I’ve been a logo lover for a long time.
(Pretend to be shocked that I’m a Designer…)
In fact, a little game I play while driving and waiting at stoplights is to take a look around me, pick a sad, lifeless logo from a billboard, a storefront, a side of a truck, etc… and try to think of a alternate (also known as “better”!) design before my light turns green.
(Wait. I didn’t realize how nerdy that sounds until I typed it out just then…)
Even though I love designing custom logos for my clients, they’re easily the hardest part of all my design services due to the amount of research involved, illustration trial and error, iterations and revisions until a perfect design is chosen. They involve loads of patience, feedback and time to make sure that the symbol works and resonates perfectly.
But there’s something that I’ve been noticing lately with clients and prospects alike, and it’s that there’s some uncertainty about the nature of logos themselves. In fact, oftentimes I get e-mails asking my opinions of other Designer’s work with a noticeable twinge of dissatisfaction coming from the writer.
Though I can’t offer my opinion about the designs e-mailed to me until I know about the potential client’s design preferences, core values, business objectives, who their audience is, etc… (all of which is covered in questions they answer in my Brand Therapy Workbook I have new clients fill out prior to working with me), what I can offer is a bigger discussion about the purpose of logos and their ultimate jobs in our businesses.
So, here’s a truth bomb:
Oftentimes, we expect too much out of our logos.
There. I said it.
To be blunt, we over think it, expecting them to convey all aspects of our businesses, from our core values, to service packages, to elaborate shipping policies (<— seriously, I was told to communicate shipping policies once) when really the only jobs a logo has is to:
- Capture the feeling of your brand that you want your audience to feel, and
- Be memorable/stick out in your audience’s mind
When you think about your logo that way, it takes the pressure WAY off. It also allows your mindset to shift from subjective feedback, like “I don’t like it!” to objective feedback, like “It doesn’t feel ___ and ___, like my brand. It looks too similar to my competitors ___ and ___, and therefore it isn’t memorable for my audience.”
The best way to tackle these questions is to take a step back from your personal preferences and get in the mindset of your favorite client, the person you wish all your clients were like, and view these designs behind his/her eyes.
After all, your business is about appealing to your client base,
Who is he/she? How do you want her to feel when she’s working with you? What are the types of images, colors, or feelings she likes to surrounded by?
THEN look at your logos and re-frame your thoughts around the questions above. Do these logos capture the feelings you want her to feel? Are these logos memorable/unique?
Additionally, it’s super important to note that no one will ever encounter your logo on it’s own, on a white background, without context. It will always be a part of something else, something bigger and with other branding elements, like your business cards, brochures, website, etc…, which further solidifies the feel, heart and soul of your brand.
Perhaps you’re feeling a lot less pressure now about your poor logo, or maybe you know you’re ready for a re-design. Either way? I got your back.
And you never know, I could re-design your logo in the time it takes me for that traffic light to turn green.