Nike spent billions on their Logo to teach millions of people that the swoosh is a symbol of human possibility and achievement, as well as status and performance. And if you are a designer, the typeface comic sans in a Logo is a symbol of bad taste, low status and laziness. A hundred years ago, a Logo was in its infancy. It wasn't something done by a billion people a day and every day as we market to each other online. Our ability to so this with intent can make the difference between success and failure.

What does this remind you of?

Busy people don't care about your work as much as you do. People scan instead of study, and when we scan, we're asking "What does this remind me of?". This means that the Logo you use, the stories you tell and the appearance of your work all matter. Words resonate with us, not only because of what they mean, but because of how they sound and how you use them.

It's not just the Logo, it's even the way you set up the room for your company off-site. People do not care about you, or how hard you work, they want to know are you a real deal and your Logo is the first brand they see to start making their decisions. Even something like how you design your website, if it is full of flashing images and cluttered, it immediately reminds someone of a scam, and that impression can almost never be undone.

Many designers design a Logo that looks similar to other Logos, especially to bigger companies, this is not lazy but they are trying to design the Logo to show the world you are a solid company.

Logo - What is your brand?

Your brand is NOT your Logo. In a crowded world, with too many choices and with just about anything "good enough", you are quite lucky if you have a brand at all. A brand and a Logo is a shorthand for the customer's expectations. What promise do they think you are making? What do they expect when they buy from you or meet with you or hire you? This promise is what your brand is, and again, it starts with your Logo.

Nike does not have a hotel, but if it did, you will immediately have a very good guess to what it can be like, that is Nike's brand. If you have true fans, the only reason you do is that this group has engaged with you in a way that signals that they expect something worthwhile from you the next time they do business. It's not specific, it's more emotional.

A commodity, even if it has a Logo, has no brand. If you are buying wheat by the ton or coffee by the pound or bandwidth by the GB, you don't have any specific expectations other than the spec. If you get exactly what you got for faster or cheaper, you will pay for it.

If you want to build a marketing asset, you need to invest in a good Logo and connection with your potential clients. If people care, you have your brand.

Does your Logo Matter?

It matters less than your designers want it to, but more than most people realize. If a brand is our mental shorthand for the promise that you make, then a Logo is the post-it reminder of that promise. Without a brand, a Logo is meaningless.

If you make a Logo list which you admire, the prediction will be that the Logo you have chosen is a brand that you admire, not because the Logo is well designed. No one will pick a Logo of a brand that ripped them off. This is because a logo is so wrapped up in the brand promise that we imbue them with all powers of the brand, ignoring all pixels involved. It is possible for a terrible Logo to adorn a fabulous brand, and many of the best brands have no identifiable or memorable logo (Google comes to mind).

But all this does not mean you should be careless when choosing your Logo. You should always pick a Logo that helps speak your brand, and that can work on all types of media. But mostly, pick a Logo that you don't spend a ton of money on or have a lot of meetings about, and keep it for as long as you keep your first name.

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