Let’s talk about how logo design can influence the consumption, thus success, of a brand. 90% of all the information we absorb is visual and this visual material is processed 60,000 times faster than text. Most of the time, people actually make unconscious judgments about what they see – whether they trust what they are looking at, see a threat or disregard it completely. So, it’s only logical that the goal of branding experts is to get your attention and catalyze some sort of reaction. In other words, their goal is to make a lasting first impression that later entices us to utilize their product or service.
When it comes to logo design, it’s the designer’s responsibility to create a logo mark that is representative of the company and memorable by the consumer. It seems simple but can be daunting considering the millions of logos out there. Luckily, there are a few tips designers can use in order to create a mark that is unique and unforgettable, while also standing out from the competitors.
Keep it Simple
The 30 most memorable and iconic logos of all time have one thing in common, they maintain simplicity – take a look at Apple or Nike or McDonalds and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Simplicity helps to give logos a sense of accessibility and makes them easy to absorb and understand. You’ll notice that most of these companies actually started with much more intricate designs which over time evolved into the simplistic versions we see today. These companies really embraced the fact that a human’s attention span is less than that of a goldfish – we just don’t do well with large amounts of information, it exhausts our brain. Bottom line – the simpler you keep your logo, the more likely the consumer will remember it. Apple’s icon has been named the #1 MOST recognizable logo in the United States. I rest my case.
- Designer’s Tip for Creating a Simplistic Logo – When you’re sketching logos in your sketchbook, try reducing your sketch and then reducing again (and then reducing AGAIN…) to where you get to get to a logo that is as simple as you can make it, while still maintaining the integrity of the original icon. Then if needed, add detail back in.
Choose the Most Fitting Color
The color of a logo has the power to completely change the feeling of a brand, so choosing the right color is vital for brand recognition. Just imagine for a moment that the McDonald’s golden arches were purple – do they evoke the same emotions of warmth and optimism you grew up with? To me, they would make me feel as if I was entering some luxurious jewelry store to order a spicy McChicken. There are all sorts of studies that show how color can alter perception, and designers need to use this to their advantage. Here’s a little diagram to help you get started.
- Designer’s Tip for Choosing the Right Color – Have your client pick out the top 5 adjectives they would use to represent their company. Then cross these adjectives with the color psychology wheel to gain inspiration for potential color combinations that can subconsciously influence the target market. This will help highlight those key attributes that the company wishes to instill!
Design with Purpose
To differentiate your logo from other’s, add a hidden layer of depth to it. These hidden layers can speak to the organization’s core values. For example, FedEx incorporates a hidden arrow in between the ‘E’ and the ‘x’ to symbolize speed and precision. Check out this article on 27 famous logos with hidden meanings to see what I’m talkin’ about. These hidden elements can elicit positive responses from viewers and, in turn, establish brand loyalty. Plus, it’s just plain cool.
- Designer’s Tip for Creating Hidden Elements in Logos – Look at the negative space in your designs. Usually you can find some pretty interesting shapes when focusing on the space surrounding the text and graphic elements. Keep a list of different visuals that represent the brand and start by sketching out those basic forms and seeing how they can be manipulated into the negative space or possibly manipulating the logotype itself to fit a specific hidden visual. Just make sure it doesn’t look forced!
Throw out that saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” because subconsciously, consumers are making snap judgments on every brand that enters their existence. Logos are a powerful marketing tool that can establish trust with the consumer, instill brand loyalty, and reflect the values of the company. It is the job of you, the designer, to capture the essence of the company while hooking the attention of the targeted audience. The power of successful logo design is in your hands (and pen tool).