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What makes a good logo?

What makes a good logo?

To understand the characteristics of a great logo, we must first consider what it’s for. A logo is basically a visual tool for mentally conditioning the business’ target audience. Businesses need a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors and do this through branding and unique stylisation of their packaging, stationery, advertisements and the key messages that they offer. A logo is a unique visual form that represents the ownership of a particular good or service and is most likely the first thing that customers encounter when dealing with a business.

There are 3 main types of logo design, first is a wordmark logo which is a distinct text-only and typographically treated name of a company, product, or institution. The second is a pictorial logo which is an icon or graphic-based logo such as a bird, shell, checkmark, etc. The third are abstract logo marks which is a specific type of pictorial logo. Instead of it being a recognisable image such as an apple or camera, it’s an abstract geometric form that represents a business. Choosing which type of logo for a business comes with a lot of factors that need to be considered such as the type of industry the business is in, its personality, the name, and what best suits the brand.

The characteristics of a good logo is that it is distinct, memorable, simple, versatile and appropriate. The concept or meaning is usually behind an effective logo, and it communicates the intended message of the business or service.

SIMPLE

Many of the most effective and iconic logos in history are very simple. From Apple’s iconic design to the golden arches of McDonald’s, simple logos are easy to remember and are recognisable. Simplicity is an important element for logo design because people only focus on a logo for a very short time and it should express the brand’s personality effectively. It is the first impression that people get when they encounter a brand and conditions them to think of the brand in thinking and buying situations.

MEMORABLE

Another key element of a good logo is that it is memorable, even from the first time you see it. One of the goals of a logo is creating a connection with the audience and generating engagement with your brand. When the audience can easily recall your logo and brand, they are more likely to connect with the company. Logos that are memorable and produce a good impact are valuable because they help the brand stick in consumers’ minds.

What makes a good logo?

DISTINCT

Recall all the unforgettable logos stored in your memory: McDonald’s, Apple, Twitter would be some of mine. We remember these kinds of logos because apart from seeing them non-stop, they’re distinct and unforgettable. Good logos stand out from the crowd by being unique, original and memorable. Your logo must attract people at first glance while expressing trust and reliability upon numerous interactions. A distinct logo design calls for a unique concept. Logo design is the combines graphics and great ideas to achieve the best representation of the brand and keep that representation in the target audience’s mind.

VERSATILE

A good functional logo should be able to work across a variety of mediums and applications such as print or digital formats. A logo should be identifiable in any scalable size and work in both horizontal and vertical formats. It needs to be flexible in terms of colour, so that the integrity of the logo is not compromised when converted to either black and white. This versatility in logo design is important because as businesses evolve both in terms of marketing strategy and technology, a good versatile logo will still hold relevant and age gracefully along with the business.

APPROPRIATE


How a logo is positioned should be appropriate depending on the nature of the business. An example would be designing a logo for a child’s daycare. It would be appropriate to have fun, childlike and colourful elements but would not be appropriate for a business such as a car dealer. The logo doesn’t need to show what a business sells or the service it offers. ie. Car brands don’t need to show cars, computer logos don’t need to show computers. The Airbnb logo isn’t a house and Samsung’s logo isn’t a mobile phone or technology. A logo is used basically for identification.

All these characteristics are a framework into what makes a good and successful logo. It is up to both the client and designer to collaborate into developing and designing a logo that combines both functionality and design aesthetic, and best represents the business to help consumers remember and identify it.

Why is Branding Important?

Why is Branding Important?
Coca-Cola Tagline

Branding, is a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, logo or symbol that is easily identifiable as belonging to a company. This helps identify a product and distinguish it from its competitors. Branding is essential because it’s not only just creating a memorable impression on the audience, but allows your customers and clients to know what to expect from your company. It is a way to distinguish your company from many others and convince your customers that the products or services you offer are the better choice. Your brand is built to be a representation of who you are as a business, and how you want to be perceived by your target audience.

