Among the first things an entrepreneur would do when he starts his business is to get a logo designed. A well-thought, well-designed logo can speak volumes of your logo design is really that important. Today I got a big surprise at Parkway Parade (this is a popular shopping mall located along the East Coast of Singapore).
I have not stepped into that mall for ages, and was duly impressed with the revamp. Parkway Parade certainly looked much younger and more hip. Then, I got into the lift. There was this large poster and I was casually browsing it when I saw their logo.
I felt that the logo design was completely incompatible with the appeal of the mall! I guess I was staring at it a tad too long because a pair of young brothers, around 6 – 8 years old, and their parents started to look at it too. Below is the brow-raising conversation that haunted me the rest of that afternoon:
Young Brother: P. P. What is P.P? Sound like going toilet to wee wee (giggle)
Older Brother: No, it means no pthui pthui (spitting).
You could dismiss that conversation as unintelligent babble of two young kids who could not know better. But you would not walk away from the adults’ remarks without learning one or two things about the importance of logo design.
Mum : Just 2 P only, so simple. Must be in-house job. Cheapskate. Wonder why they use green and blue? Made people think they copy Standard Chartered Bank.
Dad : Oh ya? The car park was in green and blue. I thought it was because of Stan Chart.
Mum : There is no Stan Chart here! Here only has HSBC la. <– “la” is a common Singaporean expression without which, there can be no intelligent conversation. Really.
This “silly” conversation only confirms one thing: Parkway Parade’s logo design is not ideal. A logo is a visual short cut to the corporate personality and character. If it fails to do that, then it might as well not be there.
I was also reminded of an article I read recently. It said corporate logos have lost their importance as people have absolutely no motivation whatsoever to feel or remember them. A simple name that is easy to recall should suffice. However, this family’s conversation just confirms that people still look at logos, and associate their perception, feeling, understanding, preference and judgment simply by looking at a logo’s design and colours. If a logo design is not important, this new school of thought has a lot to explain about the emotional and psychological connection one has with the famous golden arches of McDonalds, the half bitten fruit of Apple, curvy lettering of Coca-Cola or the swirled wing of Nike. How many can think of these awesome giants without recalling their widely recognizable, familiar and famous logo design?
Why is a logo design important? Without being over simplistic, a logo can
- Elicit immediate recognition (especially if the company has a common sort of name)
- Be a visual short-cut to convey the company’s personality, character or attitude
- Relate to your clients by conveying a feeling of familiarity and credibility
- Association with quality & satisfaction
Logo design is a complex job where you and your creative expert has to dig deep internally into corporate philosophy, mission, goals, persona, look into product features and benefits and understand employees’ mindset of the company. And externally, you would want to know what your target audience think of your product or your competitors’ product. Their perception is important because it is never easy to shift a mindset. Logo design is an important part of corporate branding. So be prepared to fork out a decent amount of time, money and resources to get a branding expert to help you develop your logo.
However, if you just want a nice-to-look-at logo with a small budget and not want to risk the designer to coming back with something that is totally different from your preferences, do some homework. You can run through this simple exercise:
Start thinking of your corporate (not personal) persona in terms of:
1. Adjectives (“macho”, “relaxing” or “fast as lighting” describe your corporation/product?)
2. Colour (Would that strong chilli red echo your masculine personality?)
3. Shapes (Do you see the corporate self being tall or cutesy-rolly-polly?)
4. Style (Are you a fashion go-getter or a forever green classic?)
Let’s say you are selling sportswear targeted at young guys who dig extreme sports, so, the exercise would be something like this:
1. Adjectives – macho, rugged, tough, dangerous, high risk, extreme fun
2. Colour – strong, bright, loud, shouts out for attention
3. Shapes – precise, strong angular shapes
4. Style – street fashion style, casual wear, everyday wear
How would your logo design look with the above? Already, you will have a fair idea of a “bad” logo and a “good” logo when you see one relative to your descriptors above.
Just as I have mentioned in my earlier blog Is Your Ad Agency Really So Lousy?, you got to do your bit by offering an effective agency brief. If you can’t, just try this little exercise. I know it helps because I have used it with many clients who claim they didn’t know what they want, what the logo should be like and yes, with a small budget. This exercise works. If you want to do up the full work, contact me.
Finally, do yourself a favour by hiring a branding expert or some real graphics talent. Even if you are artistically inclined and know how to use a drawing software, there are many more issues to consider. Things like matching CMYK with Pantone colours, applying the logo correctly on hotstamp, reverse and direct, etc; without these technical expertise, you might find yourself with a beautiful logo which cannot be reproduced!
If you need a logo and wonder how much you should pay for it, see my post on How Much To Pay for a Logo Design.
If you like to know the process in creating effective corporate logo, then you have to read The Power of Logo which examines how to plan, develop, evaluate, and implement a company logo system.
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