When it comes to creating a brand identity for my clients, and in particular the logo for their business, there are two schools of thought.
The first believes wholeheartedly in the importance of a good logo and its ability to attract or drive away customers; the other believes it is simply an illustration that has no power over the business.
A company’s logo is the most vital part of its visual identity. In a nutshell, it should summarise the essence of the business. It is a combination of ideas, beliefs and emotions. The logo of the 2012 London Olympics, for example, cost US$625,000 to create. When Pepsi rebranded its logo in 2008 it set the company back $1 million. And BP’s rebranding exercise cost $211m.
Nevertheless, there are other successful brands out there spending comparatively little: Twitter’s logo cost the founder less than $15 to design, and Coca-Cola’s logo cost nothing as it was created by Frank M Robinson, the founder’s accountant and partner.
There are no rights and wrongs here. Some businesses can afford to spend on high-end consultants, while other start-ups do not have the cash flow to splurge. However, regardless of who you decide to work with, make sure they are professional at what they do. Here are some common branding mistakes to avoid:
Design for your client and not yourself
Even though the logo should reflect your ideology and your work, it should not only be appealing to you. At the end of the day, your customers are your target audience and your logo must work for them. Put aside your artistic preferences and focus on the client. Before you are tempted to use a particular font style that you love, ask yourself if it is appropriate for your business.
Avoid designs that are too complex
Keep the artwork minimal. Make sure your logo is recognisable whether it is on a letterhead or a billboard. Simplicity is key here. The best logos are very simple. Remember the more details the logo incorporates, the more information clients will have to process. Moreover, an uncomplicated logo is usually more memorable. Consider McDonald’s, Nike and Adidas – their branding is simple and easily identifiable.
Use the right font
There is little emphasis made on this point, but the font is key. Each font type has a personality and you want to make sure yours not only matches your logo, but also reflects the brand’s personality and essence. And don’t use too many font types in your logo. The rule of thumb is to avoid using more than two. Keeping it to a minimum also makes the brand more recognisable as well as easy on the eye.
Do not copy someone else’s idea
Unfortunately, some start-ups think that by mimicking another more established brand’s logo, some of that success will rub off on them. If your brand logo resembles that of another business, then you have failed. Your logo should be unique, original, and reflect your business and only your business.
Know the law when it comes to stock images
Many online companies sell stock images and will add a company’s name under an artwork, for instance. There is copyright law to consider here, and you and your business could end up in trouble. This option ensures that your business is not unique.
Investing in a good logo and, in turn, a solid brand identity is just as important as investing in your team, office space or equipment. In many cases, it could be the first encounter a customer has with your business. So make sure it is a positive encounter, one that will make them want to do business with you and stay loyal to your brand.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and entrepreneur based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @manar_alhinai