What makes a good corporate logo?
A corporate logo speaks volumes. It’s a shorthand visual representation of what your brand is all about.
The best known and most effective logos are instantly recognisable. Mention the double-arches of McDonald’s or the Nike swoosh logo and most people can visualise what you’re talking about without being reminded. They are ubiquitous, reinforcing strong brand identities and summoning up a range of associations in the minds of the viewer.
It’s not just household names that can use corporate logos to help build and reinforce their brand identity. Every business can use a corporate logo to communicate its brand identity.
So what is a corporate logo, what makes a good one, and why exactly are they so important?
What is a corporate logo?
A corporate logo is a graphic symbol that represents your brand. It’s a key, foundational part of any company’s brand and is often the primary means through which a customer can form an image of your company. It’s a key promotional tool that can help set your company apart from the competition while helping to promote customer loyalty.
Logos can be simple, or more elaborate, but it will usually be easily reproduced and above all else consistent. The best corporate logos can go untouched for decades ensuring that your company has an instantly recognisable visual identity that customers know and hopefully trust.
Why is a logo important?
Logos are key to the success of your business. Without one, it can be much more difficult to establish and sustain any kind of brand identity. It’s often the foundation stone of your brand identity and will be the building block around which you shape the rest of your brand.
The colours, fonts and tones of the logo will all be shaped by the story you’re looking to tell about your brand. It will showcase how you position your business and what makes you different from the competition.
Your logo is often someone’s first impression of your business. It can spark their interest and make them want to learn more about what you do. It helps to immediately communicate a sense of ownership of your products and services, and perhaps even your particular niche.
Your audience will also be expecting to see a logo, and without one they may have questions about your business. When there isn’t a specific logo the name of your business effectively fills that particular niche but is unlikely to have anywhere near the same impact as a logo.
Your logo should be memorable, help to differentiate you from the opposition and be consistent. It’s a key hook point when it comes to establishing brand loyalty which is all-important for any business that aspires to a viable and growing future.
What are the elements of a good corporate logo?
There are many different ways to create a good corporate logo. Many opt for a simple approach; others go for a more involved logo. Different strategies can work for different businesses but there are some key elements that make for a successful corporate logo. These include:
Keeping it simple
Although some brands, particularly those with a very defined niche or in a sector that expects it, can make complicated designs work, most companies are best keeping it simple. Don’t have too much going on but ensure that what you do have works well to communicate something important about your brand.
Making it memorable
It’s easy to create a generic logo for your company or one that mimics what other companies within your industry are doing. If you can, create something that stands out from the crowd without being confusing to your target audience. A memorable logo tends to reflect what your sector is doing while developing common ideas in a new direction.
Making it timeless
While it might be tempting to use highly current and fashionable designs and approaches for your logo, you need to think hard about whether or not this is appropriate for your business. Trendy logos can quickly become out of fashion and look outdated. By opting for a timeless design, your logo is less likely to need updating. A good logo should stand the test of time and be a foundation block for the rest of your brand identity.
Making it versatile
A good logo should be able to grow with your business. It’s inevitable that businesses will develop over time, often adding new products and services as the years go by and sometimes evolving into something quite different from how they started. With that in mind, your logo should be versatile enough to be a point of consistency as your business grows.
Keeping it appropriate
Finally, your logo should be appropriate for your business. It needs to reflect your industry, but also what’s unique about your particular business. If it doesn’t it can be confusing. It’s also important not to be tempted to shock with your logo or choose something in bad taste. It will communicate something about your business and it’s unlikely to be positive. Unless of course, shock and bad taste is part of your brand identity!
Where is a corporate logo likely to appear?
Your corporate logo will appear right across your marketing channels and anywhere your business is mentioned. It will feature prominently on your website, on your social media channels, on business cards, signs and banners. It will also usually feature on products and packaging, on letters and emails as well as invoices and forms. It may feature on promotional merchandise and on any vehicles that your business has.
In short, your corporate logo will appear everywhere. That’s why it’s crucial that you get your logo right.
Examples of good corporate logos
Some of the greatest logos are also the simplest. Here are some examples of some of the best well known and most effective logos on the planet:
The famous swoosh is synonymous with high-quality but accessible sport and leisurewear.
The apple with a bite taken out of it immediately identifies the Apple brand without the need for any extra text.
The five rings of the Olympics are one of the world’s most iconic logos, immediately conjuring sporting spectacles and great human achievements.
Starbucks is an example of a slightly more complex logo but it’s still instantly recognisable. Over the years the logo has developed slightly, with the brand name being removed. The image itself now does all the work.
The famous Disney logo is extremely simple, just the name of the brand, but its genius is that it looks like a signature. Which is in fact what it is. The Disney logo is based on Walt Disney’s own signature.
The colourful eBay logo is another effective brand identifier. It’s simple, just the name of the brand with offset letters in different colours, but it communicates something about the online auction and shopping site. The lower case e is an instant identifier.
Can you design a corporate logo yourself?
It’s perfectly possible to design a corporate logo yourself. Over recent years it’s become even easier with the advent of logo design tools online. While these make it easy to come up with your own logo, it’s likely that you will generate a heavily generic and limited logo. It won’t create a logo that’s unique to your business and communicates anything important about your brand.
Creating a logo should be more than just a box-ticking exercise. That’s why it’s advisable to work with a professional branding agency to create a logo that will make your business stand out, support your brand identity and stand the test of time.
To do this takes considerable work, but it’s worthwhile making the effort and investment. You’re likely to have to live with your logo for a considerable amount of time so it needs to showcase you appropriately. Having a logo developed professionally can ultimately save you time and money in the long run.
How to get started
To create a logo that works for your business you need to think about what makes your brand different. What kind of stories do you want to tell about your brand and what marks it out as different from the competition?
You should also think about the colours and fonts you want to use. Green is a natural colour, red more urgent, whereas blue can be calming and reassuring. Black is often used to communicate authority. You’ll also need to think about how scalable your logo is and whether or not it will work well across different channels and mediums.
You may know your business and understand what you hope to achieve, but you lack design skills. A professional brand agency will work with your to develop your ideas and will then use their knowledge of design and marketing to create a logo that works for your business.
How Dawn Creative can help
If you’re in the process of developing a logo for your brand or want to update an existing one, then Dawn Creative can help. We take time to learn about your brand, your goals for the business and what you want to communicate to your target audience. We then develop logo ideas that reflect those priorities and values.