A logo must reflect the company’s character and its purpose in five seconds or less. That is how long it takes for a logo to visually register and communicate everything there is that matters about a business.
Most people mistake having a logo with having a business identity. It is not. A logo is but a fraction of it. There are so many factors (like corporate vision and mission, etc) that make up the overall branding of the business. A logo is often perceived as a very important factor though because it is visual. This simple, tiny image people print on their letterheads and business cards must communicate the company’s message in a way its consumers, the ones who matter, will understand.
And this is the reason why logo designing (and branding in general) is the most time consuming, creatively exhausting but equally emotionally rewarding job for me. Graphic designers, most specially those also invested in branding, have their own individual design processes. I have one too. But taking aside all of these individual processes, what do they all have in common? What will you, if you're looking to have a logo designed, have to go through?
- It begins with a talk. Talk to your designer. Communicate. Give a company brief, and what makes it different. Identify your target market. Give your design preferences. Answer all your designer’s questions. Be specific. Everything your designer will need to carry out the job will be drawn from you. The more informed he is, the better he can design.
- Ask for the initial design in black. Color will distract you. Assess the visual impact of your logo without the color first. Does it effectively represent your business visually? Is the message clear? Gauge the visual impact. Color will heighten impact, not create it. Tell your designer what changes you want done and tell him why. Discuss, revise and refine.
- Ask to see your logo in different sizes. Check to see if it will register well in any size. Ask to see it in reverse white. See it in one color and in full color. Is the message consistent? Is the message clear?
- Will it be timeless? Can you see how your logo will be received several years from now? Will it look and feel as “fresh?”
- Finally, does it ring “true?” Does the logo’s message and the company it represents perfectly “match?” Consumers can often detect inconsistencies between how the company would like to be perceived with what the company truly is. A logo is not a mask to hide in. Its a mirror that amplifies what your business is about.
Ask your designer to prepare your logo in various file formats. Ask for a Branding Guide. A Branding Guide will save you time explaining to your service bureaus and print providers how they should “treat” your logo. It will also help you to remain consistent in how your logo is applied each time it’s used.
The task is not so much as to design something “creative” and visually appealing. That is a given and that is expected. The task of a graphic designer commissioned for a logo is to reflect everything that truly matters to and about the business, and to condense all of that into one final visual form.
That, to me, is always a welcome challenge.