Getting your logo right can be a valuable step in the creation of your business. The logo design process, however you decide to approach it, will require you to look closely at your brand, to strengthen it and to focus in on your emotional selling proposition, that is articulating in a nutshell the benefit your brand delivers for your customers.
The Value of Research
Before you create a logo you will need to research your target market and industry. The better you know your customers and competition, then the better you can understand your own business and brand, and how you will fit into (and stand out in!) your industry. You could send out a survey designed in Google Forms (free with your Gmail account) to your network and ask participants about their current experience with your product and using competitors. Tip: Using social media platforms to share survey links can help you reach more people. Other free survey tools include SurveyMonkey.com or Wufoo.com. Survey your existing customers and prospects and if your business concept is new, get out on the street or in the venues you’re most likely to find your customers and survey potential customers to help you validate your idea. The more research you can do, the more information you will have for the next important step in creating your logo – the brief.
The Value of a Logo Brief
Whether you employ a sole trader, an agency or crowdsource a logo, designers will ask for a brief.
A design brief is the perfect opportunity to distill your brand ideas – your values, your vision, and your goals – into its key elements and concepts. You will need to give this information, along with your research, to your designer so that they can understand your company and come up with the perfect logo to represent it.
In this way, a logo brief is a highly valuable way to strengthen your brand, as it forces you to ask the kinds of questions that customers will want answers to. Your logo brief will ensure you, your designer and ultimately your customers fully understand and connect with your brand. Any designer or design crowdsourcing marketplace worth their salt will ask you questions such as:
1) Target Market - The industry or marketplace is this size or scale. Where would you position your product or service in the field of these users/target market, both currently & desired?
2) Brand Position - In the case of a re-brand, is it designed to increase your market-share/user base (brand reposition), or simply to update your current look to your existing market, to reflect the changing face of your company or product or service? (i.e. brand “face-lift”)? If it’s for a new product or service, you should focus in on the positioning that will most influence your first target niche, as once you start testing your brand with that market you’ll quickly learn if you’ve validated the concept and have found your target market. Tip: Be open to iterating on the brand until you have the best business model and customer-product fit.
3) Scale – Do you have an idea of “scope-of-scale” for the brand – basically the range of sizes and executions the brand will be seen in. For example, a client who makes branded wallets, and who does not advertise for the product in traditional media, might take a strategic decision to only showcase her brand on small & embroidered (on the wallets themselves) or on her website. This may seem like a silly question, but knowing if the brand is to be seen on a billboard, TVC or any other kind of execution can dramatically affect the design process.
4) Logo VS. Brand – There is a difference between a logo, and a brand. You should decide if you’re open to the inclusion of much greater branding possibilities (art direction, shifting colour palettes, photographic style, brand strategy etc), or after a more simple, logo-only execution for now? For new business concepts it depends on the target market but a logo and brand direction are likely to be assets you develop over time, as you discover who your customers are and what they aspire to.
5) Alliances/Competition – What is the bigger story going on in your industry? What government and corporate alliances exist? Who are your key competitors? Tip: develop some product, customer, competitor matrix’s that plot your brand’s or company’s position against key competitors and articulate your niche. Use these tools and what’s happening in your industry to communicate with designers where you’re heading and if you’re likely to form future alliances, see yourself as a possible acquisition target or stand-alone.
The Value of Simplicity
The most effective logos are, more often than not, the simplest. Whether you create your own logo or have one designed by someone else, you will need to think simple. This will require thinking about your business in simple terms, getting to the crux of what makes your business special, and why your customers should care.
You want your brand to be simple and understandable. Creating a logo that is also both of these things will help you to do just that. Can you summarise your value proposition in 140 characters or less? Can you recite a two-minute ‘elevator pitch’? This is the kind of synthesized, succinct statement designers will refer to for visual cues they can add to the creative process.
The Value of Crowdsourcing
Perhaps the cheapest option to get a logo designed, and to start creating your brand, is crowdsourcing, where you post your design brief on a site like DesignCrowd.com.au and then get hundreds of ideas and concepts posted back to you by lots of different designers.
This can also be really valuable if you have some idea of your brand, but are still struggling with pinning down exactly how you want to represent your business. Crowdsourcing yields lots of different ideas, so you are bound to find one that grabs your attention and focuses your brand vision. You will also have the opportunity to then give feedback and work with the designers to get the exact design you want, just like with the traditional process.
The Value of Logo Marketplaces
If you have no idea about your brand, perhaps if you are just starting your own business for the first time and have very little experience, a stock design marketplace such as BrandCrowd.com can be incredibly valuable.
A marketplace such as this contains hundreds of templates, everything from a simple logo to a fully-realised brand that you can browse through and buy “off the shelf”. You can also work with the original designer to apply a creative vision across multiple touch points. You can work with the designer further to develop the art direction for your brand. This can be incredibly useful if you are struggling to create a brand – as you can look through a number of professionally-created concepts and logos and choose one that you a) think looks really great, but most importantly b) think matches with your own ideas, values and vision for your business.
Getting your logo right can be a huge step towards focusing your brand and strengthening it into something those customers can rationally and emotionally engage with. It should be memorable (easy to recall graphically in the customer’s mind) and represents an emotional benefit to the customer because it delivers on its promise to do just that; your brand says to the customer I will save time/save money/look smarter/prettier/more handsome/thinner/savvier/live longer/be more comfortable/have more fun etc. So make sure you get a well-designed logo, and the rest will follow.
Tweet your questions to Jo @DesignCrowd
DesignCrowd is a community where you can choose from thousands of designers to create a design for your website, logo or other design project at a budget that suits your needs. Simply post a brief, then sit back and wait as dozens of designs roll in, then when you are satisfied, choose the best design that suits your needs. It’s that simple! Get your logo designed at DesignCrowd today!