Business owners, as well as new design students, sometimes become confused by the terms ‘brand” and “logo.” This can lead to poor design decisions and poor usage of brand identity assets. This is not intended to be an exhaustive study into brand identity, nor should this replace your brand identity guidebook. Rather, it’s a short list of do’s and don’ts for marketers, advertisers, and designers.
A Logo is…
- A “signature” for the business. Use it the same way a person would use their own name in business communications.
- A visual identifier for the business. In order to communicate the brand quickly it needs to be simple and distinct.
- Only part of a business identity package that should include visual styles for all company communications. This includes headline and body type and color schemes.
- A reflection of the core values of the business. It should say what the business is about, visually.
- A reflection of the customer’s expectations. Think about the customers and choose a logo that they will be able to identify with.
- A small package, a handle so to speak, that suggests to the public what they can expect from the business.
- Visually engaging, inviting the public to look closer at the business’ offerings. It should be uncluttered and easily seen at small, as well as large sizes.
- Recognizable and memorable.
A Logo is Not…
- A headline to be emblazoned across the top of the page. Don’t let the logo overpower the message of the advertisement.
- An ornament to be used casually. This will dilute the impact of the logo, not reinforce it.
- A typeface to be used in other applications within the business. It should remain distinct to keep its visual impact. Type styles used elsewhere in business communications should complement, not compete with the logo.
- A miniature advertisement. Resist the temptation to put the product line into the logo unless the business sells only one product, or one icon can summarize the product line (i.e. a pet store with a dog or cat logo, not a logo containing every fish, mammal, and bird the store sells).
- A chance to show off computer software skills. No amount of bevels, drop shadows, or 3D effects will make a bad logo good.
- A piece of art that includes every visual idea found in other logos, or a mixture of disassociated design elements.