Updated: Oct 24, 2020
You know those days when you get out of the shower in the morning, you look in the mirror, and staring back at you, in all it’s gooey glory, is a raging, angry and quite frankly, offensive zit. An unsightly blemish on your otherwise porcelain and polished complexion. Well, occasionally a logo can be a zit on the face of an otherwise functioning and well thought-out brand.
This little blog might give you some insight into whether your brand, just maybe, might have a pimple problem.
Something that a lot of people get hung up on when developing their logo is that they try to include too much meaning or symbolism. They want it to represent and explain every aspect of their business through one aspect of their brand – this is not a logo’s primary function.
A logo is not a piece of communication.
A logo’s primary function is IDENTIFICATION, a mark that can allow your brand and business to be easily identified quickly and at a glance. Sagi Haviv, of Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, says that a great logo is three things: Simple, Memorable & Appropriate, and it’s as easy as that! Or maybe not quite. Let’s break these three things down.
KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid.
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of bad logos can try to communicate too much in a format that should be used primarily for identification, and a lot of the time end up being too busy. A logo should be simple, iconic and not too detailed. It needs to be able to be easily identifiable and clear at small sizes, but also provide enough impact when on the side of a bus or on a billboard. I’ve even heard some people suggest that it should be simple enough that a child can draw it from memory. Practically, a good logomark should be constructed simply, such as using simple geometric shapes, or an iconic, easily recognisable silhouette.
Like, Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch memorable.
There needs to be something special about your logo, something that makes it unique and a little bit different. Maybe it’s a form created through the negative space like the FedEx logo, or maybe it’s something that holds a double meaning, or that communicates part of the business’ story, something that sets you apart from your competition and gives people a reason to remember you. In saying this, always remember the first step. KEEP. IT. SIMPLE. In your efforts to be unique and different, don’t try and cram too many ideas, or visual ‘tricks’ into your logo. Simplicity rules all.
It’s not hard, unless you’re Donald Trump on Twitter.
Finally, a logo needs to be appropriate for the type of business that it’s representing. A florist should not look like a cutting edge sports brand with bold and dynamic type, and a sports brand should not look like a florist, with a soft, serif typeface and organic flourishes. If you’re finding that people think your business does something completely different to what you actually do, maybe your logo isn’t completely appropriate to the field of work that you’re in.
some super SUPER quick mockups to demonstrate logo appropriateness (don’t judge)
Logos can be tricky to get right. It’s hard to find the right balance of simplicity, memorability and appropriateness. To make sure your logo says something to the right people, without trying to say too much. And to also make sure it’s long lasting, and won’t look completely dated when the next design trend rolls around.
The logo equivalent of the Jurassic Park theme.
You want a logo that is classic, something that won’t be dated in 6 months, a logo that will stick with your business for years to come. Do this by avoiding any trendy tropes and things that are “cool” and “hip” right now. This will help ensure that your logo stands up with others in 6 months, as well as in 6 years. The longer your logo lasts, the more familiar your audience become with it, the more familiar they are with it, the more they will understand your brand and what you stand for.
A quick recap.
Step 1: Keep it Simple.
Is your logo trying to say too much? Make it say less. Remember a logo is Identification, not communication.
Step 2: Make it Memorable.
Is your logo forgettable? Does it get lost in a crowd? Give it a unique or creative spin to set it apart.
Step 3: Be Appropriate.
Does your logo just look… wrong? Make sure it fits within the industry and speaks to the right people.
BONUS STEP!!!: Make it Timeless.
Is your new logo feeling dated after only 6 months or a year? Avoid any trendy tropes to make sure it stands the test of time.
So, now, you might be having thoughts that maybe your logo possibly IS that blemish on the face of your brand. Maybe it’s time for a bit of a refresh, time to take a new approach to what your brand is and how it’s presented.
If you do start developing a new logo, to better represent your brand, keep these steps in mind and I’m sure you’ll come out the other side with a logo that will fly miles above what you had before. So, take some tweezers to that old zit and happy popping!
Hedgehog is run by Josh. Josh helps small businesses to sell more online with detailed advice, planning and management. Learn more here.