Have you started questioning your logo design?

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What makes a logo not just creative, but strong, successful, and lasting? How do you know when your logo isn’t working the way it should? Even though you’ve invested in a logo design, is it what you wanted? Is it working the way you envisioned? What makes one concept potentially better than another? How do you narrow down your top choices in a logo redesign to a front-runner when different people are responding to different aesthetics?

Unfortunately, things change. Maybe what you once thought was a good logo for your business just doesn’t work anymore. Maybe your business focus or customers have changed, maybe you’ve grown or changed markets. Maybe you’ve added services or changed your mission or merged with another business. A new logo is a great way to earmark a new phase of the business. Most of the most famous brands in the world have seen extensive brand evolution, including Coca-Cola, Apple, and Ford.

ford logo evolution

DesignModo.com

But where do you begin? Having a list of objective criteria keeps group discussions from decentralizing into whims, personal esthetics, or stubborn positions. Here are five tips to help you discern if a logo concept has what it takes to best represent your business.

Customer-Driven

Will the logo appeal to your target customers; both now and later?

This is probably the biggest hurdle for most people to overcome. You are not your customer. Your “likes” are not necessarily theirs. So it’s important to answer critical questions: Who are they? Does it speak to their interests or needs? Could it create confusion or be difficult to understand?

Uniqueness & Simplicity

Does it create a strong and distinct impression?

Logos are about visibility in the clutter of the marketplace and being distinctly different from your competitors. Graphic designers deal in a systematic world of symbolism, form, typography, and color where it’s nearly impossible to be “totally original,” though we constantly try to develop new interpretations of meaningful ideas. It’s more important to be different within your competitors (industry, category, or geographic region) than the logo universe as a whole.

Simplicity is one of the hardest things to achieve and requires the most work, which is the inverse of what most clients expect. Too tricky or too detailed and you risk losing your audience before they even get the message.

Credibility

Does it communicate your quality, expertise, and trustworthiness?

People have automatic expectations and assumptions of certain types of businesses. You need to project something that’s credible. Much of brand perception is about trust. If this logo is someone’s first introduction to your company, does it inspire the trust you want? Credibility and relevancy vary quite a bit by industry. What might be totally acceptable for a hair salon might not play well for a bank, no matter how creative or nontraditional the bank’s clientele.

Timelessness

Does your logo have a long shelf life?

A good logo should have 10+ years of staying power; and many can last decades. The point is to have your new logo last as long as possible to maximize your investment.

For the sake of a longer shelf life, avoid logo trends that could easily look outdated in a few years. Aim for a timely and classic design, one that can grow with you. The idea is to create something timeless and inclusive enough that you can absorb minor shifts and delay a strategic overhaul until it’s truly necessitated by either outside or inside forces.

Things change so fast in today’s business environment that it’s likely that some business aspect will change significantly in terms of your market, customer, or product long before the 10-year mark (even faster if you’re in consumer or retail industries) which means you may need to adapt or redesign your logo and brand identity to be in sync on a more frequent basis.

Adaptability

How well can this concept be applied in a variety of technical applications?

Will it work in black-and-white, as well as in color? How about screen-printing, embossing and sand-blasting? Can it scale up effectively to billboard size? How about down to the size of a promotional pen?

If it’s difficult to adapt as-is to the full diversity of applications, are there logical ways to make special-usage adaptations of the logo that would work and still be consistent with the original? Is there a horizontal version (for web banners), a stacked version (for signage), or can one optimized version truly accommodate both?

New Logo Checklist

Do you have a tag line? If so, would you like it stated alongside your logo?

Do you have any specific imagery in mind for your logo?

Do you have any color preferences, or existing brand colors? 

What adjectives should best describe your logo?

What feeling or message do you want your logo to convey to those who view it?

How do you prefer your logo to be worded or written out?
Example: thebigapple or TheBigApple or the big apple or The Big Apple

How would you like the typography to appear?
Example: script, bold, light, hand drawn, masculine, clean, vintage…

Where will you logo be used?

What’s your deadline?

What’s your budget?

Would you like additional design services packaged with your new logo?
Example: business cards, envelops, letterheads, etc.

What current logos appeal to you and why?

Effective planning will reduce the likelihood that the “official” logo gets diluted or fall out of scope. Let Black Bear help you rework tired logos or start fresh with a new concept.

Featured image via Avopress

Featured image 2 via Otomobil markalarindarki logo degisim sureci

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