The most important reason branding is important for a business is because it is how it gets recognised and known to the target audience. The logo or symbol is one of the most ‘in front’ elements of branding and is essentially the mark or face of the company. But at the same time, the logo is not the only the defining element of an effective brand.

One of the key shifts in recent brand identity conceptualisation has been the realisation that as brands become more complex and multi-faceted, all of the characteristics of a brand’s purpose, positioning, messaging and activity cannot be defined to just a logo or symbol alone. As branding’s repeal has expanded away from ‘just’ logos and symbols to one that occupies a key visual and verbal role at the centre of a brand, the spokes that drive off the core are numerous and varied.

This creates a paradox: branding is increasingly important, increasingly central and no longer just ‘painted on’ by the marketing department, and yet how do we infuse all of these things into a core brand identity?

The truth is that it is hard to do so. All the logos and symbols can do is supply something to put a flag on top of a building, or a ‘mark’ on an email or website. It’s the responsibility of the rest of the brand identity scheme to deliver on all of the aspects of the brand. This is where the ‘guidelines’ are important, allowing a brand to be recognised as much for its personality to imagery, choice of photography, tone of voice, approach and writing style as for its logo. The best branding ideas have a clear approach to their entire communication, not just the logo that goes in the corner of a website.

Why is Branding Important?
McDonald’s Brand Identity

So what are the elements of a brand identity scheme or guideline? It varies from company to company but identifying key applications (such as, web page, packaging, signage and so on) early in the process will make everyone involved see that the extent of an idea is just as significant as the button at the top of the website. Multiple applications help client teams ‘see’ how ideas that might be obvious just to designers extend out and develop over multiple and varying channels. Common guideline elements once the key applications are identified would include internal elements such as brand values, tone of voice, personality, strategy and narrative. While physical elements would include things (but not limited to) photography style, typography, logo design, stationery and business cards.

In today’s time, the power of branding is now so great that decisions on its definition have moved ‘up’ from the mere marketing department level into the boardroom. Once, in the days of ‘corporate identity’, logos were designed to last for decades – merely there as visual identifiers, not the tips of huge branding icebergs that they have now become. But by looking at the whole ‘iceberg’, branding has become one of the most powerful strategic, competitive and tactical tools that a company can draw on.

Understanding your branding is so important when running a business. It’s important to not only have a strong brand that represents you, but also that you are saying what you think you are saying. It’s sometimes difficult to step back and try to observe your brand objectively. You could think that you are communicating strength and trust that draws customers in, when really you are conveying that you are elite and expensive and pushing them away.

Wherever your branding is at, it’s important to consult with branding specialists at every step of the way to ensure your company is always putting its best foot forward.

Why is Branding Important?
Red Cross Brand Identity

How to attract new customers with the design of your website

In recent studies conducted by Microsoft, humans today have an attention span of only 8 seconds. This means the opportunity to gain interest and engagement with your audience will be over before you can get them to read the whole web page. Effective website design is critical to show prospective customers the value of your company as soon as they enter the site.

Another study conducted also found that half of consumers list a website’s design as their top criteria when deciding if they think a company is credible. Not only must your website engage with its readers, but will also have an impact on your company’s overall brand reputation.

The company’s homepage is one of the most important pages of a website. It is not necessarily the first page an audience member lands on when they are being directed to that site but your home page is usually what is judged by the audience. If the UX (User Experience) of the company’s site is cluttered and unprofessional, visitors will think the same of the business. It’s important to make sure your customer’s first impression of your website is excellent – you only have a few seconds to prevent that mouse from clicking the back button. So how do you design a website that attracts customers?

How to attract new customers with the design of your website

SIMPLICITY

Only having a few seconds to make an impression on website visitors means simplifying the user experience. This means not wasting precious time waiting for impressive images, sliders, pop-ups, and banners to load. A homepage that is overcrowded with different types of content, image galleries and striking colours may confuse visitors and deter them from going further into the website.

