The anatomy of your logo
We all know what a logo is. Picture the Nike tick or the iconic Coca Cola branding. But a logo is a lot more than a static image or a few words in a strapline. It’s tactical, deliberate, and requires a lot more thought than you might initially think. It’s about more than picking nice colours and a memorable image.
Your logo needs to be more than a surface-level effort. It needs to penetrate the very essence of what makes your organisation tick, how you stand out, and how you want to present to the world. It’s part of a much wider effort to create a memorable, clear, and consistent brand image.
Logo versus brand identity
We all know a logo is an essential part of a business’s core branding. But where exactly does it sit in relation to your wider brand identity? Are they the same thing?
Your brand identity is everything that visually represents your brand; your messaging, colour choices, tone of voice, and graphic devices, for example. It’s how you convey your brand’s personality and values to your audience.
Your logo makes up one, small part of this. The tip of the iceberg if you will. It’s how your brand is visually represented in its simplest form. It’s a condensed version of your brand’s heart, soul, and body. If you were to cut your brand open, your logo is an amalgamation of everything you’d find beneath the surface.
The anatomy of your logo
Think of all the elements at play to keep us, as humans, alive. The complex systems that keep us moving, breathing, thinking. The delicate balance of ligaments and muscle that allow us to exercise and be strong. The skin that protects all these fragile systems from breaking down or getting damaged.
While logo design may not be quite as complicated as our own anatomy, it’s definitely more complex than some may think.
The anatomy of a logo contains three elements. All of which function in perfect harmony to keep your business’s identity alive.
An icon: A graphic image that conveys what your brand is about or what you have to offer. This can be as literal or abstract as you’d like.
Company name: This one’s simple enough and doesn’t need much explanation. You can display it in a multitude of visually appealing ways. But always keep it simple.
Strapline: If your company name doesn’t get the message across clearly enough, this is how you shed further light into what your company does and outline what makes your brand unique. It’s harder than you think to condense everything about your brand into two or three perfect words. Think Apple’s ‘Think different’ slogan; it’s short, sweet, to the point, and purposefully grammatically incorrect.
Above all else, your logo should be clear, appealing, and informative. There are plenty of things to consider when designing. Font psychology means the typography you choose for your logo will inevitably attract some and put off others. Fonts impact people’s thoughts, feelings, associations, and behaviours in different ways. So this should be carefully approached with your intended audience in mind. Similarly, colours can convey different messages, evoking unique emotions about your brand.
If your logo isn’t legible, you’re going to struggle to leave any real impact. It’s estimated that people spend less than 15 seconds on a website. And with such low attention spans to contend with, your audience won’t have time to try and break down what your logo may or may not be saying.
And finally, it’s important to consider the accessibility of your logo.
Laura Stoker – part of the Luma team – wrote a great piece on colour contrast accessibility. Colour contrast accessibility is a measurable standard that “determines how accessible your text is for those with eyesight difficulty. […] It’s all about making sure that everyone has a good digital experience of your brand, because – of course – if people have a good experience, they’re more likely to convert.” How accessible your business strives to be will play into important logo design decisions.
Although your logo might evolve – for example, adjusting the colours to reflect trends/seasons over time – your core business identity and how this is represented within your logo shouldn’t change. Your logo should always reflect your business’s core essence. And if you get it right the first time, you shouldn’t find yourself undergoing rebrand after rebrand.
Using it correctly
It’s also important to note the importance of consistency and how you’re using your logo. It’s all well and good spending money on a great logo, but if you’re not putting it out into the world in the right ways, what was the point? Consumers need 5 to 7 impressions before they recognise a logo. And placement and usage should be as tactical as the original design.
You need to consider the different contexts in which your logo might be used. For example, black and white versions, different shapes, orientations, or sizes. The version you use in a Word document is not the same as the version that goes onto a hoarding, on your Twitter profile, or into a video.
At Luma, we feel designing a logo without undergoing a thorough branding exercise is a lot like turning up for surgery without a scalpel. Sure, it’s possible. But you’re not going to see the outcomes you want from your efforts.
That’s why we take all our clients through a full, in-depth exercise to get under the skin of their brand. This way, everything from your logo to your wider brand identity work harmoniously to effectively sell your business. It also enables us to develop a useful brand book that ensures your logo is always used successfully, no matter the context.
Logos can seem like a simple aspect of branding. But, in reality, they’re at the very top of your brand identity, doing a lot of hard work for your brand. You can’t change someone’s first impression, so it’s worth putting some extra thought and attention into the first thing they’ll see.
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