Photo: Ryan Brown/HubSpot
A great logo should tell consumers exactly what they need to know about your brand with just one look. The logo is often the first thing consumers see when buying a product or service, so it’s crucial that it leave a lasting impression.Ryan Brown, Brand and Buzz Strategist at the marketing software company HubSpot spoke to us about what a company’s logo can do for its customers.
Below is a slightly-edited transcript of our conversation:
For companies to have widespread recognition of their logo, they must have a great product or service as well as a really strong brand. If you have both of those things, selling your products and promoting your company is easier, giving you the ability and resources to promote further and reach more people. And once your product and brand becomes successful, you can use the money you make to promote your brand and logo in very recognisable ways. I think Apple and Nike are great examples of companies who built really great products and a strong brand experience that grew their business and helped propel their logo to widespread visibility and recognition.
What are the best practices that brands should follow when it comes to logo design?
Logos should be simple, clear, consistent, memorable and versatile so they can translate across different types of media, and can be placed on different types of backgrounds. I would look to Target, Shell, or FedEx as good examples of this.
Is simpler always better when it comes to logo design?
Almost always, yes. An exception may be if a more complex logo is done in an effective way to make your company more memorable, and for it to be a specific design choice that stands out. But generally, simple and clear is the best when it comes to logo design. Ask yourself, “what can I take away so that it’s still awesome, still memorable, but isn’t really needed?”
How have the overall styles of different brands’ logos changed over the years?
Over the years there have been a series of trends that a number of companies have followed. For example, during the dotcom boom a number of companies included an “e”, “i” or “@” as part of their name or logo. For a period of time a lot of B2B companies all used a globe as part of their logo.
Some companies like Pepsi have evolved their logos a number of times over the years to have more of a contemporary look and style, while companies like Coca-Cola have barely altered their logo at all over the years.
What does a successful logo do for a brand’s consumers, or potential consumers?
A successful logo—and ultimately brand—acts as a symbol that you are part of a community, and it’s a signal to consumers or potential consumers of what to expect. It becomes a strong visual cue to anyone who sees it and can represent a company’s promise, trust, and level of quality.
Take a generic can of cola. With no logo or an unrecognizable logo the soda is not worth much. If you place the Pepsi or Coca-Cola logo on a can of soda, that can of soda instantly becomes more valuable. It clearly tells people what to expect and creates a reaction to how they feel about that particular can of soda.
What is your advice to a business that is creating its first logo, or rebranding and creating a new one?
Take it seriously and don’t mess it up. Resist the urge to design by committee or trying to make everyone happy. Hire a professional or at least someone with experience to help guide you.
Similar to the best practices already mentioned: Be thoughtful and mindful when creating or updating your logo. Your logo should be simple, clear, and consistent. Consider how it will translate across media, from TV to web to print, and think about how it might look on a dark background, or a light background, or a different colour than you usually use.
Your logo isn’t your brand; everything your company says and does makes up your brand. Your logo is how people will recognise your company and potentially tell them how they should feel about you. A strong, well-designed logo will help a company tremendously, but it’s no substitute for building a company with a great product or service and treating your customers well.
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