If someone were to ask you about the story behind your brand logo, how would you respond?

When it comes to branding, logos usually get the most attention, but a logo is nothing without a great brand behind it. A logo should be an impression, a suggestion or a clue. It’s really there to inspire trust and capture the essence of your brand story.

Paul Rand, one of the world’s greatest graphic designers states that “a logo is a flag, a signature, an escutcheon, a street sign. A logo does not sell (directly), it identifies. A logo is rarely a description of a business. A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around. A logo is less important than the product it signifies; what it represents is more important than what it looks like. The subject matter of a logo can be almost anything.”

A great logo essentially boils down to two things: great concept and great execution. When you hire a professional branding agency you’re getting this — attention to detail with every colour, every line, and every design element. Each design decision has a clearly defined purpose.

Brand experts are able to articulate messages in the form of design, so you’re able to understand how your logo capture’s the essence of your business and your brand.

Unfortunately, this strategic delivery doesn’t always happen. Some designers or online stock sites come up with dozens of logo designs and leave it up to their client to figure out which one they like and why. You might wonder why is this a bad method, after all when you only see the result of a designer’s efforts, the logo creation can look like it was a simple task. But it’s not. A logo takes thought and creativity, and many elements combine to make a good one.

Strategically it is rare to have dozens of GREAT solutions, there are usually only a few good ones, and one or two great ones. Secondly, designing without the right background context, means there’s a good chance the client will never be able to fully appreciate or take pride in their logo.

that act between seeing and understanding is critical.

– Milton Glaser

Milton Glaser, the legendary graphic designer best known for the “I Love New York” logo, says great logo design has to do with simplicity. “You want to move the viewer in a perception so that when they first look at the logo…they get the idea, because that act between seeing and understanding is critical.

A logo doesn’t need to say exactly what a company does. It is only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation that a logo takes on any real meaning. Your logo should reflect your company’s culture and values: the brand essence. So don’t feel like your coffee shop’s logo needs to show coffee beans!

There are stories all around us, and brands fighting for our attention. Are you aware of their story — and more interestingly, are you part of their story?

Rob-Barnett-Straydog-Branding-Vancouver-Managing-Director-Brand-StrategistArticle by Rob Barnett
President, Brand Strategist at Straydog