What’s in a Logo? Branding 101

In marketing circles, there are any number of definitions of the concept of “brand” and “branding”. Mostly good and helpful, but in it all, it tends to get a little complicated. I find it helpful to think of branding as perception.

Your brand is essentially how (past and potential) clients perceive your business’s reputation. The way your audience feels about what you offer. Branding involves helping to inform this perception.

Whether we like it or not, perception is as good as reality. How a person perceives a thing is their reality of the thing. Deep, I know  😉

Now, changing perception takes time and involves a lot of hard work. So, like many things in life, making a good first impression is critical in marketing your business well. It’s at least half the battle. Of course, the other half the battle is producing a quality product with top-notch service delivery. This is where we turn a client’s good perception of us into a positive reality.

BUT … but don’t miss out on the chance to make that good first impression. (Yep, that second impression is a much harder sell.)

One of the ways to make a first impression lies in the concept of design, and specifically, the logo of your business.

What’s in a Logo?

Your logo is often the very first “touch point” a client has with your business, especially in our online world. In a world drowning in content, special offers and promotional jargon, our eyes gravitate to pictures, symbols, and icons. We filter out the clutter and zero-in on the simple.

Whether it’s on social media, a visit to your website or even via promotional material you use, your audience focuses first on the “picture” of your business, your logo.

And here’s an inside tip from someone who designs websites. A logo goes a long way to determining the overall design of the site, too. The “aurora” of a logo, for a lack of a better word, helps to determine things from intangibles on the one hand (like the feel of the site), to tangibles on the other hand (like the colour palette, the typography, and so on).

Paul Rand said,

Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.”

In other words, your design is working for you 24/7/365. A good logo works for you. The truth is, a poor logo could be working against you.

Yes, design is more than just a logo. However, design often starts with a logo and it’s often defined by a logo.

Getting Your Logo Right

Getting your logo right means taking the time to get it right. While I always point people to Digital Inc Media, who do a bang up job of logo design at very affordable rates, there is great value in exploring as many options as possible. I highly recommend playing on a few free logo-makers to get a sense of what you like and what you don’t.

Recently, I met Greg from Logojoy.com and took their tool for a spin. By utilising artificial intelligence and advanced learning algorithms, Logojoy’s online logo design tool produces designs in the same way a designer would. In a few minutes, you’ll get a number of logo options to play with. It’s really quite incredible and a heap of fun. To start, you just pop your business name into this very inviting little space on their website:

Logojoy, What's in a Logo

You’ll then click on a few options like style layout and colour but I recommend taking your time at the fourth step, “Search and add up to five symbols”. Explore Logojoy’s database of symbols and pick at least five you like. (It’s from these symbols that you’ll generate your options.) You are able to make substantial edits later (including your symbols), but take your time hunting down symbols you like to generate options that grab you.

You can check out how it works here and there are a number of videos you can peruse on their YouTube channel. Please note, having a play on their tool to generate ideas is free but it is a premium service. That said, their pricing structure is very reasonable.

Now What?

Once you’ve generated a number of logo options, how do you make a choice? Ask a few friends for their first impression. While you can ask questions like, “Does it look good?”, “Does it capture the essence of my business?”, “Does it convey the right vibe?”, I like what Milton Glaser said:

There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW!”

It goes without saying that you’re aiming for the third option.

Jeff Bezos said, “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” One of the hard things to do well is getting your logo right.

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