (and others like them) will arise in the logo design process. But don’t worry, answering these questions is easy once you determine exactly how you want people to perceive you. It is best to think of objectively, without being influenced by personal feelings, interpretations or preconceived notions.
7. Logos shouldn't be designed, reviewed or approved by a large group of people...unless you like pulling your hair out.
It might sound like a good idea, "let's get a group of people to help with the logo, we'll get everyone's expertise and opinion." The problem is large groups of people aren't good at making creative decisions, they're good at risk aversion.
Ask a committee what they'd like for lunch and they'll get sandwiches 99% of the time. Why? Because it's the lowest common denominator. It's not the best option, it's the option with the least resistance. It's the least risky.
Your logo shouldn't be a sandwich, designed to please the masses.
Sometimes, individuals in a group believe they are only valuable if they contribute to the group. Too often, this will generate bogus feedback as people say anything to maintain their spot in the group. Grasping at straws, people can imagine and invent issues with the logo.
8. Not everyone is going to like your logo. This is a good thing.
Designer and thinker Tibor Kalman summarizes this perfectly.
“Look at computers. Why are they all putty-coloured or off-f******-white? You make something off-white or beige because you are afraid to use any other colour - because you don’t want to offend anybody. But by definition, when you make something no one hates, no one loves it.”
Your logo isn't for everyone, so it's okay if not everyone loves it. In fact, I'd recommend it.