Show who you are – how your logo tells your story

I love it when people see the Apple logo and they know exactly what it stands for. We didn’t need to spend any money on advertising. The logo speaks for itself. When you see an apple with a bite taken out of it, you think of knowledge. You think of Eve in the Garden of Eden. You think of all these things that are positive and good.

Steve Jobs, an interview with Business Week, 1997

Are you setting up your own business or do you have one? Haven’t you ever thought about your logo? Should I have one and what kind?

If you are serious about your brand and business, then you have no any qualms about it. Your logo is your identity and uniqueness for your customers. No logo means no recognition.

So, if there are no doubts about the need, let’s get down to business.

Any logo is an object of creativity, so we turn to our imagination. You have a flower store. It seems logical to have a flower as a key element of the logo, for example a rose in a circle. However, is it practical?

Simple solutions do not always give good results. Your logo should connect your customers with one store only – yours. Is that logo going to be etched on their memory and how long? Will they associate it with your store? Think about it from a customer’s perspective. Where do I see flowers? – Well, just everywhere – in the streets, at home, you name it! It is just another beautiful flower from beautiful flowers. Yes, I like it, well designed, I am admiring it right now, but a few moments later, I will see a lot more of them. In a nutshell, your customers “gets lost” in flowers almost every day. You have to make them “memorize” your flower and associate it only with you. For instance, just add an element to your rose or change it into an abstract shape associated with a rose.

Maybe simplicity still works? You should not add complicated elements that difficult to remember. It must be simple, easily enter a human memory. What is easier for you to remember – a heap of lines and signs or a simple shape, for example a circle, with a key memorable element in it? Use simple abstract associations. It is easier to remember abstract things and connect them with a brand in a human mind, particularly if they are unusual.

The issue is not to oversimplify a key element or a logo itself. Otherwise, you get just a shape of a circle and a line, which is ordinary, and doubtfully unforgettable as something special. People will have no reason for associating such a logo with your brand. There is one more thing to point out here – a logo should be unique. Uniqueness does not mean a sort of scientific invention but an interesting distinction, eye-catching contrast between you and your competitors. Be original. You should be the one, the most remembered! You may not be a fan of dating apps, but take a closer look at them. They almost never use the heart symbol, and if they do, it is abstractly modified. Why? They want to be unique and memorable. How would people distinguish one app from another, and more importantly, remember one, if they were the same heart-shaped?

Simple but not that simple. It is important for a logo to reflect values, spirit and style of your company, and of course it should comply with, fit into your brand identity. A logo cannot exist on its own. It is part of a brand visual identity and its organic component. A logo should not outshine other components of a brand identity, and vice versa. Avoid the widespread mistake of having all visual components in one particular style, but your brand logo is in a different league. Your brand image definitely loses much – you tell different stories and actually show a customer two different identities. You do not wear socks of clashing colors except by an oversight, do you? In addition, your logo should not conflict with a field of your business. You have to admit it would be a little weird to have an umbrella-like logo as the logo for a flower store.

You can also use letters or text to highlight the essence of the brand, but the text should be legible, simple and plain in order to be caught quickly and easily. It should not be cumbersome and distract attention from the brand itself. People will not stop to read this novel – they are not looking for that and there is plenty to see around. Although, there is always the temptation to tell the whole world more about the pros, but a long read usually entails cons in this case. The text or letters should express and convey the core idea of the brand compactly, in a flash.

It is better if a logo also conveys an idea or a message. Then the logo more easily “hooks” a customer. The only thing to add here is that the idea should be clear to the target audience. Answer a simple question “What message do you want to send to your customer?” Use your imagination to connect your message with your customers’ associations and emotions. What is beyond any doubt – express and depict the message clearly in a simple shape. Lack of an idea is not an utter failure or problem. Do not overthink or lose your sleep over it. The key thing is to make your logo memorable. Anything that makes you special works out.

There are a few more remarks to make. Colors matter. Each color and their combinations awaken different associations and emotions. Wrong colors can play a cruel joke and repel a customer.

A logo should be adaptive to look attractive on all the media through which you communicate with your customer, from digital, such as a website, social media or app, to physical: a signboard, billboard, brand packages or merch. In addition, there should be no loss of perceptual quality depending on scale, from small to large surfaces.

In conclusion. Your logo, as well as your brand visual identity, is the face of your brand. Take a look at your logo – it is a mirror of your brand. What do you see? – Your customers and business partners see you the same way.

Sol Sender, graphic designer says, “The strongest logos tell simple stories.” Tell your customers yours!