Thursday, June 01, 2017

Why your logo really matters

When I think about some of my favorite brands, the products that I buy on a regular basis are not the first images that pop into my head. Instead, the images that most readily come to mind are the logos. The three Adidas stripes and the gold and navy blue Dove logo are, to me, as much a part of the brand as the goods I depend on to fuel my everyday life.

Every entrepreneur knows that in order to resonate with consumers, they have to deploy comprehensive and connected digital campaigns. From effective Facebook ads to influencer marketing posts on Instagram and targeted PPC ads, creating content across digital customer touch points is the key to success. But before brands even begin to ideate compelling ad content and copy, they first have to design a logo that communicates their brand story and connects with potential customers.
Logos are, often, the first point of contact consumers have with a brand. Long before we’ve tested a product our service out for ourselves, our eyes have been drawn to the name, font, shapes, and selected colors that have been carefully chosen to work in tandem as the brand’s marker. More often than not, it is an interesting logo that commands my attention in a grocery store aisle than a product description or, even, a price marker. Strong logos have the power to encourage consumers to forget about pre-existing brand ties in favor of an untested competitor.

While you know that certain logos stand the test of time - think Coca-Cola and the Gap - you might not understand exactly why logos play such a big part in building and sustaining a brand. The elements of a logo - the colors, symbols, shapes, and fonts - create immediate connotations that have emotional effects. When logos are effective it is because every element of their design scheme is working toward a common goal or story. Take the Barbie label for example. This toy symbol is as renown as the platinum blonde hair on each doll sold. The large, swooping cursive in bubblegum pink spelling out the first doll’s name not only sends the immediate message that this is a toy designed for girls, but also that this is a welcoming, fun, not-too-serious toy. If the Barbie logo were in orange or, even, red, the effect would be entirely different.

Color is one of the strongest elements of a logos, and also one of the most researched. There’s an entire school of thought devoted to communicating how and why color makes us feel certain emotions.  For example, take the color yellow: the immediate connotation we assign to yellow is the sun. Because of this innate attraction, we view yellow as an energetic, upbeat color that brings energy and happiness. The brands that utilize yellow in their logos (often) try to communicate these associations; both McDonald’s and Cheerios want to communicate that their food will make you happy.

Through color, alone, brands have the power to convey an immediate and potent message. The trick is, however, really understanding your brand values and product market value and aligning a message with a tangible color scheme. Given all of the interest in sustainable materials and solution, your brand might be interested in appealing to eco-friendly consumers. But if your product is not designed to spark health or is not made from earthy, sustainable materials, assigning the color green as the anchor color within your logo will not make much sense to consumers; upon seeing green tones they’ll immediately decide your product is designed to do something it actually isn't, which will result in mistrust and no repeat purchasing. Even if they are not conscious of it, consumers are reading into the messages your logo is emanating, and if that message does not align with the truth of your product, they will (likely) be turned off by your brand. Shapes are another element of logos that give off instantaneous messages. For example, a circle in a logo automatically communicates a brand built on community and trust. Whereas seeing a triangle in a logo tells a consumer to expect a brand involved in science or religion.

Luckily for today’s emerging brands, there is an abundance of resources to make the log designing process as streamlined and effective as possible. While some brands choose to employ large-scale branding agencies, others have found great success in creating their own logos with resources like Deluxe. Regardless of which path you choose you first have to determine your overall brand mission and message. Understanding who you are, not necessarily who you want to be, but what value you can offer a customer, is the first step in great logo design. To determine the brand qualities you want to communicate in your logo, try deconstructing the elements of your brand, including: history, product, and target audience. From there, you can assign specific messages and characteristics to your logo. For example if your target audience is Gen Z and you know that they are a generation that appreciates community building and authenticity, you can bring a circular shape into your logo mix. There’s no right or wrong way to create a logo, but the ones that stand the test of time tend succinctly and creatively embody all of the elements of a brand in one visual representation.