If your company could talk, what would it say?
Would it walk with a swagger and a bounce, or a smooth stride? Is it more of the tie-wearing type or is it content with a T-Shirt and jeans (maybe somewhere in between, like with a French tuck and slim-fit chinos?). What kind of language would it use? What sort of imagery would represent it – bright and energetic graphics, or elegant and understated photos?
Your brand is the culmination of all these tangible and intangible qualities. It is the identity formed by a combination of your company’s values and priorities, and the aesthetics and verbiage you use to represent that identity.
So What Is a Logo?
A logo is a graphical element that represents your brand. Think of it as a symbol that encapsulates everything your brand stands for – like the Nike swoosh, McDonald’s golden arches, Target’s bull’s eye, or even IBM’s simple but memorable “IBM.”
How Important Is a Logo to Your Brand?
Very. It’s essentially the symbol for everything that your brand represents. It’s also an indicator of authenticity. When people see your logo on a piece of marketing collateral, on the packaging, in a video, on a blog, and so on, they will intrinsically associate it with your company and its quality.
What Makes a Good Logo?
It needs to be simple, but memorable, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a symbol. IBM, for instance, just uses its three letters in a very distinct typeface. The logo was designed by Paul Rand in 1972. The stripes were meant to convey a sense of unity and movement.
The logo also has to be truly representative of the work you do, and it needs to convey a certain mood. Is it one of elegance, innovation, playfulness, tradition? In 2010, GAP faced backlash after modernizing its classic logo. The replacement logo looked more suited for a web design company or a photography studio than a half-a-century old American retailer. It led to a nearly $250 million stock loss, according to TechCrunch.
A Note on Brand Style Guides
Document them. Be sure to choose both dark and light colors that represent your company, and that you intend to use as a palette for your logo, web design, and graphics. Do the same with photos – for instance, choosing warm color corrections over cool tones and vice versa.
But remember: Branding is not all visual. Also, create a style guide for your copy that will help unify your written and verbal messaging across mediums.