A successful business rests on solid planning. Branding and logo design are too often treated as though their development is discretionary. Yet these two elements have the power to drive business success more effectively than many other business investments.
The following five best practices for brand standards and logos outline simple elements which make it easier for your potential customers to recognize you instantly. These principles also guide you toward building rapport with your audience.
"Logos often stand alone as the sole symbol of an institution." For example, consider the Nike logo. No matter what size at which it appears, you recognize the brand instantly.
Research is essential. Identify your target audience. Know who you are reaching out to and what your logo stands for. What message do you want to send to your audience?
Avoid colors in your logo which might be problematic for that group. For example, red is a positive color in Asian cultures, but it receives mixed reviews in Western society. Around Valentine's Day, it's associated with love. Yet the rest of the year it may mean danger ahead.
Blue could be even more problematic. While it's associated with loyalty and peace in Western society, the Chinese associate blue with immorality, and Koreans correlate blue with mourning.
Don't pack tons of information into your logo. It won't have impact if you do. Aim for a single concept whenever possible. Think Apple, AT&T, Nike, Volkswagon, Toyota.
Condense your brand concept as well. Narrow your messages to tight sound bites that reflect your company's core messages. Aim for six words or less. If you develop tight taglines, they are easier to remember. Short three-word taglines often work well with the company logo. They also make good endings for videos.
At the same time, you want memorable, so focus on a unique message. "Exceptional" anything is too commonplace. Play around with words that evoke emotion. Juxtaposition words you don't usually see together. Home Depot achieved this with "More saving, more doing."
Short not working for you? Go with as many as 10 words, if it sends a clear message about who you are.
For example, "Arrive alive" sends a different message than "For life," Volvo's current slogan. Mercedes' message holds more power with, "Engineered like no other car in the world." Yes, it's longer, yet the message remains simple.
If you are using your logo on marketing collateral, then sizing is usually the only element you should change. Occasionally, color may be considered. It is best to emphasize your brand's color scheme in your marketing materials. Choose graphics, photographs and font colors which complement your logo.
It may be frightening to focus on one message as you brand yourself. It's worse to "not understanding your target market segment and the branding process that would provide the most value for that segment." If you've researched carefully, and without prejudice, staying consistent with your message will benefit growth.
Logos appear in many locations-websites, brochures, business cards, book covers, flyers, and advertisements. Location determines which design layout works most effectively. Color variations can be helpful for creating distinctive marketing materials, so play around with them.
In its Creative Design Services department, The University of California, Riverside, emphasizes the importance of never altering a logo. They expect size, fonts, proportion, colors, positioning of design elements and special effects to remain constant across their entire platform.
You don't have to be this rigid; however you should develop a design manual which contains the following elements:
These five steps become a powerful tool to ensuring the talent you hire delivers exactly what you need for a successful brand. Develop guides based upon careful research.
PS - Download our Team EJP Brand Refresh Case Study to see how we helped one company define their brand standards and successfully rebranded all seven EJP companies. Click here to download or click the button below!