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Look around you. How many logos can you see and recognise? Each little image is a brand ambassador, reminding you that the product exists and that you should buy it. While many are hard working, some are the equivalent of a drunk salesperson, harassing the customer with an overly aggressive or inappropriate pitch.
As graphic design experts working with companies across Hampshire and beyond, we’ve created and improved hundreds of logos. Here are some of the common ways your logo can let you down.
A simple logo is easily adaptable. Boiled down to it’s essence, something like the Apple logo or the Nike swoosh can appear in any colour and any size from while still being easily recognisable. You may not have the budget of a multinational, but you can still have an amazing logo. Work with your graphic designer to ensure that your logo design is not only simple enough to doodle on a beer mat but also looks good in a wide range of colours. Can you picture your logo on a postage stamp or a motorway billboard? Ideally it should scale between the two without losing its impact.
Your logo is, in many ways, the face of your business so you need to give it a few distinguishing features to make it memorable. Just as your friend with the blue hair and the multiple piercings is the easiest to pick out in a crowd, your logo should stand out. Graphic designers aren’t paid for their in-depth knowledge of your industry so if you work with an independent designer they may well offer you the most obvious choice – a tree for a garden centre, a car outline for a taxi company, building blocks for a childminder – and as result it may look like every other logo in Hampshire. At boxChilli we work with our clients across multiple areas from logo design to marketing so we can invest the time to understand what will stand out from the crowd – whatever your crowd is.
Colour influences us on an emotional level. Whether it’s hard-wired by genetics or learned in the playground, certain colours have vivid associations which you can harness for your branding. As an obvious example, green is associated with relaxation and the natural world while red is brash, bold, powerful and sometimes angry. There’s a reason spas and parks have green logos while sports cars are shown in red! Naturally, it’s not always this straight forward. The shade of the colour you choose can make a huge difference – add enough white to sports-car red and you eventually get baby pink. Choosing the right colours for your logo should be part of a conscious brand placement strategy, as well as meeting graphic design standards.
If you’re starting a cafe in Hackney that only sells cereal imported from France and opens at midnight your logo should be so hip it hurts. For those of us based a little further from the epicentre of cool being on-trend can be a liability as a graphic design trends can bewilder those not in the know, have a few minutes in the spotlight and then quickly look dated. If you’re a Hampshire-based small business, your customers are probably more likely to appreciate a nod to local history than an award-winning visual effect from California.
Too much colour, too many fonts – excesses of all kinds are de trop when it comes to great logo design. It might be tempting to throw in another colour, add another font, an image or perhaps a bit more detail but the best modern logos have a grace and simplicity that makes them stand out. Anyone can throw together a bunch of graphic design features, but it takes an expert to know which elements to leave out to improve the whole. Some logos even use negative space to create hidden information – look for the secret arrow in the FedEx logo, for example!
Graphic design experts often point to brands like Coca-Cola and Shell which have been around for a hundred years or more as examples of great logos. However, while some elements of their logos have stayed the same over the shifting years others have changed beyond recognition. Although every business wants a logo that will still be recognised in a century, it’s important to update your logo to reflect your current business priorities and your audience. If your company has shifted its focus, perhaps from a local Hampshire audience to a national one, from B2B to B2C or simply widened your demographic then it’s important to do a refresh.