No matter what the size or scale of a business, whether it’s an emerging micro-enterprise or a multi-national empire, a sure and solid brand identity is a crucial pre-requisite to success. Branding creates the profile and projects the style of your business and the first place to start is with a knock-out logo. We’ve done our research and spoken to the experts to provide you with some invaluable advice when it comes to designing yours.
Build your brand if you want brand value growth
Innovation agency, The Partners recently joined forces with fellow brand-based companies Lambie-Nairn, Millward Brown and BrandZ to issue an interesting report that demonstrates the paramountcy of branding, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Their research looked into how brand-building can impact brand value growth and found that growth was as its highest “when brands deliver the full combination of a unique and compelling core proposition, a distinctive brand identity, and great advertising.”
Jim Prior, CEO of The Partners says that your brand should be “everything you are and the sort of people you want to be” and explains that “the sooner you get people aligned to that, the easier it is”. He said the results obtained from the report “clearly demonstrates that great advertising is, by itself, insufficient and inefficient – it needs to be underpinned by broader, deeper strategic and creative definition.”
He added: “Brand is so much more powerful to an SME. […] If it’s a good idea you can bet that a number of people are going to be on your back. So you differentiate through your brand.”
Visual aesthetics, choice of font, web design, and social media presence, tone of voice and nature of content are all contributing factors that come under this umbrella of branding but a business’ unique logo is arguably one of the most influential. This is why perfecting your design and concept is such a great place to start when establishing your brand.
An effective logo is the first step to branding success
We asked John Whalley, head of brand consultancy Here, There & Everywhere (HT&E) his advice on the importance of a great logo within a business’ unique brand identity and he had this to say: “Your brand is not simply your logo – it’s your organisation, your product, your service and your personality. It’s how you communicate and what you project, and it is therefore how your consumers and competitors in the marketplace perceive you.
“However, the primary visual identifier of almost every business is its logo – a symbol that can become a powerful signpost that provides immediate recognition, encapsulates the brand and lies at the heart of all business and consumer communication.”
The recommended check-list of criteria to keep in mind when formulating your logo masterplan is to ensure that your design will be simple, memorable, timeless, versatile and appropriate. Despite being most effective when simple in nature, the concept-to-execution process can be pretty complex so we’ve put together a few expert hints to point you in the right direction.
Fine tune your message – The most effective logos symbolise a message and reflect the brand’s ethos through graphic, image, type and colour. For example, Cruelty Free International (previously BUAV) animal cruelty organisation has a logo that shows a white rabbit leaping through the air, which symbolises freedom for animals. Take some time to really fine tune your company’s message so you can create a design that clearly connotes who you are, what you do and why you are doing it.
Do your market research – As with all aspects of starting up a business and launching (or indeed, relaunching) a brand, market research is absolutely pivotal. You need to gain thorough insight into exactly what it is your target audience best engages with, and keep a close eye on what your competitors are doing. Knowing what is and isn’t working for likeminded brands will help you on your own journey but make sure you’re also setting yourself apart.
Looks matter – Generally speaking, there are three main types of logo: typographic (a word(s) displayed in an exclusive font), illustrative (a direct visual representation of the business e.g. a flower for a florist and graphic (a less direct symbol that eventually becomes an identifier of the brand. Whichever you choose, make sure you use bold lines, simple shapes and something that is both recognisable and timeless.
Experts recommend sticking to a maximum of three colours and choosing a design that will look equally as effective in black and white. Do a little investigation into the connotations of various colours to establish which will be most suitable to your brand and industry. For example, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter often use the colour blue as this represents relaxation and dependability.
Leave it to the professionals – A logo is such a crucial aspect of your business branding that is it definitely worth investing some time and money into recruiting the help of an expert. Look through a few portfolios and find a freelancer or agency that fits your bill then work with them to ensure that all of the technicalities are in place. For example, your logo will need to be designed in vector format, rather than raster, using lines and paths to avoid pixilation during scaling. If this sounds like double Dutch to you, it’s time to enlist the expertise of a pro.
Don’t rush the creative process – Creating a logo and launching a brand is an exhilarating experience so it can be tempting to get ahead of yourself and give the green light on the first design you like. Once you have established your brief, you can start to play around with some different designs but seek some personal and professional feedback before signing on the dotted line and keep doing so until you feel like you’ve really hit the nail on the head.
Your logo is going to be the face of your business so it’s essential that you get it right if you want to target the right demographic and compete in the bustling marketplace. The design will need to grow with your brand and successfully adapt to any reinventions it may undergo to ensure your brand identity remains strong and effective.