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Introduction

 

If you’re a startup or small business owner, you probably already know that getting a logo design or re-design for your business can be a difficult process.

There are no shortage of designers that can provide you with a logo. But are they actually considering all the strategic factors that determine the design that best represents your business?  Probably not.

Good marketers know that every touch point between your potential customers and your brand is an opportunity to advance your business objectives. Filling out a lead form, making a sale, increasing your brand awareness, or making a great first impression with potential buyers, it’s important to have objectives for all the different areas a customer might interact with your business. This is especially true with your logo, which is often the first visual representation of your company a customer sees and can play a major part in first impressions.

As a full service creative agency, we’re sometimes asked if a professional branding is really necessary for small to medium sized businesses, or only for the corporate giants. The answer is yes, you can take advantage of the same advantages big brands , and in this quick post, we’ll break down 7 ways you can gain an advantage over your competition through your branding strategy.

 

1) Makes A Great First Impression For Your Business

 

 

First impressions are incredibly important & crucial to get right for businesses.

A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reveal that it only takes a tenth of a second to form a first impression.

From the moment a potential customer sees your logo for the very first time, there is an instant and subconscious exchange of information that takes place between your company and your potential customer. In this instant exchange, everything that your business entity represents – that is your products or service offerings,  your perceived level of quality, price,authority, reliability and more are transferred to the customer and forms their first impression of your business.

As humans, we are naturally biased to judge things at first glance, and we do this with just about everything in the world, including companies we’re thinking about doing business with. In fact, we rarely re-consider interacting with individuals or brands that we’ve had initially negative experiences with.

Professionally designed logos that are well thought and convey your brand’s messaging and values at first glance are effective on a number of different levels. It’s the first step in positioning and brand development.

Color, font selection (typography), spacing, layout, & symbols, sizing and overall design, are all elements that contribute to the first impression of your potential customers and it’s crucial they are considered in the design process.

 

2) The Logo Design Is Adaptable Across Different Environments and Mediums

 

 

Logos are used in a variety of ways in all types of formats and sizes, so a simple uniform design that is highly adaptable to different backgrounds and environments is desired.

A strong logo will have only a few main elements, each of which can be easily remembered and promotes your brand messaging.

The most effective logos – that is, the ones that make your product or service immediately clear, are clean and minimalist in nature. Less is definitely more in professional logo design, with simplicity and subtlety being key.

As we’ve already established, you only have a tenth of a second to make a first impression, and in that first impression, you want to transfer the main information about your brand. In order to do that your logo needs to remain simple but memorable and should be easily recalled after just one glance. It should also tell people something about your business, either which type of industry you’re in, or emotions that you want to associate with your brand.

 

3) Made With Your Target Audience’s Preferences In Mind

 

 

In addition to promoting your objective and company qualities, great branding also reflects your target audience interests.

Research into who your main buyers are is valuable on a number of a levels, but in the case of logo design, you want to to try to come up with something that your audience will love.

For example, if your main target audience is middle aged c level executives, you’d want to include qualities that appeal to their mutual interests, like professional, corporate, authoritative, responsible, trustworthy etc.

 

4) Matches The Design Style of Your Industry

 

Certain industries have distinct looks and styles to their logos. For example, most high end fashion brands use typography style logos with wide spacing, while children’ clothing brands tend to have childish and more playful qualities.  Is your brand serious, playful, tongue in cheek, professional, honest, humble or confident? Your company tone of voice / company ego says volumes about your business and practices and should be included in the design on some level.

When considering your direction for brand positioning in your intended market, it’s useful to find out as much as you can about your customers and learn what they want and expect from your business, and then brand accordingly. If this step is not addressed, or if the designer is uninformed,  you may end up with a target market mismatch, which could cause significant costs and delays as well as an all new re-brand.

 

 

5) Color Scheme Conveys Wanted Emotions and Feelings

 

 

Color is absolutely crucial. Your color selection here will become synonymous with your brand, so it’s important to get it right.

Color creates different emotions in people, choose color schemes that evoke the type of feelings and values best associated with your company. For example, Red indicates passion & excitement. Blue is seen as a  calm and trustworthy color, with many financial institutions utilizing these properties in their branding (Capital One, Bank of America, Chase etc). Green is common brand for healthy brands that want to be associated with natural, organic, and environmentally friendly.

When deciding which colors to use in your brand, it’s useful to research your target audience and uncover as much as you can about what they want and expect from your and similar businesses.

If color is not considered, or if your designer or agency is uninformed,  you run the risk of a target market mismatch.

 

6) Font Matches Logo and Represents Your Brand

 

 

Much like color, your font choice says a lot about the feel and image of your company. It’s important to choose a font that aligns with your brand qualities.

The type of font depends on your industry. For example, Sans-serif fonts are modern and used in many retail fashion labels, while serifs are more commonly found in luxury and vintage brands.

1) Serif: For a more serious or traditional look (Luxury brands – Vintage)

2) Sans-Serif: For a more modern and contemporary feel. (Fashion – Print Advertising )

3) Script: Cursive / handwriting-style fonts. ( Personal Branding )

4) Decorative: Not recommended for most logo design.

 

7)  Describes Your Company and Industry At A Glance

 

Your logo and branding create the identity of your business and reflects your company’s personality  feel and tone – youthful, energetic, colorful, dependable, professional, elegant etc. It’s the foundation of your brand marketing strategy and should be designed carefully to capture your consumer’s imagination.

Your logo should not only be simple to understand but also effectively convey the message of your brand to your customers while they are in the first impression stage mentioned above.

For example, if you have a construction business and one of your selling points is your proven track record of dedication to safety, you might want to associate the feeling of safety with your brand from the very foundation . You can do this by including the color yellow in your design or by including a symbol that is commonly associated with safety, such as a hard hat, directly into the logo and branding.

These psychological triggers have the power to make us think of the associated activity or feeling automatically.Successful brands combine multiple feelings and core core brand qualities into the design of the logo while still remaining subtle.

 

The Key Takeaways

 

  • People judge your business based on their first impressions
  • Your logo often acts as the primary point of communication with customers
  • Great branding triggers desirable emotions & qualities associated with your company
  • Different colors have different meanings and associations for you customers.
  • The logo font should accurately represent your company values
  • Use the same font in all of your print marketing materials, website, and visual identity

 

Keep these elements in mind when approaching your next branding/re-branding project and you’re sure to come away with a significantly better design than just some random symbol and text combination.

By following the same design principles that many of the world’s largest companies use when approaching your project, you’ll gain a significant advantage over your competitors and create true brand loyalty for your current and new customers.

 

Michael Lynch

Author Michael Lynch

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