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Literal Mistake in Logo Design

A well-designed logo captures what makes you different from other businesses in your industry.
Logos have been used since ancient times to help people identify or label something graphically. In the digital age, logos have become much more than just an identifier on a product; they’re now seen as an extension of the brand itself. As such, there’s been an increased emphasis on creating unique identities for businesses through visually distinctive designs. 
 
Many business owners fulfill this obvious requirement with a single logo/mark and a few brand colors. This bare-bones mentality leads to so many missed opportunities. It also leads to frustration when hiring a designer. 
 
Clients who are relying on a single graphic to represent the brand are unhappy with anything that isn’t everything. They end up with literal logos packed with language and symbolism. Their resulting designs are confusing, ineffective, and — cringe-y. 
 
Yikes. So how can you avoid making a confusing first impression?

A logo is the main visual representation of a business.

The purpose of a logo is to represent the business in an easy-to-remember way. A logo is one of the most important elements of a brand’s identity. It’s the primary visual representation that people associate with your business and should be created with careful consideration. Logos are equally used on print and digital — websites, social media profiles, business cards, email signatures, letterheads — among other things.

You shouldn't use the same logo for 20 years. It's time for an update if...

  • your logo looks dated,
  • the logo isn’t being used consistently across all channels and media,
  • the logo is too complicated to easily identify at small sizes or on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter,
  • the logo doesn’t work well on your website
  • doesn’t adapt to the rigorous size changes in responsive designs,
  • your logo was created before you developed a brand strategy,
  • no longer aligns with the strategy you established
A well-designed logo shows potential customers what makes you different from other businesses in your industry when they first see it—and hopefully encourages them to consider doing business with you instead of someone else!
However, it need not be a literal representation of the company or product. For example, if you needed a logo for a luxury spa that offers massages and facials, a literal logo design would be an image of someone receiving those services. But it won’t capture what makes that spa stand out and differentiates it from other spas.

A Brand Strategy is the key to a unique visual identity.

A good logo is a crucial piece of a brand identity, but it ought to be one piece in a visual system. There should be many logo variations, alternate logos, brand patterns, a robust color palette, a working typography set,  So, how do you design an effective visual identity? The answer lies in your Brand Strategy.
 
A Brand Strategy is a comprehensive plan for a business. It takes into account the industry, competition, target audience, value proposition, a set values and mission, pricing strategy, and more to craft a unique vision and direction for a business. 
 
For example, knowing the target audience is a crucial part of the branding process. It helps a business to craft an image that will appeal to the people they want to attract. Does your brand belong with a younger crowd or older? Is it edgy or traditional? How does it translate into a visual scheme — with color, fonts, illustrations and style?
 
You’ll need to consider the industry the brand falls into. While it’s key to distinguish your brand visually from any competitors, there are limits on how different. For example, if you’re selling health products then using bright, saturated colors may send the wrong visual message. We typically associate them with food such as candy or soda pop. Would it be confusing to visually represent medication as a fun snack? I could argue for either direction, depending on the market and the product. These are the judgements to be made while creating a visual identity. It’s also possible to confirm the best direction via testing.

An outstanding visual identity doesn’t stop at just a logo.

Don’t think that having a logo design means your brand identity is complete. Instead, focus on working with your designer to create a visual “ecosystem” that’s rooted in deeper meaning. Allowing yourself to plan out a full, robust brand identity is exciting and opens up possibilities.

Here’s a list of what can be included in a visual identity:

  • primary logo
  • secondary logo(s)
  • custom icons
  • photography style or filters
  • typography (think font selection)
  • packaging
  • color palette
  • illustrations
  • social media templates
  • stationery
 
This is not a complete list — every brand has different needs and requirements. Referring to a brand strategy will help determine what is going to be most effective for its audience and industry.

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