No word needs to be spoken, yet every commercial and almost every ad you have ever seen for a product can race through your mind in the blink of an eye. How? Merely by glimpsing a familiar company logo.
A logo, a simple visual representation which has come to be associated with a specific company or with a specific product can be one of the most powerful advertising tools a company has. If your company – or your product – does not have a distinctive and powerful logo, you really must ask yourself: Why doesn’t it?
What makes a good logo? A good logo is simple; it can be taken in by the eye with a single glance. A good logo is rectangular, it seldom has more than two colors and it has a distinctive yet simple type face. On the surface a logo is basic, clean and simple.
However, the best logos, the ones that help to propel a company to greatness, can hide subtle visuals which add one or more additional layers to what appears on the surface to be a simple design.
Take the FedEx logo as an example. It is clean. It is simple. And it consists of only two colors – plus the white space between the letters. The white space, the part of the logo which “isn’t there,” can be of extreme importance.
Look at the FedEx logo again, only this time un-focus your eyes slightly and look at the white space between the E and the x. What do you see? What you see is an arrow, an arrow pointing forward. Subconsciously the FedEx logo is saying that this is a company moving forward and if you use its service, your company will be moving forward as well.
It’s a brilliant concept, a brilliant design, brilliantly executed. Simple – yet very effective.
There are many more examples, but the point is that a logo represents a product or a company. A logo must be eye-catching, it must be totally unique to a specific product or company, it must be simple, it must be appealing, it definitely must be memorable – and it should in some way imply that the company or product which it represents is the best choice that a consumer can make.
Consistency is another hallmark of an effective logo. Once a good, workable logo is designed and the public has been made aware of it – don’t go changin’ it. Once the public becomes used to a logo the same logo should be used for a very long time.
That brings up an important point. Logos should not be designed by amateurs. A logo might be deceptively simple, but the key word is “deceptively.” Designing and then bringing to life a logo which embodies all of the qualities which a good logo must have takes a tremendous amount of skill, talent, and knowledge. Not everyone possesses all of the qualities necessary to design and execute a logo which will propel a company into the next century.
Keep in mind, too, that a logo must be designed to be used across a huge expanse of media, everything from business cards and letterheads to invoices to signs to the sides of trucks to PowerPoint presentations and so much more.
Leave the design and the execution of a logo to the professionals. A professional knows how to design a logo so it is effective across all media, understands which colors to use, can choose a typeface which is distinctive yet easy to read, and understands how to integrate a strapline, or company motto, into the overall design. It takes a tremendous amount of skill to make something which looks so simple do so much.