A brand identity is a composite of multiple elements working together to create a comprehensive outward expression. Some of these elements carry more weight than others. Your company name, for instance, has incredible importance, and because so much brand recognition is based upon it, changing the name of your company as part of a brand refresh is a huge challenge. And your company logo works hand-in-hand with that name to communicate a clear brand identity.
A logo is a symbol that helps identify your company. Ideally, that logo is something that becomes immediately recognizable and conveys the personality of a brand. With that in mind, it’s clear that designing a logo is one of the more important tasks a company will undertake.
So whether you’re undergoing a brand refresh or updating an existing logo, let’s walk through some of the main considerations to keep in mind.
Know Your Audience
Creating a logo is a unique undertaking for many reasons, but it is not so unique that it eschews traditional creative strategies. When creating anything, you should always have the end audience in mind. This absolutely applies to logo creation. A logo is the one piece of creative that all your audiences will see, and they will see it over and over again.
It’s entirely possible (and likely!) that you have many different target markets. For your logo, you need to take all of them into account and define that big-picture target market. Defining that audience takes work. A gut feeling won’t really cut it here. By doing the research into your audiences now, you’ll be able to leverage those findings to create a logo that speaks best to the individuals who make up your audience.
It’s Not Just a Logo — It’s Part of Your Brand Identity
Your brand has goals. It has wants and needs. It has a personality. It is complex and, ideally, you’ve defined what all of these elements are through brand development initiatives. If your logo doesn’t align with that identity, at best it won’t be effective, and at worst it will lose you business by confusing your audiences. If it’s helpful, don’t think of it simply as a logo, but rather a brand identity logo.
It’s entirely possible that your logo did align with your brand at one point in time, but brands are constantly evolving. Most companies will need to revisit their branding every couple of years. It’s unlikely the logo will need updating that frequently, but through those intentional steps of a brand refresh, you’ll understand how your logo fits into that story over time. Whether you’re doing a brand refresh or starting from scratch, consider how well your logo aligns with your brand voice, vision, mission, etc.
Look Back, but Plan Ahead During a Brand Refresh
As we’ve established, your brand will evolve. This isn’t a matter of if, but when. Brands that don’t evolve get left behind, so it’s important to plan for that growth.
Though change may be constant, you will not need to update your logo with that same frequency. Logos have the ability to conjure powerful emotions through the viewer’s past associations, and a rebrand can be jarring.
To be that consistent and reliable source for your audiences, design your logo with longevity in mind. Ask yourself, what sort of trends have you seen in your industry, and what’s on the horizon? In general, you’ll want a design that finds the balance between where you were and where you’re going. Once you have some prototype designs, you might even consider consumer research services or customer journey mapping for further insights before choosing the final logomark.
When we picture logos, it’s easy to arrive at the globally iconic ones. The truth is, they weren’t necessarily iconic on day one. Beautiful design can only take a brand so far. Without comprehensive brand fulfillment, it’s likely those golden arches or the swoosh would just be another nice design.
Like anything successful, logos take time. Time to understand. Time to develop. And time to impact. It’s essential to be patient, but even moreso, it’s crucial to be proactive. By making your logo design a deliberate piece of your brand strategy, you’ll have the ability to make the impact that both you and your audiences want.