Logos, Icons and Avatars (Part 2)
What To Look Out For In A Great Logo And How To Make One
The earliest usage of logos gives us insight into the history of branding. I call it the Genesis. Perhaps, I should write about the seven ages of branding sometime.
The first age I’d say is Age 1 to the 1500’s.
In ancient Norse, (North Germanic language, once spoken in Scandinavia), also called Scandinavian language, the word ‘brand’ means ‘to burn’. Literarily, to create a mark.
In those days, cattle rearing was one of the major businesses like we have oil and gas and tech now. As more people came into the business and the market share shriveled, there was a need to identify the cattle with their owners, hence the burning to create a mark on the cattle. So a ranch would have its own unique mark for its cattle. What we now call a logo.
The goal was to identify and perhaps differentiate but not differentiate intentionally as we know it now so let’s stick to identify. A logo is a graphic mark or a symbol, mostly made of text and images to identify a business or a product.
Back to our age. How important is a logo? Well, BBC spent $1.8 million for a logo redesign. Paula Scher of Pentagram designed the CitiBank logo in 1998 for $1.5 million. Accenture spent $100 million!
In 2000, BP paid £4.6 million for a logo redesign while the overall cost of rebranding came to £136 million.
Your logo is important, it embodies the character of a brand and represents it visually. It is constant across communication and can have serious business implications. Many times when you remember a product or an organization, their logo comes to mind. Imagine if Louis Vuitton made a wrong logo choice, The ‘LV’ mark is not spared in usage across their products!
Making a logo (for designers) can be tasking and choosing a great logo for a product or an organization can be daunting as well but this would help.
What makes a great logo?
I like to start with ‘simple’ and ‘simple’ doesn’t mean ‘not sophisticated’, it is actually more complex and requires a deeper thought process and for designers (and generally creatives), the test of your prowess is how well you can do all the hard work and come up with the simple stuff because behind every functional simple output is a ton of work. A simple logo is easier for your audience to recognize and can be applied in many different ways and still look great. Complex (unnecessarily) logos can be limited in application. They may look great on-screen and ugly on shirts or…
Take a look at some great organizations. They all have simple logos; Apple, hp, Microsoft, Google, Spotify, Twitter, Citi Bank, Deloitte, Louis Vuitton. Simple logos are the ones people recognize the most.
Meaningful, Relevant and memorable
A great logo should have a meaning and leave an impression, it should capture the viewers’ attention, send a message that is relevant in the business space it operates, and stay in memory
A great logo should stand out. When your logo can be mistaken for another, it’s bad news. Pay attention to the style, the colors, the type
Scalable and Versatile
A great logo should look excellent on every material (digital and print). Signage, t-shirt, stationaries, social media, web, etc. It should also look good when scaled down or up as well. Great logos are not limited in application.
So, next time you design a logo or review one for your business, remember, it has to be simple, meaningful, relevant, memorable, distinct, scalable, and versatile.
Having said that, I’ll be writing about ‘how to make great logo choices for your organization or product’ tomorrow.
I hope you read.