  • Making sure to utilise only essential design elements without irrelevant widgets, banners and other types of distractions.
  • Creating a structure for the website that is easy to navigate.
  • Keeping the uniformity of the design all throughout the website by keeping a visual connection between different types of website elements.
  • Making the website responsive and mobile friendly.

CONTENT

An important aspect of good website design is creating compelling and engaging content. Speak directly to your target audience and make the content easy for your customers to understand your company – who you are, what services you offer, and what they can get from your website. The branding of your content will affect your businesses success so choosing your company logo, brand personality and tone of voice is vitally important.
Another aspect to pay attention to, is less is more in terms of text in a website. The goal is to create engaging content that hooks the customer within a few seconds – otherwise it can dampen your conversion rate. Engage first and educate later.

How to attract new customers with the design of your website

USE EFFECTIVE CALL-TO-ACTION BUTTONS

Position call-to-action buttons placed in strategic places to boost click-through rates and increase conversion. When these buttons are placed on the businesses home page, they assist in site navigation and user journey. Whether they link to other information, contact forms, or a product purchase, call-to-action buttons must be distinct and easily accessible in order to entice user interaction.

How to attract new customers with the design of your website

TESTIMONIALS

One of the most effective components of a company’s offering is reviews – or even better – testimonials. Including testimonials on a website can generate more engagement and conversion. However, to create attractive and reputable testimonials there are a few things to consider such as: avoid anonymous publishing of testimonials, adding photos of happy customers, and publishing testimonials that reveal specific values of your service/products.

All the tips listed above will help you incorporate different techniques and design elements that elevate the look of your website and attract new customers. An effective web design should not only be aesthetically pleasing, but easy to use, functional and have a fast load time. Developing a website requires a lot of effort, investment and user testing which in the end can find your business attracting more customers and making it flourish.

How often should I update my branding

Rebranding is a normal part of a company’s evolution throughout the years. Just as it is natural for people to change their look, their ideas, and goals in life as they grow older. At its core, a business may still be the same one as it was 5 years ago, but 5 years on – the business may find itself in a new environment, talking with very different people, and customers who matured right along with them.

There is no standard rule of thumb on how often a company should rebrand itself. There are a variety of factors such as how quickly your industry has changed, what kind of competition you have, how established your brand is with your customers, and how your company has evolved over the years. Every company should remain open to evaluate their brand frequently in order to make sure that their image and their key values continue to accurately reflect who they are as a business, their service, and who they serve.

How often should I update my branding

Mastercard logo update (2019)

Every business evolves and they evolve in a variety of ways. Maybe the company has expanded, adding new markets, and your brand needs to reflect this change. Maybe the business has first started out in a very general industry and it has now changed into becoming a niche industry. Or, perhaps you want to tap into another market – in this case a rebrand or development of a sub-brand in relation with the main brand could be in order. All these circumstances need to be recognised and evaluated in order to better represent your key messaging that matches with your product or service offerings.

How often should I update my branding

Pizza Hut logo update (2014)

Almost every industry and market is shifting gradually. Perhaps your company hasn’t evolved, but it needs to in order to keep up with competition. These constant market shifts and the rate at which people are receiving communication from the brands that they subscribe is increasing rapidly. Consumer behaviour is always changing and companies that don’t adjust can trail behind its competitors and find it difficult to catch up. Examples of companies that ignored this change and suffered the consequences include Blockbuster, Kodak, and MySpace to name a few. A well-thought of rebrand can not only change how your customers see you, but also how you see yourself and what to do. Companies that are able to see this consumer shift in their industry can adjust their brand proactively are the ones that prosper the most.

