Your logo most certainly isn’t your brand, but it can surely make or break it. A logo is the visual embodiment of everything that your brand stands for. The values and culture of your brand, as well as the attitudes, beliefs, and ideas that your brand advocates are all incorporated in and visually represented by your logo.
The FedEx logo, for example, brilliantly signifies and summarizes all the most important features of this courier delivery service – its speed and accuracy, symbolized by a hidden arrow carved out of the negative space between the letters E and X.
There are numerous other logo designs that perfectly illustrate the link between the intangible concept of brand identity and a more concrete concept of logo design, the synergy of which creates an almost palpable display of a company’s values and message.
What is brand identity?
There’s no straightforward answer to this question. Brand identity is a sum of all visual and abstract elements that influence how your target audience will perceive your brand, and it’s how you want your brand to be seen.
Brand identity is conveyed by means of your logo, colors, the message you communicate to your audience, or the tone you use. All these details affect the way your audience feels about your brand, its relevance, quality, or trustworthiness, and all of them operate on a subconscious level.
It’s your brand identity that helps you stand out among the competition, be recognizable, and memorable. No doubt that logo design plays an important part in establishing and maintaining a strong and successful brand identity.
How to build a strong brand identity
When you see the Golden Arches, you instantly know what company they stand for. The same goes for the iconic Swoosh or an apple with a bite taken out of it. You don’t have to see the names McDonald’s, Nike, or Apple, respectively, in order to recognize the companies these logos represent.
That’s the power of a strong, well-developed brand identity. Simplicity is what characterizes all these super successful logos, but the stories behind them are extremely profound and clever. Did you know that the Apple logo actually honors the father of the modern computer, Alan Turing? Tormented by the fact that his life’s work was unrecognized by the authorities, and persecuted for his sexual orientation, the inventor of the Enigma cipher machine took a bite out of an apple he had previously laced with cyanide and ended his life.
There are other famous brand logos with hidden meanings that took the design and symbolism to a whole new level. Clearly, the process of building such a memorable and recognizable brand identity is complex, and it consists of several steps that help you get to the essence of your brand.
Research. This is the first and most demanding step as it takes a lot of time, energy, and skill to get to the bottom of things and create a brand persona. Roll up your sleeves and identify your audience, competitors, and assess the current state of your brand. Only with detailed information will you be able to build a relatable, engaging brand identity and outdo your competition.
Visual ideation. After you’ve collected all the necessary data, and outlined your brand’s values, goals, and personality, it’s time to find a way to communicate all these ideas visually and convey a range of emotions that you want to be associated with your brand. Creatively speaking, this is one of the most challenging parts of the whole process because it’s where you take hard data and transform it into abstract, visual concepts that can tell a story about your brand without using words.
Realization. This is the phase in which you come up with your logo, decide on the color palette, typography, imagery, and other graphic elements, as well as the kind of wording, tone, and attitude you will use when interacting with your audience.
The brand style guide. Once your brand identity has been designed, you need to take all measures of precaution to use it appropriately. The brand style book helps you maintain consistency and coherence, essential for maintaining a strong brand identity and staying true to it.
When it comes to measuring the success of the brand, according to a study from OnBrand Magazine, these are the metrics and KPIs used to determine if your brand is on a good path.
The secrets behind great logo design
As you can see, there’s a lot of work behind that seemingly simple symbol, as it has to speak volumes about your brand in order to establish a strong relationship with your customers. There are several other things that you have to take into consideration when coming up with your logo design. First of all, an effective logo is simple, clean and devoid of any clutter. Too many details will make it look confusing, and they will be definitely lost on your audience.
Remember that negative space is a positive thing, so make a good use of it. Your brand will, hopefully, last for a long time, and your logo design has to be timeless so that you don’t have to change it every couple of years. Instead of insisting on the latest trends that are bound to become outdated pretty soon, opt for contemporary design. For example, the Coca-Cola’s logo is almost identical to the one the company used back in 1886, and it’s characterized by the Spencerian script typeface that underwent only some minor facelifts over the years.
Versatility is another crucial element, as your logo will be used on a wide variety of promotional items, commercials, and ads, and it has to look good and recognizable in any of these contexts. A logo that can be put both on a pen and on a billboard and maintain its integrity, purpose, and recognizability is a successful one.
Your brand identity can’t function without stunning logo design and vice versa, so make sure to have them synced and aligned with each other.
About the Author: Emma Miller is a digital marketer from Sydney. Works as a blogger, Senior Editor for Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends.