By Shannon Sobota
In our world today, logo design can be a complicated subject. A common misconception is that all logos are the same. But they aren’t. There are so many websites out there claiming “Get a cheap ‘quality’ logo design for just $5!” In which case, “You get what you pay for,” would be accurate.
So, why can the cost of a logo design vary so drastically? And what is the difference between premium and budget options? Why should you hire a professional as opposed to an amateur to create your logo?
When your logo is the first representation of your brand, it can be difficult to be sure you’re making the best decision. Nobody wants to be deceived or have a lawsuit haunt them later on, due to copyright infringement. Here, we’ll touch on the value of working with a professional, and what goes into creating an effective and successful logo design, so you’ll have the peace of mind, and knowledge to make an informed decision.
Understanding What a Logo Is and its Purpose
Here at Blakely + Company, a full-service advertising agency in Colorado Springs, a lot of our clients come to us in need of a logo design. In order to know what to expect, it helps to know what exactly a logo is, and what it can do (and should accomplish if done correctly) for your company.
A logo is a piece to the puzzle, a key part of your overall brand. It identifies your company or business in the simplest visual form of a mark, icon, and/or typographic compilation. Logos are meant to symbolize the purpose and reason as to why a company exists, and/or to symbolize the product. They are an abstract way of identifying with the company’s background and story, without going into the details.
Think about it like this: If I were to describe a sweet and tart fruit that is brown and hairy on the outside and green with black seeds on the inside, what comes to mind? Hopefully you immediately thought of a kiwi. In a similar fashion, a logo should not literally describe what the company does or is, but it identifies the business in a way that is recognizable and memorable.
Communication, Research & Conceptualization
Although much interaction today is done through machines, people and their companies grow and thrive through face-to-face contact. Professionals understand your company is like your child. It takes time, love and nurturing to create something beautiful, and we WANT to take the time to get to know you and your vision and goals. What led you to this point? Where do you want to go from here? With everything we learn in those meetings together, we will draw from it, and create a logo that is uniquely yours and made for your business—not a generic concept that could work for a number of other organizations.
Studies have shown that the icons or graphics we see on budget logo websites come from stock graphic websites. Anyone has access to these websites, which means that the “unique” budget logo is actually not unique. In one test, the same graphic ended up being used on multiple websites around the world!
Design professionals have been formally trained and are in this business for a reason. We understand you want and need an expert to help guide the way. We understand that design and collaboration takes time, and logo design is no different. It doesn’t take just a few minutes to create a logo. There needs to be time for conversation, extensive research, conceptualising/concepting multiple options, and teamwork to create an effective product. When you work with professionals you’re able to see your “child” reach the potential you envision.
Key Factors That Make a Successful Logo
You want a unique design that tailors to your unique story and company, right? A logo that is relevant within your industry, yet has a unique flair all its own? These points are very important when designing a logo, but there are also other key factors to look for in a successful logo creation.
Simple, Memorable & Functional
Well-designed logos are simple, and not overly complicated. In many cases, the less detail the better. Let’s think about this for a minute: logos are used on all kinds of mediums these days, from pens, to T-shirts and billboards, etc. Therefore, a good logo needs to be seen clearly at all these varying sizes, and retain clarity and readability, or it will look clogged up and lose its message.
In a well-thought-out design, there is usually a unique focal point that the audience is drawn to, making it memorable. Out of all the logos throughout the decades, do any in particular come to mind? If so, think about why it is that you remember them. Is it because of a unique mark? Brilliant typography? Or just an interesting design? For example, the Starbucks logo is one of the most famous and recognizable logos. The mermaid creature is actually a Greek Mythological creature called a siren. The logo originally started out as a sketch, and has evolved over the years to become much more simplistic and memorable, yet keeping the original idea in place. Other examples of logos that have made their marks in history are McDonalds, Nike, FedEx, and many others.
Lasting & Effective
Other key factors to look for in a successful logo design is whether it will stay relevant for years to come, and still be as effective. The logos of companies mentioned above have been equally effective and relevant since their debut. Their designs may have evolved but still retain the original core and purpose. Design can be tailored toward the current trends, but that should only ever play a small part in logo creation. Trends come and go, so it’s important to know how your logo will impact your audience years from now. For example, the Coca-Cola logo has hardly changed since 1885. This logo has proved to be timeless, and still very effective.
Versatile & Appropriate
As mentioned earlier, logos are used on a wide variety of mediums, and will have to be scaled to different sizes and used in many different ways. A good logo should always have at least a horizontal and vertical version so its use can be flexible.
Also, a good logo design must work well in one color, as opposed to its full color version. In the process of designing a logo, the designer should always start in black and white, for this allows the focus to be on the shapes, type, and concept itself, before adding color (which can be subjective). Color is used to evoke and convey certain emotions. For example, blue tends to convey trust, loyalty, sincerity, success and responsibility, whereas, red can evoke feeling such as energy, power, ambition, passion and excitement.
With color, one must keep in mind that the more colors used, can mean higher printing costs (more ink). Printing in CMYK vs. a Pantone color can make all the difference. Experts know that when it come time to choosing colors for your logo, the Pantone color books are the preferred method. If you’re wondering what a Pantone color is, just think of it like a premixed paint bucket. What you see is what you get, and the color will not falter or change. For CMYK, think of your home inkjet printer: Four colors are mixed together to form all the other colors. CMYK printing is usually pretty accurate, but there is more room for mistakes and error. Once your logo is final, professionals will supply you both of these color versions and much more, so you’ll always have what you or the printer needs.
Another key factor that makes a successful logo design is how appropriate the logo is, and how it compares to other logos in that industry. A cat food company’s logo might look very different from an insurance company’s logo. The logo for the cat food company is likely to look a little more playful and colorful. This design would generally not be appropriate for the insurance company. They are each intended for a different purpose and audience.
Whether you’re just beginning to develop your company and still working on your story, or if you’ve already established your brand, and need a little extra guidance, getting help from a professional to develop your logo is one of the most important things you can do. A great logo does not have to cost thousands of dollars. Just save yourself the trouble and stay far away from those $5 options! You will thank yourself.
If you’re ready to walk this journey with a team of professionals, our talented team at Blakely + Company — full-service advertising/marketing firm—will ensure that you are delivered an effective and memorable logo that captures your organization’s unique story.