What’s in a logo?
When developing a brand, image is very important. While a branding campaign consists of far more than just the visual – the visual still plays a key part in developing that all important association within the consumers mind. Simply put a companies “Aesthetic Branding” – their logo, colour scheme etc – will become the visual representation for their business. When a consumer remembers their experience with specific products or services it will be the “Brand Image” that is the first point of association.
We were recently asked to design the logo and branding for a local chicken farm. In our neck of the woods, chicken farming is HUGE business – we are talking multilevel barns with thousands of birds. The owners of these farms are sharp, intelligent business people with a firm grasp on what it takes to make it in the world.
As with any other business, a chicken farm requires a very specific direction and image. As we developed concepts and discussed with the owners we began to flesh out their desires and vision for their brand. At one point they apologized for being so “picky” (I called it “specific”). I had to laugh and quickly assured them that what they were doing was correct. They were developing the RIGHT look for their business. They were taking a hand in it and ensuring that the final product – their logo – would be true to them, their business and their philosophy. Their logo would matter as much to them in twenty years, as it did now.
That is the trouble with so many of these websites that offer deals on pre-fabbed logos. These logos often mean nothing to the end user, they will have had no part in their development – they simply picked one that looked “cool”. The result is a logo that will be stale the moment the current design style changes and that has no “root” in the business. The logo is the chief point of visual association for a brand and it should be “organic” – that is, it should to be a part of the actual company.
You see, a photo (image) really does speak a thousand words and this is growing more true everyday in our increasingly visually stimulated society, but there is more to it than just that. There is in fact scientific principles behind the processes that lead our minds to create associations. Both consciously and subconsciously our minds develop natural connections between memories, experiences, emotions and imagery. It is quite fascinating and in depth… it is also a topic for another day.
Suffice to say that it is important to put care and thought into your brands imagery. While it is true that the quality of your business will do more to impact your brand than anything else, it is important to develop a banner under which loyal consumers can rally. This is a core principle in marketing and it can see it in brand success stories everywhere.
Apple & Starbucks are two of my favorite success stories. Here you have two companies that were built from the ground up within the last century, and they near-dominate their particular fields. They same can be said for all industries, whether they are mainstream and focused on mass marketing, or small business focused on niche marketing. The fact is that once you have developed a business structure and determined what your brand goals are – you need to capitalize on image.
The brand image should reflect the brand goals and philosophy.
People like to say beauty is only skin deep but true beauty emanates from the inside out. Likewise image within the marketplace, should rise up from far below the surface. A brand’s image cannot simply be aesthetic – it needs to be rooted in the company. In other words the logo, the image, needs to speak from the core of the business. It needs to represent you, your company, your philosophies and your goals. It needs to be intrinsically linked to the heart of your company.
This may sound odd, and there may be individuals who scoff at the idea, but the fact is that a slick marketing campaign will only take you so far. At the end of the day your brand image – your logo – needs to be able to stand the test of time. It is the unchanging emblem of your business and it needs to be rooted in more than just the design trend of the time. It needs to speak about your company.
This is where Graphic Designers add so much value. Good graphic design can make a world of difference in what your business is communicating via imagery. Working with you, a graphic designer can develop not just a logo, but THE LOGO – the one that defines your business.
Graphic Designers are like any other specialist out there. They eat, drink and breathe their work. They are linked in, staying appraised of the latest trends, but also grounded firmly in the roots of their business. They know there way around programs, styles, colours, trends, file types and print. They can help you.
A good designer will communicate their ideas, and provide concepts, while also being mindful of your needs. The end result will be a logo and brand image that is true to you, and relevant to your business. Every business is unique and every branding image should reflect that.
For example, if I own an Organic Honey Company, I do not want a modern-esque, technological logo – that would run contrary to my industry, my market and myself. My image will likely be green friendly, earthy, with a cozy – maybe even hippy tone. Why? Because that is the business I am in, that is me and what is more that is what my customer base expects. It is true and it is relevant.
On the flipside, if I create a starter business in the Silicone Valley, I am going to develop a modern, bold logo that speaks “We are innovative and we are here to shake things up!” while avoiding any quaint, country-house, “folksy charm” connotations.
Simply put a logo needs to be more than a flash in the pan. It needs to be true to more than just the design zeitgeist of the day. By developing a logo that is rooted to the core of your business, you are ensuring that it will stand the test of time and that it will last as long as your business does.
Your logo, your image needs to speak about the passion you have for your industry. It is worth it to put care and attention in developing it properly.
You are passionate about what you do, about your small business – make sure that passion translates into your brand image and you will reap the benefits.