Logo design is simple, right? After all, it’s just a combination of colors, words, and shapes. Or is it? Truth is, designing a logo is more complicated and sophisticated than most people think. Even the plain and minimal logos of Apple and Nike were made with considerable effort, time, and money.
But what if someone doesn’t have all those resources? Is it now impossible for them to get a well-designed logo? Not nowadays. In fact, you could run a crowdsourcing project for a cheap price. Or you could design your logo in minutes using free logo maker tools.
Note that all these do not exempt you from getting a generic and impersonal output. Whichever you choose, whether an agency or DIY logo software, some problems such as lawsuits and customer loss could ram you on the edge had you not been careful enough.
By careful, means to consider some aspects before designing. Oftentimes, what goes on in the actual design process is less important than what goes before. So these are the following things you should consider before actually designing a logo. Keep these in mind:
Obviously, businesses are not equal in terms of branding budget. But a good thing to ask: How much are you willing to spend to make your brand more iconic?
Your budget size lets you choose from hundreds of design options. Those with bigger budgets can afford a top-notch design agency. Small budgets can only get inexpensive logo software. Even with zero budget, free logos abound on the Internet.
All options come with risks. The less control you have over the design, the riskier. In such cases, you might encounter having similar logos with other brands. Then, you might lose your chances of being unique. Much worse is the possibility of lawsuits. (We will discuss trademark in number 2.)
Your budget acts as the blueprint of how the design will go. Does it say you must have expansive research? Does it need designers collaborating? Do you need many logo designs to choose from? Or you just want your logo fast and free so you can start business operation.
Trademark is a form of intellectual property protection. It protects logos, slogans, business, and brand names. Meaning you can trademark unique parts of your brand.
For example, McDonald trademarked their golden arch icon. Tabasco’s hexagonal bottle cap is trademarked. And Subway Sandwiches trademarked the word “footlong” in one word.
A trademark is unnecessary, especially for startups. But if you’ve been in the business for too long and you want your rebranded logo not seen anywhere else, then trademark it.
However, both startups and established enterprises are obliged to know the world of trademark and copyright. Because without knowledge on these, there’s a big chance you might infringe on other’s intellectual property.
So to prevent the dread of trademark lawsuits, first, do your research — market, customer, intellectual property research. Then, make your designs as unique as possible.
3. Brand values
A logo comprises not just of shapes, colors, and images but also of meaning. So, where to look for meaning? Check your brand values. What matters to you as a business? Is it integrity? Is it growth? Responsibility? Respect? Pick one or more that best reflect the company values.
Customers nowadays buy from brands whose values they can relate to. For example, the black lives matter movement. A company that supports those on the frontlines can entice a bigger audience because the movement has been received positively. The same goes for other social movements and policies.
In short, brand values will attract like-minded customers. If your brand values are socially woke, sustainable-friendly, and ethical, then it will attract consumers who identify just the same. If you want the opposite, the same principle applies. What matters is that brand values will determine not only logo design. It will also affect marketing strategies, consumer behavior, market projection, etc.
4. Customer values
Brand values are not the only values that matter in the search for logo design. Customer values are as important. That means you must define your target audience early in the process.
Some companies look inward when designing a brand. Say they focus on the speed of their service or the cutting-edge technology. But what appeals more to consumers are those things that touch their values.
So to avoid a self-serving logo or any brand visuals at all, you must consider your target audience. What matters to them? What are their values? Is it love, community, honesty, or independence? Which aspect matters the most to them? Which one do you think they would love to feel and see from your logo designs.
5. Old perception
For those companies trying to rebrand, it’s vital to look into what customers previously thought of their brand. Companies often forget to look at the past when rebranding because they believe it would affect future visual identity.
Not everything from the previous identity is unpleasant and distasteful. It’s worthy to note that there are customers who loved and patronized your past brand.
It’s the same in the case of Dunkin’ when they retained their brand colors because that’s what their consumers can recognize from a mile away. Apple did the opposite. They kept the apple design but changed the rainbow color. What was left was a minimal apple logo that still resonates with their customer-loved identity.
All these tell us that not everything about the old identity needs to die. When trying to design a new logo, set your eyes on the future, but never completely disregard the past. There has to be something in there that has ingrained in consumers’ consciousness. Is it the colors, the process, the customer service, the messaging, or the typefaces?
For those companies that are yet to be established, old identity is none existent. With that, The future needs more consideration.
6. Future perception
I hope you’re not designing a logo solely because every company has one. A good logo design is in retrospect of the past but also in line with the future. In this case, you must outline the brand goals.
What is the general future of the company? Let’s say, in terms of valuation, brand following, social media number, acquisitions, and innovations. Of all the companies in the market, what is your brand’s unique path?
This perceived future can determine the fate of the logo. In considering only the company’s past perception, then the logo could be a ticking time bomb. Soon, it will lose its appeal. But if the logo is forged as a reflection of the brad’s short and long-term goals, then it will last.
Ready To Create A Logo Design?
Take all the time in the world when designing your logo. Hastening the process will more likely lead to failure— failure to listen to customers, failure to understand the brand values, and more.
But take note, a logo is not to compensate for the substandard quality of products and services. No matter how well designed a logo is, a product or a service that doesn’t deliver well will drag the company to filth. A logo is only a reflection of the brand’s ability to fulfill its purpose.
Marvin Espino has been writing since high school. A background in journalism marked a career in reporting and freelance writing. He has written several articles on marketing, technology, and small businesses. Outside work, Marvin reads a lot and hoards well-written pieces for inspiration. And he sings and bakes goodies too.