Running a design agency often leads me to be in the firing line for a whole host of different questions. Some people want to know how much a logo will cost them, others are more curious into the process of designing a logo but nobody ever asks us “What difference will this logo make to my business?”
In truth, the answer is “a standalone logo won’t make all that much difference.” You might win a few more clients on social networking sites by having a good logo, and yes, it might improve your chances of getting an enquiry through your website. However, a logo on it’s own won’t make a massive impact. You need to invest in your brand.
Misunderstanding the difference between a logo design and branding can often lead to skewed perspectives and undelivered expectancies. The amount of people that email in with a design budget of £500 and say “well, we’re looking to create a company like Nike” is off the charts. “Nike’s logo only cost them £20” they cry (another blog post in it’s own right.) Yes, Nike’s logo mark itself did only cost a nominal amount of money, but the logo mark wouldn’t have succeeded without the huge branding and advertising budget behind it.
Yes, we could design you a great looking logo that works as the visual identifier of your brand. This is 100% within the realms of possibility. However, we can’t make your one single deliverable say more about the brand than the brand says about itself. If you want your brand’s values to promote “fair-trade and green beliefs” sure, we can bring that through in your logo, but if you’re busy chopping down half of the rainforest for reams and reams of paper and buying products from sweat shops in Taiwan, the logo is an empty shell of a promise.
A logo design is not a mask to hide your business behind. A logo design should pull out the best parts of your business put your best face forward to your clients. The logo is your face, it’s not a layer of deceit you add before your brand’s face.
Without the beliefs in the background of your business, your logo is saying nothing, or, telling lies. Changing it 100 times won’t change the way that your company acts. If you want your business to be viewed as “luxury and quality” then that work doesn’t start with your logo design. Yes, eventually, the brand identity will help bring your company ethos to your viewers in a visual capacity, but you have to lay the foundation first.
If you’re aiming for luxury and quality and you’re making t-shirts, stop using the cheapest t-shirts you can find. Instead, aim for the best quality of t-shirt within your allowed budget and adjust your prices to suit. If your budget doesn’t allow for a great quality t-shirt, and that’s what your brand is all about, you need to rethink your budget and your strategy. Simply settling and then commissioning a rebrand, won’t make that belief any truer than it was before.
If you’re rebranding your company, you need to think from the ground up. It’s no good just settling for changing a few layers at the top of the tree. Piling all of that pressure onto the base of the tree can often cause branches to break and the foundation to buckle. You can work with a branding agency to assist in the rebrand, but only you know your business from the inside out. Your chosen agency might make suggestions that you agree with, but going to them with some ideas formed might give you more of a launchpad.
We’re not saying “don’t commission any new logo designs” – that would be insane. We’re saying “don’t rely on a logo design alone to do all of the heavy lifting for your brand.” You have to have the beliefs installed from the start (or, you have to rebrand and install them then) to make your brand work for you. A new logo design won’t improve a bad brand, it will act as a mask. Then, once the customer is hooked in, they’ll be disappointed when the mask is pulled away.
A new logo design is not a brand. If you’re a new start-up company, you need more than a logo design. If your business has existed for a while, you have more than a logo redesign to consider. You need a set of beliefs, a system, something you can go back to and ask “does this reflect our brand, or are we missing the mark?”
Take Coca-Cola as an example. Their brand is a “timeless and classic soft drink.” Their brand has induced cravings for their products. Combined with explosive and exciting dynamic imagery, the Coca Cola logo has been ever present on the brand and business horizon. Unflinching and unchanging, the Coca Cola brand has not budged an inch. From the start, they created their brand and they stick to it rigidly.