I’ve been in the game of brand design for more than a decade now and let me tell you, I still get asked why a brand logo is important. I’m not mad, believe me, as there’s a lot of misinformation out there about it (and a whole lot of bad DIY hack jobs, too).
The importance of logo in branding can’t be underestimated because it’s often the first thing people will see when they find you. So how can something so small say so much? Let’s explore the humble brand logo and how you can build one that won’t just set you apart from the competition, but will also be something you’re proud to own.
What is a brand?
It’s more than a cheeky buzzword and contains both tangible and intangible elements, like your brand identity (including your logo) and reputation. Finding a solid definition of ‘brand’ is difficult because it’s so complex, but essentially it’s any perception about your business by someone experiencing it, and the concept of ‘branding’ is any activity you do to try and influence the perception of your business in the world.
What is a logo?
A logo is the most recognisable part of your brand – it’s text and imagery that tells the word who you are and what you’re about. No pressure at all, right?! It’s a symbol that carries your vision and it’s a crucial part of your overall brand identity (all the visible elements of your brand, including colour and design, too). A good logo is memorable, attention-grabbing and can communicate a serious amount of information about your business in a few seconds.
How to build a brand logo
Before you go out and buy a subscription to Adobe, there are a few key steps you need to do to make sure the logo you end up with is right for your business.
Step 1: Understand why it’s crucial to have a good brand logo
A lot of business starts with a first impression and that’s where your logo comes in. I can’t overstate how important it is to have a distinct, relevant and memorable logo – it will be on everything to do with your business, so I recommend investing in getting it done professionally.
Step 2. Define your brand identity
Brands that have an impact have a strong brand identity. In order to design a logo that works, you’ll need to uncover the essence or core personality of your brand. It’s a whole lot easier to choose a colour palette when you know what makes your brand unique and why you started your business.
Step 3: Brainstorm and scope out your competition
Next, you’ll want to get inspiration for your logo, so whip out some markers and a giant roll of paper and start brainstorming. You can also look at what other businesses have and take note of what you like, what resonates and what stands out. You might like to make a mood board of colours, imagery and words that relate to your brand (it can help you visualise the kind of logo that would match).
Step 4: Pick your logo style
My specialist team of graphic designers and I have been designing logos for a while now (check out my favourites designs from 2015-2020) and choosing the right design style can make or break a brand. Is your brand vintage, modern or futuristic? Is it fun, handcrafted or minimalist? You can mix and match different design styles to suit your brand (but don’t go overboard otherwise you’ll end up with a Frankensteined logo!).
Step 5: Choose your logo type
A brand logo brings together different types of ‘marks’ to build a picture of your business. There are 7 main types of logos to explore and they are:
Pictorial marks – A recognisable icon or image to represent your brand.
Letterform – Using a few letters to represent your full brand name
Emblems – A common logotype consisting of a pictorial mark and word.
Wordmarks – A straightforward way of using your brand name as the logo
Abstract logo marks – Rather than an icon, this logotype uses geometric shapes to create something totally new for your logo.
Mascots – Often use a cartoon character or animal to represent your brand.
Combination marks – This is where a symbol and word are combined to make a logo.
Pick one and run with it, or you can combine the different styles together to create something more bespoke. There are reasons to use particular logo marks over others but it largely comes down to your business name and the kind of aesthetic you’re looking to achieve.
Invest in your branding, not just your logo
It’s never been easier to make your own logo, but remember: your logo doesn’t stand alone, it’s just one part of your overall brand. At Courtney Kim Studio, we offer a holistic brand design process that seamlessly tells your brand story across multiple touchpoints. Curious to learn how our branding consultants can breathe fresh new life into your business? Contact us to get the ball rolling.