Make sure this vital element of your business encompasses everything it needs to…
OK, so you have this business. Or you’re developing it. And pretty early on you realise, “Hey, we need a logo,”… or you’ve already realised that and spoken to your nephew – because he’s studying graphic design. In a few days, you have a logo. And business cards. And the exercise didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Your nephew’s design may well be just fine, and appropriate to where your business is right now. You’re not Standard Bank, you’re a start-up. You’re cost-conscious, and you have bigger things on your mind than typefaces.
As long as it is simple and distinctive. And has the right personality. And communicates the right things about you. And is different to your competitors. And adapts effortlessly to all sorts of applications, from your packaging to Twitter and Facebook.
Everything, you realise, communicates something about you. Are you communicating the right sort of thing? Who are you? Who do you want to be?
If your product is what you are, your brand is who you are.
At the heart of it
All your company’s communication starts with your logo. It’s the centrepiece of your identity and your marketing. It’s on your website, your letterhead and your offices. You need that stuff. This is when you’ll start suspecting that all those things that you are not used to dealing with – like colours, typefaces, type-sizes and the use of white space – actually matter. Even if you’re not exactly sure how they matter.
It helps to take a step back and ask a few questions.
1. What does your business do?
2. Why does your business matter?
What is it going to do that other companies aren’t doing?
3. What difference will it make?
How will it make people’s lives better, faster, slower, easier, cheaper, more exciting, more relaxing, or whatever the case may be?
4. How are you going to look different?
How are you going to stand out?
5. What is the business idea or the philosophy behind what you’re doing?
6. What is important to you? Why, in fact, are you doing this?
A solid foundation
Answer those questions and, as if by magic, your logo is no longer some airy-fairy thing. It matters. Now you have a basis on which to evaluate how your logo and identity should work for your business. In a wildly competitive world, where the tiniest margins count, can your logo and your corporate identity help you communicate those things above? They should. In a world where it is truly difficult to find a competitive advantage and hold onto it, you need everything about your business to be working as hard as it can. And that includes your brand. If a product is what you are, then a brand is who you are. A brand should make a business identifiable, memorable and, above all, meaningful in someone’s life.
A great logo is:
■ Easily recognisable – which probably means it will be utterly simple
■ Distinctive – which means your logo needs to start life by being different
■ Memorable – something that needs to have both credibility and vision.
Great logo design requires a complex mixture of design skills, creative theory and skillful application. Any designer worth their salt can create a fit-for-purpose logo, but truly mastering all aspects of the craft takes time, skill and persistence. As with any creative endeavour, it’s really easy. All you have to do is wait for the drops of blood to appear on your forehead.
This article first appeared in the June/July 2018 issue of Your Business Magazine. Read the rest of the issue online here, or download to enjoy later!