Your logo is a representation of your business. It seems only natural for us to think that our business is also a reflection of us.
That can be true in whole or in part, but that doesn’t mean you need to like your logo.
That sounds terrible. Of course you want to like your logo. I want you to love your logo. But let’s not forget that a logo serves a function: creating a unique relationship with your potential customers to identify you by. That’s a very simplistic definition and the broader definition has a lot of nuance, but boiled down, this is what we are talking about here.
There is something key in that definition. I’ll give you a hint, your business is not the subject. It’s always about the target market you are trying to reach. You want your potential customers to like and connect with your logo more than anything. There are caveats though.
Pokemon are hot right now, should we use Pikachu in our next client’s project?
Probably not. This is where a lot of design work gets us hung up. We call this trendy design. The market for awhile now has been all aboard the hipster train. Everyone is really digging it. Give the people what they want, right?
There are a lot of issues with following the trends:
- It’s not suited for all types of businesses
- Everyone will look the same (being unique is out the window)
- It will not last and will become dated (i.e. redesigning more often)
- There are more effective ways to reach specific target markets
- It’s the flavour of the month. People grow tired of it faster.
The list really can go on and on. So it seems we’re at a bit of an impasse. Your logo design should be customer centric but shouldn’t pander to the current trends they like.
This is where the focus we talked about in “Who can use focus to improve sales?” really comes in handy. Look at your brand promise to your customers. How can you best communicate that promise to them as a logo design. Forget about the trends.
Sometimes we like to ask the question, “If your brand was a celebrity or famous character, who would they be?” This helps us find the personality of a client’s brand as it relates to their brand promise. You can ask questions like these as they pertain to buildings, plants, products, and just about anything you can think of.
The point is to find what falls in line with your brand. Places, monuments and animals are also great sources for analogy.
It should be more clear now why it really doesn’t matter whether you ‘like’ your logo or not. It needs to serve the purpose of drawing in customers and eliciting a specific response from them. The goal is to intrigue and captivate them.
When someone chooses your brand, they take it on themselves. It becomes a part of them.
Don’t believe it? Do you go to Tim Hortons or 49th Parallel? Do you get your groceries at Walmart or Donald's? Are you an Apple or Windows person? I think the Mac vs PC commercials puts a pretty fine point on it.
We take on brands because they fit our overall story. They fall in line with who we see ourselves as or who we aspire to be. This is why your brand is as much about you as it is about your customers. And why your customers need to feel connected to your logo as much as what your business represents. You don’t need to be the one that likes your logo.
But we should revisit the word ‘like’.
Do you like the bike you ride? I had a bike that was a bit of BSO (bike shaped object). It was a mountain bike I outfitted with road tires and used for my daily commute. It was heavy going up the hills around Boundary. As a secondhand bike, it was fairly worn. I had every reason to not like this bike, but I loved it.
The reason I loved this bike so much was that it served very functional purposes for me: getting to the office every morning so I could make money, spare the environment, and get exercise.
This is how you should think about your logo. Does it commute from you to your customer on a daily basis rain or shine (#rainorshineicecream is delicious by the way)? If your message is being effectively communicated to your customers and they are identifying with it, you’re on the right track.
New businesses won’t have the luxury of asking current customers. They can’t simply pay attention to whether their target market is actually their core business yet. A new business’ challenge is getting inside the heads of their target market. The only way to do that is research.
We do that by looking into our client’s competitors and trying to flesh out a single person that they are trying to reach. If you’re lucky enough, you might even know the one person that fits your market. Use this resource! You don’t have to go as far as asking them A or B in terms of a logo design, but try to understand the things they identify with and why.
The urge to redesign and start fresh affects us all. Revisit whether your logo design is serving its function. Are the right people receiving the message you want them to? Redesign for the sake of redesign is never the answer—your business should benefit from every move you make.
We made the executive decision and I eventually did replace my bike. My new bicycle fits me like a glove and it is tremendously lighter. It serves the exact same functions as my old bike, only now I am doing it faster. I like this bike for the exact same reasons I liked my previous one: it’s fulfilling a function.
The difference is that now it is doing it better and faster (oh, and don’t forget cooler).