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What your logo says about you

How your business could be affected by your design

Whether you’ve been running a company for years, are still trying to establish yourself or are just starting out, communication with the consumer is key to success – and the first point of communication is via your logo.

Through a logo, businesses try to convey several messages, ideas and values in the simplest form possible to potential customers, who are more likely to recall visual stimuli than anything else as people generally remember pictures rather than words.

Big companies can spend millions designing their logos, knowing the wrong design could affect the direction of their business. When clothes retailer GAP revamped their logo in the US in 2010, there was a huge backlash from consumers who felt the new design looked cheap, so much so that the company ditched it within a week. After trying to enlist the help of shoppers to create a better one, they reverted to the same design that had served them well for 20 years. So what makes the logo so important?

Why is a logo’s design important?

A logo is a visual representation of a company’s identity. Through it, a customer will be able to assess a business’s values, services or products so it needs to be well-planned, individual and engaging. Therefore, how it represents a brand should be the most important question companies face when designing a logo. Should it be traditional? Simple? Playful? Forward-thinking? How will it represent a company’s values and does it show who they are, what they do and why they do it? How can it symbolise their ethos and inspire trust?

For such a small, simple design, a logo should involve a lot of thought and discussion. Colour, font, shapes, symbols and design have to work together. According to the “Gestalt Theory”, people typically view different parts of something as a unified whole – just one wrong element could affect the credibility of your brand.

Take a look at the Guild of Master Craftsmen’s logo. It represents excellence, skill, quality and consistency. It conveys an image of expertise, security, tradition, experience and knowledge. It is a symbol recognised by customers as one they can trust and make them confident about choosing the business of those who display it. How does your logo represent your brand?

Five qualities of a successful logo

  • It has a purpose.
    The logo should capture what the industry represents, but should also meet the needs of its target audience.  
  • It should be simple.
    A successful logo will feature something unique without being complicated. It will be engaging, strong and the service will be easy to identity.
  • It should be memorable.
    A good logo will be distinctive, eye-catching and easy to recognise the next time it is seen. If a symbol used in a logo is relevant to the company’s name, this helps the logo become more memorable. A combination of name and symbol is an even better design as it is instantly memorable.
  • It is timeless.
    Good logos will stand the test of time. Simple shapes, recognisable elements and colours or symbols for the business represented are important to a logo that will last for many more decades to come.
  • It is versatile.
    Whether it is on posters, the internet, badges or t-shirts, a great logo should be simple enough to be able to be scaled down or up and still look good.

Factors that could affect how a logo is perceived

Colours on a logo

Colour psychology is the idea that certain shades may make us think differently. Here are some of the most popular logo colours and the ideas they could represent:

Red: Powerful, Passionate, Strong, Energising
Orange: Fun, Rejuvenating, Bold, Comfort
Yellow: Happiness, Positivity, Friendliness, Optimism
Green: Growth, Balance, Wealth, Nature
Blue: Trust, Honesty, Dependability, Calm
Purple: Creativity, Royalty, Quality
Black: Sophisticated, Security, Elegance, Independence
White: Innocence, Cleanliness, Purity, New beginnings

Shapes on a logo

Just like colours can impact a design, so can shapes.

Circles, Ovals and Ellipses: Community, Friendship, Wholeness
Squares and rectangles: Stability, Balance, Reliability
Triangles: Intellect, Power, Energy
Curves: Happiness, Rhythm, Feminine
Symmetry: Organisation, Tradition, Hierarchy
Organic: Pleasure, Comfort, Nature
Vertical Lines: Masculinity, Strength, Power
Horizontal Lines: Tranquillity, Calm

Fonts on a logo

A typed word can be perceived in different ways depending on the font used to write it.
Here are some of the fonts regularly used in logos and the message they could convey.

  • Serif fonts – Convey messages of tradition, class and reliability.
    Examples: Times New Roman, Georgia
  • Sans Serif fonts – Simple, clean, modern, engaging and shows a company is straightforward and honest.
    Examples: Arial, Century Gothic, Helvetica
  • Script fonts – Feminine and flowing and because they mimic handwriting, can seem more personal, convey emotion or a sense of history.
    Examples: Lucida script, Zapfino
  • Display and decorative fonts – Big, fun, bold and to be noticed; could be used in many types of logo to add personality.
    Examples: Jokerman, Gigi, Bombing
  • Modern fonts – Fashionable, futuristic and can convey intelligence, style and cutting edge.
    Examples: Politica, matchbook, klavika