Branding is one of those marketing concepts that is a bit vague and can quickly become confusing because of the versatility with which it can paint the image of a product. A product’s brand can a name, a phrase, a symbol, a composition made up of letters and forms – it can be pretty much any thing that embodies the spirit and image of a product or service.
“A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers” (American Marketing Association).
You can consider a brand as the idea or image people have in mind when thinking about specific products of a company, both in a practical (e.g. “the shoe is light-weight”) and emotional way (e.g. “the shoe makes me feel powerful”). It is therefore not just the physical features that create a brand but also the feelings that consumers develop towards the company’s product. This combination of physical and emotional cues is triggered when exposed to the name, the logo, the visual identity, or even the message communicated.
A product can be easily copied by other players in a market, but a brand will always be unique. For example, Pepsi and Coca-Cola taste very similar, however for some reason, some people feel more connected to Coca-Cola, others to Pepsi. When we think of branding, it is a process of attributing a meaningful connotation to a product through the process of creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds. It is a strategy designed to help the target consumers quickly identify the products that they will be able to relate to and give them a reason to choose their products over the competitor’s – and one of key things that truly differentiates brands is the logo. A company’s logo is used and reflected through graphical variations of it in colour, form and typography when it has to communicate to its customers. Different companies tend to use different tools to create and shape the factors that help customers recall and retain a logo in their mind. For example, it can be achieved through:
- The application of logo in advertising and communications
- Prominence of logo in product and packaging design
- Placement and utility of a logo while creating in-store experiences
- And of course, the application of logo through the visual language of a brand such as its brand colour palette, website information architecture and so on.
Of course, logo design is just one small sub-set of branding – but the logo, or brand mark, remains the centrepiece of most branding schemes. Great logo design requires a complex mixture of design skills, creative theory and skilful application. Any designer worth their salt can create a fit-for-purpose logo, but truly mastering all aspects of the craft takes time. A company’s logo enhances potential customers and partners’ crucial first impression. A good logo can build loyalty between a business and its customers, establish the brand’s identity, and provide the professional look of an established enterprise.
There are basically three kinds of logos. Font-based logos consist primarily of a type treatment. The logos of IBM, Microsoft and Sony, for instance, use type treatments with a twist that makes them distinctive. Then there are logos that literally illustrate what a company does, such as when a house-painting company uses an illustration of a brush in its logo. And finally, there are abstract graphic symbols-such as Nike’s swoosh-that become linked to a company’s brand. The last one is a tricky option to navigate not just for designers but also the companies that adopt it as such a symbol hold no meaning to the underlying features of a product or company unless it is communicated to the users through effective marketing and visuals. But building that mental bridge takes time and money. The Nike swoosh has no inherent meaning outside of what’s been created over the years through savvy marketing efforts that have transformed the logo into an “identity cue” for an athletic lifestyle.
This is an important to consider for growing businesses who can rarely afford the amount of money and time that is required to create such associations – so for such businesses is always a better option to go for a logo that clearly illustrates what the company stands for does. Even type treatment of a company’s name may be too generic a solution for such companies as consumers might fail to tell what the company does simply by looking at the logo.
When we were in the process of rebranding our company – we worked on the foundation of having an established connection and reputation amongst our clients. Having successfully achieved the trust of our key clients and being on the verge of a developing a booming technology skill set – the focus was clearly on establishing what we can do for our current and prospective clients and hence the new brand exercise was to focus on how Regur differentiates itself successfully from the horde of IT service offering companies by truly incorporating the spirit of going an extra mile for our clients – no matter the scale of the project, the role of the employee or the technology that will be used.
To elaborate this process it is important to understand what the steps that can lead to a successful iterative process of creating a logo.
Having a clear concept
Clarity in the thought and idea that has to be conveyed through a logo is the key step for logo design. It is usually established through a single sentence / mission statement about the concept which is very helpful in visualising the image that has to be projected.
A solid idea of what competitors are using
An analysis of the style and messaging of competitor’s business will lead to a logo that will definitely differentiate it from them.
Focussing on the message
The unique relation which the company seeks to establish with its target audience must be the cebtral theme of all logo concepts. A company’s brand promise is what should essentially drive the logo design process.
Making a clean and functional logo that can work on media
The logo application is just as important ad the logo concept as it has to look pleasing and meaningful on media as varied as business cards to billboards. A good logo has to be scalable and easy to reproduce as much as it had to be memorable and distinctive.
Using a concept that highlights the one key benefit of the business
Focussing and denoting the most important aspect of the company in the logo is very important. It is crucial that the focus is on an immediate statement with visuals and words.
Do not use clip arts, ready or generic typefaces, trendy styling
However tempting it may be, clip art can be copied too easily. Not only will original art make a more impressive statement about a company, but also set a business apart from others. Finally and most importantly.
Hiring a designer will help propel the logo design process for a company
While brainstorming logo ideas by yourself is a crucial step in creating your business image, trying to create a logo completely on your own is a mistake. It may seem like the best way to avoid the high costs of going to a professional design firms there might be many freelancers and independent designers would who charge much less – But don’t hire someone just because of their bargain price. Remember that a good logo should last at least 10 years and If you look at the amortisation of that cost over a 10-year period, it doesn’t seem so bad. Even if you have a good eye for colour and a sense of what you want your logo to look like, you should still consult a professional designer. They know whether or not a logo design will transfer easily into print or onto a sign, while you might come up with a beautiful design that can’t be transferred or would cost too much money to be printed.
To truly project your company as a successful pioneer in your key offering, make sure that the logo addresses each of the points listed above as it is the foundation of a company’s brand, so this is one area where being considerate and involved can really pay off later. To conclude, all the points discussed and elaborated above work when we remember the nature of the business at all points in time during the process and in time it would build equity in your trademark, and become a positive and recognisable symbol of your product or service.