With each new logo project, I discover the exact same misconceptions at the beginning. More than often I’ll hear, “We sell gloves for left-handed Eskimos, so it’s important that we have a left-handed Eskimo in our logo.” Or, “My logo needs to be a portrait of my pet python, Malfoy, because he’s been my inspiration.” Or my favorite, “The logo must be blue and orange, because that’s the colors of my alma mater.” The truth is that you can’t know what your logo must look like if you don’t understand the purpose of a logo.
I’ve heard countless clients recite this mantra to me, and I’m not quite sure where this cult started. It’s true that your logo is a part of the brand, but that’s it. Your brand is not your logo. Your logo is just one small ingredient in the recipe of your brand that creates the overall experience for your customers.
Stop confusing your logo with your marketing. Great marketing will sell anything, but your logo has a different job. Your logo has one purpose — to identify your brand and nothing else. In order to do this successful your identity has to be differentiated, flexible, memorable and timeless.
Creating meaning for your brand comes from the collective experience of your customers with your product or service. Your logo has no effect on your brand. Furthermore, your logo develops meaning from your audience’s perception. Basically, you have no control over how people interpret your logo. It’s the very reason why aspirational and abstract logo marks function so well. Nike’s swoosh means something slightly different to each consumer, but the commonality of positivity and speed is inherent in every interpretation.
The truth is that no one has ever bought a product or service, because the logo was three buckets of awesome sauce. Let your logo identify your company, because it’s honestly not that great of a salesman.
For more tips on logo design be sure to check out “Eight Reasons Why Your Logo Hates You.”