How to choose your desired perceptions when making a logo



"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, and how this is tied to your organization’s goals. This guide expands the third step of my approach to designing logos.


Your logo impacts how people perceive you


The style of your logo impacts 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 towards you


The best way to influence someone's actions 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 for better or worse


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.


Fill out the following statement (hint: start at the end)

We want people to perceive us as ________ so they ________ which supports our goal of ________.


Here's an example of a complete statement.

We want people perceive us as stylish, modern, and unique so they buy our clothing which supports our goal of increasing sales.


Voila! You've determined your desired perceptions. 



Let's examine your desired perceptions

We now have a list of your desired perceptions (from the fill in the blank above). They should be adjectives like "stylish", "modern", "unique". The next step is to explore why each of them matter to our target audience.


Why would someone be attracted to us for being stylish? Why does it matter to them?

Why would someone be attracted to us for being modern? Why does it matter to them?

Why would someone be attracted to us for being unique? Why does it matter to them?


If you can answer these “why” questions for each of your desired perceptions, then you’ve picked the right ones. If you’re struggling to come up with answers, you might need to try a different desired perception.


Let's talk about your target audience

If you ask a 25-year-old lawyer from New York and a 75-year-old-musician from Texas what 'stylish, modern, and unique' looks like to them, you'll get two very different answers.  It's important to understand your target audience and how they see the world. Let's look at who 'they' are and consider the following details: 

  • Gender
  • Generation
  • Lifestyle 
  • Familiarity with your industry
  • Interests
  • Occupation


Let's talk about your peers and competitors

Why would someone choose you over your competitors? How are they trying to be perceived? Are they the big guys or the little guys? What sets you apart?



Hot or Cold? 

Here's a personality chart to help us further define your desired perceptions beyond the ones list above.


Warm      ○   ○   ●   ○   ○    Cool

Fun       ○   ○   ●   ○   ○    Serious

Energetic       ○   ○   ●   ○   ○    Relaxed

Reserved       ○   ○   ●   ○   ○    Expressive

Rigid       ○   ○   ●   ○   ○    Fluid

Feminine       ○   ○   ●   ○   ○    Masculine

Casual       ○   ○    ●   ○   ○    Formal




Are you more of a Starbucks or a Tim Hortons?

Maybe you're the local vegan coffee co-op.





Are you more of a Mercedes or a Toyota?

Maybe you're a tesla or a smartcar.





Are you more of an Apple or an Android?

Maybe you're a Windows or a flip-phone.



What's next?

If you need to get a logo designed, we should go through this guide together to make sure we’re aligned. You can also take a look at my approach to making logos, or simply contact me with your thoughts and I’ll help you get started.