Sunday, February 3, 2008

10 Key Questions to consider in Developing an Effective Brand Logo.

My background is that of a graphic designer. Being in the industry for over 25 years, I have developed several hundred logos. As a matter of fact it is something I never tire of doing. After all of that time you come to recognize that many companies don't take full advantage of all the opportunities that come with designing a brand logo that accurately reflects their brand AND differentiates them. Most other graphic designers (or less) design logos based on personal taste and colour psychology - and that's it. Shame.

When I meet a new customer and we discuss the brand logo that is needed, I try and get to the heart of what the intended goal of the image is. Some of the investigation covers items such as:

1) What does the company do?

The logo has to reflect the industry. You don't want to have an image that is too artistic for an industrial environment. It has to be that industry, provide a comfort level to it's audience.

2) How old a company do they wish to present?

This is important if they are in an industry that relies on trust such as a legal firm. The public wants to work with a firm that looks like they have the years of experience to handle the issues. If the company is an IT company, young and progressive are key attributes.

3) What are the colour opportunities to differentiate the company?

I like to choose colour based on what their competition is NOT using. Many in their industry play follow the leader or make obvious colour choices based solely on the psychology of colour. While this is a colour consideration it is the not the most important.

4) How will the logo be used?

Is the image just going on stationary and an outdoor sign? What about advertising specialties such as pens? How about large vehicles?
Useage is very important as it may limit you with regard to shape or complexity.

5) Are there an peculiarities that I can identify with the customer that would be a waste of time presenting to them?

As much as one of my mottos is: "I don't give them what they want - I give them what they need," there is nothing to be gained by beating a dead horse. Get these items off the drawing board immediately.

6) What is the demographic profile of the target audience?

There isn't much point in delivering a feminine brand image to a macho audience. As well, if the skew is young, don't deliver an image a 50 year old will relate to.

7) Are there any budget constraints?

If they are a start-up, it might be wise to design to a one or two colour palette. A logo with four colours, metallics and specialty colours may blow their socks off in the board room, but it will blow their tops off when they see the numbers to launch on printed materials. You have got to be practical.

8) Does the brand logo accurately reflect the brand personality of the company?

If the company is made up of young visionaries and all their staff are known within their industry as the brightest minds, the logo should reflect this.

9) Does the logo adhere to the company's brand values?

For the same reasons as the personality. Certain design styles can contradict a company's brand values. Since the values are the foundation of any company's brand, it vitally important to reflect those values in the design.

10) Does the log excite the customer?

Let's face it the company has to marry the design of their logo. The can't simply like it - they must love it. It must excite them, it should motivate them and make them proud.

These 10 items are part of what it takes to develop effective brand logos. Over the years, you work with countless situations that hone your design and sales skills. Essentially I see myself and the customer as a team. We are looking to develop a solution that sells. I do not look at designing logos as art. It is selling visually, pure and simple. When the intended audience views one of my logos, I hope that they correctly visualize the company it represents. When this happens it is a compliment to it's brand and to myself, which I take very seriously.

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