The logo is the first thing people see when they come across your brand. But why is it important, and how does it influence the success of your business?.
Logo design is just one element of your brand identity. Or is it? Actually, logo design is the foundation on which your brand is built.
So if you want to know how a logo design impacts your brand image, and why it is important for the success of your business, read on as we explain everything you need to know through real-life examples.
Brand identity vs brand image
Although the two terms are very similar, and often used interchangeably, there is a key difference between them. Both are necessary to create good branding.
Brand identity is how you want consumers to perceive your business. Brand image is how they actually perceive it. In an ideal scenario, these two are perfectly aligned, but when creating a logo, it’s important to remember to take into account what you want your brand messaging to be, and how your target audience might perceive it.
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A very basic example would be a white logo intended to represent purity or marriage, whereas in many Asian cultures it’s the color of mourning.
Logo elements and how to use them in building a brand image
Every logo consists of different design elements that will each give your overall brand image a different quality. Here are essential elements of a logo, and how they can shape your brand.
Choosing a color for your logo is one of the most difficult decisions that you’ll have to make. Every design decision you make about your logo will impact the rest of your visual identity since you should use these elements across all visual assets to enforce brand recognition.
However, color is arguably the thing that has the most striking visual impact. A study from the University of Loyola showed that color can improve brand recognition by up to 80%.
Choosing a color to fit your brand identity should be based on three things: color theory, color psychology and your brand’s mission, vision and values.
Color theory and psychology allow designers to choose colors based on their qualities (are they warm, contrasting, primary, etc.), and some generally established meaning behind them. However, these two should always be assessed according to what kind of image you want to achieve for your brand.
For example, although red is often associated with love and passion, it could seem a little too “traditional” for a modern app that completely changed the way people date. For that reason, Tinder’s logo combines traditional imagery for passion (flame), with modern color gradients that appeal to a younger audience.
Not all logos have letters in them, but there are plenty of iconic logos consisting of letters only (also known as logotypes).
Of course, the name of the brand and what it sounds like has an immense impact on the brand image. A name in a language that isn’t English might be difficult to pronounce for international audiences (there’s a funny line about Cartier in the movie Ocean’s 8), but it could also give your brand a sense of exclusivity and uniqueness.
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However, something that’s a little more universal, and therefore perhaps even more powerful in creating a brand image, is the way the brand name is written. It’s no coincidence that some of the biggest luxury brands have very similar logos. They had a shared target audience, and often similar, or shared values (exclusivity, luxury, stylishness, etc.)
New fonts are created almost every day, so finding one that will fit your brand won’t be too difficult. However, it makes a lot of sense to hire a designer to create a custom font for your logo. There are several reasons for this:
- It will make your brand more unique
- It can prevent copyright infringement (you can trademark the logo, but also the font)
- You can make several uses of it to create a consistent brand identity
If you need further proof, just consider the longest-running logotype in history: the Coca Cola logo which remained almost unchanged in over 100 years.
This great logotype works for 2 reasons: the company name itself sounds catchy (which was the logo creator Frank Robinson also thought), and the custom typography perfectly captures the fun and sweet nature of the brand and iconic drink.
A graphical element in a logo can be accompanied by a wordmark, or stand on its own. Think of brands like Apple or Twitter. Not only do their graphical logos (also called pictorial marks) match the company name, thus eliminating the need for words in the logo; they also represent the brand values in a unique and recognizable way.
In the case of Apple, it’s the biblical fruit with a bite taken from it, symbolizing the human thirst for knowledge (and the innovative company’s mission to quench it).
In the case of Twitter, the symbolism is tied to the company name—it’s a platform that allows all voices to be heard, in a delightful (or sometimes not so delightful) symphony of opinions, experiences and different discourses.
So, if you want to use a graphical element in your logo, make sure it’s more than just decorative. The image you settle on can make a strong visual impact and build a connection between you and potential clients.
Of course, make sure that it matches the style of your industry. In both of the aforementioned cases, the images were done in a minimalist, flat style which fits the trends of the tech industry. Compare it to another well-known pictorial mark, Airbnb’s Belo sign, which has a more human, hand-drawn quality.
Why do you need a good logo?
So now that it’s clear how a logo can impact your brand image, you might be wondering what’s the broader significance of a good logo design. Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons why that is.
It helps your brand get noticed
One of the principal purposes of a logo is to get noticed by potential customers. It is as simple as that. In a world where even small local businesses have to compete globally, bringing attention to what you have to offer becomes increasingly challenging.
An average person spends less than 3 seconds looking at a logo before deciding to check out some business. So having a logo that is visually interesting and distinguishable is a must.
It makes you stand out from the competition
A well-designed logo should help a person quickly identify what kind of business is behind it, yet making it different enough from its competitors. This might seem like an easy rule to follow until you think about the logos of most pharmacies, pizza places, or travel agencies you know.
Take a look at this collection of stock logos. All of them have very similar images and color schemes, making it impossible for potential customers to tell your pizzeria apart from the rest.
Compilation of stock logos
On the other hand, here are a few examples of custom logos. Even though some of the usual imagery is present in these ones as well (pizza slice and cutter), they also manage to incorporate the business name, and use a more unique brand color to create an image you’re bound to remember.
It creates an emotional connection and brand loyalty
We’ve already explained how a logo can help you create a particular brand identity, whether it’s through typography or graphics. But beyond that, a great and memorable logo and brand will eventually create brand bias, prompting loyal customers to stick with you no matter what.
Again, Apple is a great example to learn from. Apple users don’t just purchase Apple products because they like using them: they want other people to see them using Apple. Of course, many clothing brands sell their products thanks to famous fashion logos. People don’t just buy the product, they buy the brand.
It’s the foundation of your brand identity
We’ve already mentioned that you can’t start creating a brand identity without a logo. It would be more accurate to say, however, that one doesn’t exist without the other.
Your brand identity reflects everything your brand is: what you do, why you do it and for whom. Once you have that settled, you’ll need a logo to help you create a brand image, i.e. relay those messages to your customers.
Every time you give out a business card or post something on social media, you’re working towards building a recognizable brand. That’s why graphic design is so integral to the success of your business. A great logo provides a foundation for graphic designers to create the full scope of work you’ll need for your business.