An Ode to the Logo

Never underestimate the power of a good logo. As a company’s brand stamp, a logo should communicate more than just your business’ name. It should encapsulate who you are, what you do and provide a symbol that consumers can easily connect with. Think of the great logos of our time – Coca Cola, Nike, General Electric, Target, Apple Inc., to name a few – what makes them all noteworthy? Is it their color, font, shape or simplicity? It’s all of the above. Whether it’s a start-up creating a new brand identity or an established company wanting to refresh its look, here are a few questions to ask before implementing a new logo.

Does it fit your business?
Logos play a huge role in your company’s story. Try to note what makes your organization different, define your purpose and then channel that into your logo design. Logos are also unique in that they can be literal or abstract. You can convey a specific message right away or create a symbol that can evolve and take meaning as your business develops. Most importantly, it needs to be simple. Incorporating all these elements will help your brand look well-constructed and ensure your business is represented appropriately so you attract the right audiences.

Does it stand out against competitors?
Before concepting a logo, be sure you have reviewed your competitors. By seeing what is already out there will help you determine the best way to standout and above in a crowded marketplace. Analyze colors, fonts, icons and taglines. These variables will help you strategize a direction to move toward. Since competitors and your business all inhabit the same space, you need a striking logo that will peak consumer interest and drive them to visit your website, despite other options.

Does it look good in black & white, as well as in color?
Logos should always start with the basics – a black and white version. Once a concept is chosen, color comes in to play. When selecting colors for your logo, try limiting it to two. Utilizing a rainbow of colors can make a logo seem overwhelming. It can also be difficult when translating across different mediums, or when using different printers, for that matter. In addition, review what your logo looks like on different colored backgrounds. Be sure it is still recognizable and easily visible in a number of situations.

Is it versatile?
A logo should be capable of adapting in size and function. Think about your business. Can your logo fit on super small items (ex: office supplies) and mega-large objects (ex: a blimp)? Can your logo also work on different mediums such as apparel, products, hardware, building signage, etc. In most cases, your logo will not be limited to merely documentation. For example, Starbucks’ logo is placed on cups, posters, display cases, hats, aprons, billboards, bakery packaging and the list goes on and on. Never feel bad about slapping your logo on every little (or big) object at your company. That’s branding. Just ensure your logo is built to meet any challenges.

Will it endure the test of time?
When exploring logo options, do not get stuck in the fads of today. A logo needs to maintain its significance 10, 25 and 50 years down the line. Imagine where your company is heading and what your organization’s future holds. Does your logo fit? Nonetheless, there is nothing wrong with refreshing your logo as time progresses, such as Yahoo’s logo, which still stayed true to its brand identity with its new look in 2013.

Is it memorable?
Perhaps the most important aspect of a logo is whether it is memorable. A logo is a company’s first impression. Make it a good one. Strive for recognition and to engrain your brand in the minds of consumers. When individuals are selecting a business to work with, ensure your company remains top-of-mind.

At HCK2, these are some of the questions we use to guide the discussion when designing logos for our clients. It can be an intense process, but also incredibly rewarding when we get it just right. Feel free to comment on your favorite logos here and see if they hold up to the criteria mentioned above.