Logo 101 (Part 1 of 2)

Q: Do You Need A Logo?
A: If you’re giving a business or service you’re offering a name, yes.

Would you do business with a bank without a logo? Would you walk into a grocery store with no logo?  Even the generic-brand food stuffs you buy have logos.

What is your logo? A logo is a first impression, a jingle, a thing to be remembered by and recognized again for. Therefore two important elements must be present for a logo to work:

1)   It must communicate a clear message.
2)   And it must be used consistently, repeatedly. Even to the point of you being tired of it.

Before we get into the art of a logo, we need to do some basic work to determine what the logo is going to be conveying.

Communicating a Clear Message: What is Your Superpower?

What is your company’s message? Often confusion about what sort of logo to create stems from not having boiled down your message.  What is your company’s super power? To borrow from Seth Godin, he explains that in comics whenever there were meet-ups of superheroes while the big heroes like Batman and Superman didn’t have to introduce themselves, lesser known characters would say hello, give their name and then a short synopsis of what they could do.

“I’m The Wasp! Able to shrink to the size of an inch and fly by means of insectoid wings.”

“I’m Celia! I champion other people’s ideas and help communicate when words fail them.”

“We’re TTI! We repair expensive lab equipment like you see on CSI to extend their life cycles and save you money.”

What is NOT a Superpower Statement.

“We provide personal vehicle owners and enthusiasts with the vehicle related products and knowledge that fulfill their wants and needs at the right price. Our friendly, knowledgeable and professional staff will help inspire, educate and problem-solve for our customers.”

Thoughts: Personal vehicle owners? How about ‘cars’? vehicle related? How about ‘products and knowledge’? Fulfill their wants and needs at the right price? Can we get more bland?

“We combine aggressive strategic marketing with quality products and services at competitive prices to provide the best insurance value for consumers.”

Thoughts: In this one, who cares about your strategic marketing? Not the customer! What do you mean by quality products and services? What is a competitive price? Cheap? Good for the value? What value? And if all this is just to provide the best insurance value. Why not JUST say that?

“Profitable growth through superior customer service, innovation, quality and commitment.”

Thoughts: Much more concise… but what the heck does this company do besides make money off it’s customers?

Amazing Mission Statements & Taglines
Your logo, your superpower and your mission statement should all be in alignment. Here are some amazing missions statements from companies you might know.  Good statements will answer:

Why does it exist?
What is your unique selling point?

What are you committed to giving customers?
What promises are you
What needs, wants, pain or problems do you solve?

Federal Express – The World on Time
Nature Conservancy – Protecting nature. Preserving life.
Ethan Allen – We create beautiful spaces
Pennzoil – We’re driving protection.
Lenscrafters – Helping people see better one hour at a time

Look at those tag lines and then at their logos. See if you can pick out some of the subtle ways those tag lines influenced the logo colors, shape and typography.

Visit again on Friday for the final installment of Logo 101 where we discuss some of the how and why of color, and font selection.


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