Many believe the face of a company or organization is its logo. A logo is often the first impression of a business, and a good logo can go a long way in building loyalty and helping establish brand identity. Unfortunately, the opposite can be true of a bad logo.
So what makes a logo good? Logos should be simple, versatile, timeless, memorable, and appropriate.
Simple: Here in Washington DC, Giant Food modernized its logo a few years back. The new version was designed so that it would give a healthy vibe, while also being bright and inviting. Nationally, Nike has hit a home run with its trademarked swoosh. Although it did not start out as an international symbol, it has become synonymous with sports. Nike’s logo scores high in all of the below categories and has become such a worldwide icon that the word “Nike” isn’t even necessary anymore.
Versatile: As the face of your company, your logo needs to be able to be used in many different ways: color, black & white, scalable, work horizontally & vertically, etc. You see GEICO’s (Government Employee Insurance Company) logo EVERYWHERE thanks to their almost $994 Million dollar advertising budget (according to SNL Financial). GEICO’s logo can be manipulated as needed – black & white, color, watermarked or turned sideways. Place a GEICO Gecko next to the logo and it comes to life.
Timeless: In the Washington DC area, Long Fence is a logo many of us grew up with. You couldn’t drive by a fence without seeing the familiar Long Fence sign. To this day, when asked who someone should buy a fence from, Long Fence is the only name that comes to mind. Nationally, Coca-Cola has used the same logo for 126 years. The current logo was created in 1887 and hasn’t changed since. Over the same period of time, Pepsi has changed its logo 10 times!
Memorable: Apple, another successful symbol, is memorable. Although there is nothing unique about the image of an apple, there is no mistaking Apple’s logo and the small bite out of the side. It used to be colorful and is now a simple black and white image. Apple has made their logo one of the most memorable logos in a relatively short period of time.
Appropriate: If your logo is a client’s first impression, it needs to paint an appropriate picture of your company. Ideally, your logo will provide an indication of what your company does without overusing words or images (since simplicity is VERY important). A good example of this would be the Washington Capitals hockey team. They use a logo in which the “t” in “Capitals” is a hockey stick, complete with a puck on the end of it. It is clever and appropriate. Nationally, The Walt Disney Company has different logos for its various companies, but all communicate entertainment. They generally feature the Disney Castle in the background or a character from one of their movies. Although last on this list, appropriate has gotten more companies in trouble than any of the others. For a quick laugh, check out these logos.
Remember - before a consumer enters your business, moves forward on your website, or meets with a sales representative, they will probably have seen your logo at least once. If you make it simple, versatile, timeless, memorable, and appropriate, you stand a good chance of gaining a long time customer.
Developing a logo isn’t easy, but it is very important. You will probably need graphic design help to create one, but you and the designer will need to have thought through the points above and answered many questions about your marketing. We have two tools that can help you with this process. The first is our free eBook: The Marketing Strategy Model. This eBook will guide your company through the process of creating an effective marketing strategy and help with logo creation. The second eBook that can help is our Step by Step Guide to Brainstorming for Marketing Effectiveness. It will provide you with all the resources needed for you and your team to hold a successful brainstorming session that will produce an effective marketing strategy and a logo that helps position your business.