The Importance of Logos In Digital
To experience the power and importance of logos first hand, all you need to do is take your eyes off this article for a moment. Then peer around you. Look at all the buildings, vehicles and everyday items in your surroundings. They’ll have a logo plastered somewhere.
Almost every object we use in some way in our lives, from cars, to food, even to apartment buildings - has a logo on it. This gives it an added sense of identity.
"A logo is the visual summation of your brand. It’s the immediately recognisable mark that represents your product or service and sets you apart from the competition. It allows customers to immediately identify a product or company." credit Brad Amos, Helium Creative
A logo is the cornerstone of branding. The minimal nature of a logo is what allows it to represent something as big and complex as a corporation. Without logos, companies would become indistinguishable to the consumer. This presents a problem when your business model relies on people coming to you, instead of your competitors.
To understand how a logo can exercise such a powerful effect on the human psyche, we have broken it down, so we can see how it works in detail.
Logos Represent The Identity of The Brand Owner
As mentioned in our intro, a logo is the visual representation of a company. It provides enough visual and narrative elements to identify a business or one of its products or services. Logos have been used extensively throughout history for this very same purpose.
The Christian cross, the watermark of a medieval guild, the hammer & sickle on the helmet of a Soviet soldier, these are all examples of logos in their function of representing the identity of a particular group of people united around a common goal.
What counts for identity is a different matter. Some logos represent the primary activity of the entity in question. Others allude to feelings that arise when we consume a particular product or service, and others yet express the core values of the brand holder.
"Colours and graphics play an important role in the initial narrative that the customer perceives about your company. People are subconsciously emotionally affected by the different colours and tones of colours. Not only do specific colour combinations increase brand recognition, colours can be used to persuade purchasing decisions." Harry O'Brien, Creative Director, Majux Marketing.
Kate Daniels, Owner of KD Design & Marketing, adds: "Colours, graphics and fonts really matter. Different colours are associated with different emotions as well as providing personality - for example blue is associated with being trust worthy and loyal. Fonts can also be hugely influential as they provide the voice of your business. Do you want to be portrayed as welcoming, upmarket or fun? Do you want to be aimed at kids? Do you want your business to be seen as more feminine or masculine?
"Fonts and your logo helps to portray who your target customer may be. Additionally, with the rise of social media, the logo has become a more important element of your brand, especially for small businesses. When small businesses post comments, photos and articles, the logo is the identifying factor."
Why digital: Your logo is the front door of your business. People shouldn’t be surprised by what they discover when they open that door (click on your link).
They Are a Foundation For Further Branding
A logo is not dissimilar to an atom in particle physics. It is the most basic component of a brand's visual identity and the foundation for all further branding. A logo dictates the visual style of all sub-brands.
For example, Nike Air Max sneakers have a unique texture that sets them apart from other Nike products. But, they still conform to the design of Nike's company logo, the famous white swoop.
Elle Lynn, Creative Director at JuJu Creative Hub, says: "I can harp on a fair bit about the fact that branding is not just the logo and other visual elements. However, it is a fairly important part of your brand, as it’s probably one of the most distinguishable features that your business will be remembered for – particularly if it’s still in it’s early days.
"when taking the plunge to brand or rebrand, your website, Facebook Business Page and newsletter opt-in section are just a few of the places you should utilise to show off your business."
Illustrator, Jess Perna, says: "Use the same logo online, on truck wraps, on packaging, print media and where ever else you can. It is all important for recognition.
"We had a customer have a cartoon caricature of herself drawn and used it for a few years in her local paper as a real estate ad. She was so successful with it she had 9 employees in a matter of a few years. People would walk up to her in the market and recognize her from the cartoon. She had us redo it in 5 foot tall for a poster for outside her new storefront."
Debbie O'Connor, an internationally award winning brand strategist and the founder and Creative Director of multi-award winning branding studio White River Design, adds: "I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Your logo is not your brand. So for those people who assume that they can run out and get themselves a logo, slap it on everything and think that they have their branding sorted, are sorely mistaken. Now, don’t get me wrong. Having a well designed, versatile, target focused logo is an essential element to your brand, but it is simply the foundation from which so much more is developed.
"So if your logo isn't your brand, is it even worth getting one designed? The answer is simple - yes! As visual creatures, a logo is a quick, easy reference to connect us to a brand. Imagine building a house without foundations? We all know what happened to the little piggy who built his house of straw. With this in mind, I’d like you to think of your logo as your foundation for your brand."
All serious rebranding efforts that companies undertake to begin with the redesign of the logo. If you want good results, have professionals such as Bapple, for example, do it for you.
Why digital: Logos become synonymous with the online brand. Apple even inverted their logo on the top of their laptops, so it renders the right way up for on-lookers.
Logos Are Tools For Communicating With Consumers
Logos are a key component of all marketing efforts. They are a form of visual shorthand intended to communicate a message to potential, as well as existing customers and clients.
