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We often hear “a logo is not a brand.” And as a result, we sometimes lower our expectations of what power it can have, or simply deemphasize why should we care about it so much.
Today, logo design is either part of a strategic branding repositioning effort, or on the contrary, something purchased at a logo bank and commoditized to be sold at a very low price. In the past, only a few exceptional designers were hired by brands and leaders to design a visionary logo for the company.
As branders and designers, we immerse ourselves with the many components of branding a new company or rebranding one that is well-known on a global scale, and we tend to refer to the logo as just another item on our checklist. In reality, the logo usually ends up being “the elephant in the room.”
From the CEO to the employees and from the customers to the designers and broader creative communities, everyone has an opinion-or should we say, feelings, about the logo’s presence.
As much as we believe that logo is not the brand itself, this asset holds a certain power over many audiences. As the brand identifier, the logo has the potential to reflect the brand’s strategy, attitude and style, and shape the way customers connect to the brand for many years to come.
For customers, the logo can build and strengthen an attachment to the brand. For the company and its employees it can bring a sense of pride and identity. If a logo is not taken seriously or is not well-designed, people notice.
Sometimes, when it comes to evaluating a logo, one has to think, “Would I put this on a cap and wear it?” That’s how comfortable and confident you have to be with your logo. Take Nike, for example. The Nike swoosh is a simple logo that holds value in that it represents Nike’s brand spirit-and customers want to buy, wear, and celebrate that spirit. The swoosh itself has become timeless, and that’s the power of a strong logo. It’s true that it takes a brand many years of marketing to build equity into one symbol. Nevertheless, when one is well-designed, beautiful, minimal, and cool enough to wear, it can give customers a sense of belonging and pride and drive business growth for the company.
Today, so many brands go through identity changes and reconsider their logos (which may no longer be relevant or “modern” enough). However, the decision-makers are often focused on just what’s happening today, fear the reaction that a change may bring, or they simply get lost in the process of rebranding. This prevents many companies from making the logo leap.
Brands need to think about building equity in their logos for the future. For any big company evolving is difficult; stepping away from the security of old habits and the safety of familiarities can be uncomfortable.
However, the logo should reflect where the brand is going tomorrow-not where it stands today. In order to create something that will honor a company’s legacy while signaling the brand’s future, a thought-out, strategic and well-designed logo leap may be worth it.