Day 8 - Evaluating Your Logo
Welcome to Day #8 of the 31 Days to Better Branding series! To learn more about this series, click here and find links to the other days so you'll be able to follow along or catch up if you happen to miss anything. I am by no means an expert but after hearing a lot of the same questions, I figured others could benefit from a few lessons in branding. Hopefully it will give you a place to begin or even just a few tips to improve your business and bring you more clients. Feel free to add in your thoughts and what has worked for you in the comments!
Nice! We made it all the way through the "Identity" portion of branding and now we can start with the fun stuff this week: Appearance! So here is the statement I hear the most when it comes to identity...
"My logo needs serious help! Its not 'me' at all."
Is this where you're at? I have a few tips that can get that logo in shape if you feel like it's looking thrown together. Even if you are just in the brainstorming stage, these tips will help it from becoming a chaotic mess.
The purpose of your logo is to be a visual representation of your brand. You want it to leave a mark on your clients so that they recognize your brand and associate it with you.
Is your logo too trendy? A mistake a lot of people make is sticking to trends and then their logo becomes quickly dated. You want to keep it classic and professional so that it won't look cheap when the trends change. Does your logo look like everyone else? If your logo looks like the business down the street chances are you might need a few tweaks for it to be memorable and unique. Is your logo too personal? On the flip side, are you trying to communicate too much of yourself in your logo? It needs to be "you" (your style) but it doesn't have to say everything about you (your interests).
Remember the purpose is to attract a certain type of client or audience so make sure it's designed for them.
//Become a Minimalist
Less is definitely more when it comes to logo design. A clean logo grabs attention and keeps it. A simple logo is easy to look at. Is your logo too busy? Can you take any details away to make it stronger? You shouldn't have to depend on a background, colors, gradients or patterns for it to work. Get rid of those distractions. Think simple shapes - equally strong in black and white and color. Most logos also need to work at a really small size so be careful how much detail you add in.
The icon is basically just the visual symbol to represent your business. The best thing you can do is research and try to think outside the box when it comes to your logo idea. Don't just settle for the most obvious visual like a camera for photography or light bulb for ideas. If you do want to stick with an obvious visual, then think of a way to make it more original. Sometimes you can cleverly merge two images into one or use the negative space to transfer an idea.
Also keep in mind your strengths as a business and how you can communicate that visually. For example, if you're style is whimsical and dreamy, ask for your icon to be done in a whimsical style. Or better yet, choose a designer who naturally makes dreamy-looking logos and you'll probably get the result you're looking for.
(Good resource: logopond.com)
Choosing the font for your logo should never be an after thought. This is probably the most important part of the design. If it's done really well, you may not even need an icon. (But if you do have an icon, ask yourself it the font and icon complement each other - like if there are a lot of rounded edges in your icon, you should try to use rounded edges in your font as well.)
Does your type have good contrast and balance? I always try to use two fonts - one larger and more detailed for the main title and one smaller and more basic for the subtext. You always want to keep that balance and contrast so the words don't compete for attention. That way you can give the viewer a focal point and make it easy to read.
//Ask A Designer
A lot of people attempt to design logos themselves or ask a friend or relative to do it, but unless you or your friends have serious skills, I HIGHLY suggest working with a good designer. This sounds extreme, but the appearance of your branding can really make or break your business. If your logo and visuals don't look professional, your clients may not take you seriously and may not be willing to pay you as much. And remember that it's going to cause you to attract the right type of client like we talked about on Day 5, so it's worth paying for quality.
Once you have a good designer, make sure they know who you are as a business and who you are hoping to attract. The more they know about your style and ideal client, the better. Also make sure you know up front how many revisions you will be able make to their design (usually it's 1-3). Another thing to ask them to do would be a couple logo variations. These are variations to your logo that look similar and can be used in different spaces (like horizontal vs. vertical uses like on a pen or as a blog header).
(Good resource: Behance.net)