If your brand is all about style, then the logo can be a banner if you get it right or a barrier if you get it all wrong.
For this reason, the message a logo should be as clear as possible, and the design should reflect this. Logo ought to tell a single story, as this reduces the risk of getting misinterpreted. A customer confused about what values your company represents is one likely to conduct his business elsewhere.
"Whilst a logo in itself will not sell - it is vital to provide a professional and corporate image. This gives customers confidence in dealing with your business." - Aodhan MacCathmhaoil of Waster and Taylor Wells
Amazon, of course, has an excellent logo. The arrow in the logo points from the "A" in Amazon to the "Z," indicating that they offer everything A to Z. I think the arrow can signify delivery too, and it also helps it looks like a smile; no doubt intentionally.
Why digital: If your marketing and brand impressions is on point, potential customers should be seeing them on all digital platforms at some stage. For first time viewers, your logo needs to be synced with your product and/or services. The online audience attention span is low, if they don’t have the correct impression of what your company does from your brand, then they are very unlikely to expend any effort to find out.
They Make Products And Services Instantly Recognisable
On a more practical level, a logo is, in a way, a picture that makes recognising and identifying products and services much more efficient. A person can remember what a particular car or smartphone looks like. Yet, they are unlikely to be able to tell them apart when they are standing next to a multitude of similar items in an (online) store.
Christina D. Warner, Associate Marketing Manager at Walgreens Corporation, states that logos are even more important online because "an online or digital business lacks the physical store to prop up its brand, and therefore will rely on a logo more to provide brand awareness and recognition. "
If an item has a logo on it consumers will be able to narrow down their search considerably, making it easier to find what they are looking for. This is why design-wise, a logo has to be scalable enough to look instantly recognisable on keychains, as well as on billboards.
Why digital: Branding, branding, branding. If someone recognizes you and your company, then you have made it. Suffice to say hitting the likes of Google and Coca-Cola is slightly ambitious, but if you can get your target audience to get used to, or pick you out of logo lineup, then that is moving in the right way.
Logos Differentiate a Brand From Its Competitors
We've been talking about how the main purpose of the logo is to represent a particular corporate identity. However, it would be equally valid to say that the purpose of a logo is to differentiate a brand from its competitors. So a logo has to both encapsulate company values, but also point out how they are different from the values of other companies.
Think of how many pizzerias have logos that include the familiar topping-covered shape. A company that wants to set itself apart would do something like what Midnight Pizza did. They added a unique twist to the familiar design that instantly sets it apart from competitors such as PizzaHut, Domino's, and the like.
Why Digital: As much as you want your brand to sync in with its topic, you don’t want to get lost in the competitive crowd. Being good enough to blend in but stand out is a fine balance, but ultimately a very productive one.
Why should a brand consider updating their logo?
"Visual aesthetics are continually evolving so that we naturally recognise what’s fresh and new versus what’s old and dated. It stands to reason that if you have an old Logo, but you want to be seen as a contemporary company, your logo will make you look old and dated no matter how hard you try to be otherwise. Just look at the evolution of the Shell logo. It’s always been a shell, but it’s been refined several times over its long history to be cleaner and simpler to ensure it‘s kept up with the times.
"Logos can be modernised over time to help improve its recognition. Typically, the logos will become more simplified over time." says Peta Daniels, Owner of Car Rental Buddy.
Jakub Kliszczak from Crazy Call, adds: "I believe that every brand should update their logos in two cases. First being when it simply goes out-of-date. You simply have to keep up with current design trends to seem appealing to the people who see it or visit your website.
"Second, when it gets so big that it considers taking the marketing onto next level using more old-media ways of marketing. Then, you have to optimize your logo the way it seems well-placed on a huge screen or a printed add. Yet, it probably won't happen to many companies and honestly, it shouldn't."
Companies are also continually evolving and if what you do and offer is no longer represented clearly with your logo then you may need to upgrade or even change your logo." Credit: Phill Small, Creative Director and illustrator, Watermark Creative
"Businesses should review their logo ever 2-3 years and adjust with market trends as they would their overall branding strategy." Credit: Jemimah Ashleigh, Positioning Expert.
Bennett Farkas the Creative Director at Golden Spiral Marketing considers there to be 3 key triggers leading to updating a logo.
1. Your Growth Is Outrunning Your Brand
2. You Need to Look Like You Feel (Companies that are becoming more focused about what they do and who their customers are sometimes have logos that are vague and general from early on)
3. Your Existing Brand is Too Complex(A complex logo can’t be timeless. Fabrics, papers, technology, and the culture around us are changing at an increasingly rapid pace, but logos like Nike, Apple, FedEx, Mercedes, and Major League Baseball are built to last)"
Creating a logo is a fundamental part of every company's marketing efforts. In contrast to their size and complexity, logos hold enormous sway over consumer imagination and desires. Their usefulness can hardly be understated, which is why companies should make logo design one of their top branding priorities.
Guest blog is written by - Chloe Smith, business consultant for Bapple