Written by Paddy McGrath
You probably realize by now that your logo isn’t your brand. It won’t make or break your business, or bring you fame and riches. Its purpose, in my eyes, is to give people an easy way to remember you. That’s it.
To stand out in a busy marketplace you need to plant a seed in people’s minds. They’ll likely come across dozens of people or businesses who do exactly what you do, so you need to be the one who they remember. One of the best ways to do this is to tell a story — YOUR story. Your logo is the “memory hook” that recalls this story in their mind whenever they see it.
As a logo designer, I challenge you to question exactly what you want to be remembered for, then boil this idea down into a simple and memorable symbol. Here are some insights for you to consider:
Your visual identity is about visual storytelling.
If you think back to when you were at school, the lessons that probably stick your mind are the ones that were taught through storytelling. This is how you capture people’s attention and get them to notice you. So this is how you should view your messaging, as a story that will draw people in and show them that you’re a little bit like them. Whether it’s your logo, business card, color scheme or social media banner, your visual identity is about visual storytelling.
You must be brave and be prepared to show the real you. And if you frame it in a way that shows you’re there to help, you’ll make the buying/hiring decision so much easier.
A logo designer is like a tattoo artist.
When you get a tattoo, you’ve pretty much got an infinite choice. Some people have portraits of lost friends or loved ones, or they might show their allegiance to a political party or football team. Others though are happy with “tribal pattern no. 33” on their lower back. What I’m saying is, you can make it mean as much or as little as you choose — there’s no right or wrong answer. All it does is change the story you tell whenever someone asks you about it.
I reckon this is true for your logo too. It can be rich in meaning and tell your story, or it could be a generic shape that your local printer knocked up for you to go on some last-minute business cards. It all depends on how you want to be perceived by your target customer, and how much you value yourself. A well designed logo can create a positive impression on your personal brand.
Clearly communicate the value to you deliver to your target audience.
People buy from people, and they remember the people who they can relate to. So your story is how you bridge the gap between people knowing who you are, and knowing how you can help them. A powerful logo can clearly communicate the value you bring to your target audience.
Logo design lessons from Amazon
Let’s look at the Amazon logo as an example. At first glance, you will see a logo that has a word mark and an underline icon. Do you know what that means? If you will notice, the line is touches A to Z.
Their explanation is this:
“Amazon wants to communicate that the place to find everything from A to Z online is amazon.com. Great story. The underline is also a smile — which presumably represents how you feel when you use Amazon to find what you’re looking for. All that from the company name and a simple underline” (Amazon, March 2017).
In this example, Amazon is using their logo’s visual design to tell the story of their company’s mission and commitment. It’s a powerful icon that tells a simple story and brand promise. Your logo should do the same.
Example: Logo Design for Optimise Consultancy
One project that I worked on for a friend’s consultancy business. He manages huge projects involving complicated stuff to do with airports and power stations. When I asked him to describe what he does, he said “I just make sure everything works together.” He wanted an icon that will reflect this. The name optimize means to “improve the efficiency” and the O symbol represents elements coming together and forming a whole. The illustration has a forward momentum to suggest progress and gives it the dynamic feel.
Ready to get started with your logo and visual identity design?
An initial discussion is important to know what you want to achieve, where you want your brand to take you, and how you see the journey unfolding. Next is to factor in your audience: what makes them tick and what motivates them to part with their cash. A great logo and a visual identity system can be created within a few weeks, so get in touch with us today.
Paddy McGrath, aka Super Logo Boy, is a symbol-minded logo designer who is focused on creating logos with meaning. He is a part of the Kaitlin Zhang Branding team, designing logos and visual identity for corporate and personal branding clients.
Originally published at kaitlinzhang.com on August 7, 2017.
Kaitlin Zhang an award-winning personal branding consultant, helping entrepreneurs, executives and celebrities manage their online reputation. Kaitlin founded Kaitlin Zhang Branding in 2016 serving corporate and personal clients in the USA, UK, Canada and China. Follow her blog to learn more about personal branding, corporate branding, digital marketing and reputation management.