If you’ll ask most marketing consultants, strategists or branding experts “What is the most important thing in my logo design?”, the main answer you’ll get will be “the logo should tell your brand’s story”.
Legend has it that the famous scientist Isaac Newton was sitting under an apple tree when an apple fell on his head. Following the incident, he developed the theory of gravity that we all know. That is the idea behind the “Apple” logo. The connection between the apple and the company was that the apple led to innovation, which is the core value of “Apple”. There is something almost romantic in these kinds of stories, and maybe that’s why answers like “the logo should tell the story of the brand” are so common.
However, despite Apple’s fine example, a logo’s role is not to tell stories. I would happily accept this assumption if it was applied to many other logos, or if it could be proven that a logo born from a good story is more successful. But do any of you know what is the story behind the “IKEA” brand logo? Or “Samsung”? Or “Coca-Cola? Presumably, the answer is no, and that of course did not prevent those brands from becoming super successful.
The role of a logo
For the sole purpose of writing the post, I created 9 different logos, all based on the same name and the same slogan. You will surely understand the choice of name and slogan I chose later in the post. These logos were created using only different fonts, basic shapes and different colors.
Feeling. Nothing else.
A logo must be as simple as possible. A logo consisting of a large number of different fonts/lines/shapes/colors simply misses the mark. The reason for this is that a logo that is too complex will force the viewer to delve into it longer to understand it. These days, your customers don’t have the time or desire to dig deeper to understand. They want the message to be delivered to them clearly and in the shortest possible time. It is precisely for this reason that long-established brands all over the world have been undergoing a “facelift” in recent years, with the main goal being to simplify and refine their messages.
Your logo should be original, memorable, aesthetic and in line with the spirit of the brand, but before anything else – your logo should convey a feeling. Have you ever wondered how you can always find an Asian restaurant from afar, just based on their sign? Or how there’s no way you’ll accidentally walk into a toy store thinking it’s a bank? The reason for this is that different designs create different sensations that convey different messages. It happens instinctively, without you even noticing it, just as a happy person does not need to tell you that he is happy. You just know it.
Feeling = Message
The design style of your logo will dictate the feeling it will convey, and hence, the message it will convey. The logo that appears above (with the white lettering on the black background) could never be relevant to an herbal shop, simply because there is no emotional connection between them. Just as the logo below would not be suitable for a theme park.
The way it feels
So how do you create a feeling? When I approach designing a new logo, the first thing that is important for me to understand is what words I’m going to work with. Whether it is a logo with an icon or a logotype consisting of only letters, I know one thing for sure – a name and a slogan will be in it. That means that letters will always be my base material. The shape of the letters, their thickness, their height, the spacing between them and their color are the factors that in most cases will dictate the general feeling of that logo.
If the client wants to convey seriousness and power I will probably use straighter and sometimes thicker lines and in many cases monochromatic colors. If the goal is to convey lightness and casualness – a thinner, more spacious font and subtler colors will be used. Of course, this is a generalization, but it’s usually true. You can’t look at a smiling person and mistake him for an angry one, just like you can’t feel relaxed and welcomed in front of a color combination of black and yellow. Even in design, formulas exist because they usually work.
If you keep scrolling down you can see some more examples of the logos I created for the post. Note that each of the logos was designed in a different style that conveys a different feeling. That’s the whole story. A good logo is one that conveys an accurate feeling about the brand it represents.
Why is this so important? So that you don’t get lost among the millions of brands that surround us every day – whether on the street or our screens. If I’ll see the sign of your store from a distance and it’ll give me the feeling of a clothing store (when in fact it is a pastry shop), you’ve just lost a customer. And I lost a cake. And I love cakes!