You have all heard the old proverb: “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Like any other good proverb, this one is entirely true. Humans are visual beings. It takes them no more than a tenth of a second to form an opinion about some unfamiliar person simply by looking at the stranger’s face. As unfair as this jumping to conclusions is, the research says that longer exposure can’t drastically alter those impressions.
Once we move the conversation in the business playing field, things change very little. This time, though, instead of the face, consumers judge the company’s logo and bad impressions can’t be reversed with a couple of charming gestures.
What makes a logo so important?
So we could as well interpret the logo as the face of a company and end our discussion here. Since it makes the first point of interaction between you and customers, making it presentable sets itself as an obvious requirement. However, the story of logo design is far more complicated than that.
The pillar of visual identity
If we would look for some precise definition, we would probably find out that the logo makes the pillar of one company’s identity. The colors and design language set by the logo are later disseminated through all other visual elements of the said brand – everything the customer can see, ranging from website to the premises. Therefore, negative connotations relating to the logo are translated to all customer interaction points.
“A picture is worth a thousand words”
As we already mentioned, the image is capable of communicating an incredible amount of information to the observer in no more than a couple of seconds. Through the combination of design language and color psychology, the logo can easily communicate the company’s values to the customers. For instance, let us take a look at the Qantas’ logo. A bright red (excitement and boldness), streamlined tail fin graced with a stylized kangaroo – everything you need to know about Australia’s biggest airline carrier.
Increasing brand exposure
Have you ever heard about “mere exposure effect?” It is a psychological phenomenon where people begin to form sympathy for people and symbols because they seem familiar. Keeping that in mind, it is hard to deny that the logo makes probably the most versatile marketing asset that can be just as easily used on branded pens, custom shirts, and huge billboards, thus creating that pleasant sense of familiarity.
All of the things we have covered by now are purely theoretical and saying that the mere image of two-tailed siren invokes the smell of hot coffee would mean very little if the efficient design couldn’t produce tangible benefits. But, according to recent research, effective and functional corporate logos have a positive effect on customers’ commitment to the brand and influence the company’s performance.
What makes one logo good?
Now that we’ve got some idea about the significance of a corporate logo in the grand scheme of things, let us try to answer a much harder question – what makes one logo effective? Why is this question so hard to answer?
Well, different solutions may prove to be equally as effective. Microsoft’s diverse and colorful window does equally good of a job as Apple’s monochromatic apple. But, if we would try to single out some common elements of effective logos, we could find the following patterns.
Simplicity and versatility
Why are these qualities so important? For instance, if you live in Australia, you may use the services of a web design agency from Sydney but sell the products to the nearby East Asian market. Due to this cultural barrier, your logo should use simple forms to communicate effective messages. Also, a good logo should be scalable and look good regardless of the size, color quality, and medium. Using shapes that are too convoluted and extensive text blocks is highly discouraged.
Don’t be too on the nose
Marketing experts like to say that the logo that sways you, at first sight, doesn’t have legs. That is true. If you experience all of the meanings built into the logo from the get-go, the image will not be stuck in your head and won’t encourage you to give it a second look. Take Nike, for example – their logo has told a story worth exploring. But, that story is not spoon-fed to you. As a matter of fact, the removal of various elements only made the symbol more powerful.
The logo needs to be adjustable
A good logo should feature some central symbol, image or idea that can be occasionally readjusted to contemporary trends. We are talking about things like Facebook’s white-on-blue F, Starbucks siren (as of recently the logo lost inscription), Superman’s glyph, Pepsi’s three-colored circle and so on. On the other hand, Gap’s original logo left designers very little room to play with. Their infamous logo redesign deviated too much from the original design, cause public outrage, and was eventually recalled.
The logo needs to be structurally sound
The best example of this concept is probably the McDonald’s logo. It looks so stable and structurally sounds you would never assume the company can fail to deliver a good meal. Of course, this is only the most obvious mention. Other logos may be drawn at a certain angle, disproportional, or skewed. But the best ones always feature a certain sense of symmetry, deliberateness, and tangibility that allow them to exist in the real world.
The matter of ownability
What do we mean by “ownability?” We are talking about the extent to which you can claim some symbols like yours. This simple idea can easily turn a generic image into marketing gold. The symbol of a generic apple can mean anything. The symbol of a half-bitten apple, on the other hand, unmistakably refers to the tech giant from Cupertino. So, when you come up with some functional, but ultimately bland logo idea, try incorporating some unusual details to make the whole concept more unique.
We hope these few considerations gave you some general idea of just how important a corporate logo can be and what are the basic concepts behind the effective logo design. Use these insights well. The business playing field is becoming more competitive with each passing second and amount of visual clutter unbearable. Sometimes, the only opportunity you’ll get to hook the audience is through brief exposure to your single most important marketing asset.