Being in touch with your brand, your customers, and your industry is advantageous when considering a rebrand. If after conducting an assessment of your company, you think your brand no longer matches your company, the next step would be to determine what aspects of your brand needs to be updated. You may need to evaluate the following:

  • Maybe your messaging is effective but your look is outdated or unpolished. A facelift such as a stronger logo, change of colours, new typographic treatment, etc.
  • You may find that your brand identity is working for your brand, but your messaging isn’t targeting or resonating with your customers. In these types of situations, its a good investment in repositioning your brand in order to better reach your customers.
  • Sometimes you find that both your brand positioning and brand identity don’t cohesively mesh that it doesn’t help grow your business. You might need to consider doing a complete overhaul of your company such as its name, messaging, image, etc. in order to stay relevant in the market.

An effective brand in its respective market is a firmly placed stake in the ground. When you update the brand identity, feel and messaging of your brand, you are signalling to your customers what they can expect from your company going forward. So you have to be sure that what you are presenting to your customers accurately depicts who you are and where your company is going.

Design Trends of 2021

2020 was a strange and anxiety-inducing year for everyone. And because of lockdown, forced closure of businesses, schools, and so on have had a detrimental impact. Most of our livelihood has shifted online from education, shopping, entertainment and working from home has seen a lot of online and communication platforms grow rapidly. People and businesses have had to adapt quicker than ever before in this current climate and design trends reflect these times to represent the current consumer needs and attractions.

GEOMETRIC SHAPES

2021 will be the peak for this design trend. The idea of utilising individual shapes to create larger, more complex and unique ones accompanied by strong colours and outlines produces aesthetically striking and creative mixes.

NATURE-INSPIRED DESIGN

Natural and soft design trends have been creeping up slowly for the past couple of years or so. The idea of mimicking nature, earthy colour palettes, natural gradients and patterns are coming back into fashion. This is probably due to the present pandemic and people’s longing for the outdoors. People are being denied the chance of going outside for long periods of time and suddenly having the urge to to find a way to escape. Nature-inspired design helps create a calm feeling for people stuck in these situations, thus why its an upcoming design trend.

MUTED COLOUR PALETTES

Muted colours are subtle colours, that are not bright or have been subdued, dulled or grayed – as opposed to vibrant and flashy colour palette trends in the last few years. The colours feel natural and organic while evoking a sense of nostalgia and security.

MONOCHROME & DUOTONE DESIGN

The concept of a monochrome or a duotone palette has been around for quite sometime in graphic design. This design trend compensates the increase of illustrations and other complicated graphics. This stylised approach helps simplify the design so the audience isn’t bombarded with complicated mixtures of design features playing off against each other. This simplified and relaxed utilisation of colour holds a website or graphic together as a unified whole and emphasises the emotive effect of colour.

FLAT ICONS AND ILLUSTRATIONS

Many companies are using flat icons and illustrations in their website and graphic design while evoking a sense of friendliness. Simple icons can communicate meaning in less space than words and provide a visual aid to worded content.

Left: Malmö Sans by Martin Lexelius
Right: Sans Serif No.5 60 96

SERIF FONTS

Classical serif fonts, one of the oldest style of typefaces, are still in fashion. Serif fonts are usually seen as traditional, elegant and trustworthy. Serif fonts carry feelings of trust and respectability, making them perfect for brand identities that circle around establishment and grandeur. They are perfect for companies who want to build brand awareness, while displaying their trustworthy nature.

Graphic design is experiencing rapid growth and is ever-evolving. Tastes develop and change, innovation and technology move forward, and it is up to designers to adapt with an always shifting environment. These design trends of 2021 are here for you to be informed, inspired, and guide the trajectory of your company.

How do I get more leads?

Many business owners are constantly looking to expand their customer base and grow their businesses. This growth can be a long and difficult process and one of the key elements of growing a business is having a stream of sales leads. A lead is basically a person or business that has the potential to purchase your products or services. Here are some tips for creating a system that will help your business get more leads.

Identify your Target Audience

The first step in generating leads is identifying your target audience. Focusing your marketing plan on your target audience will help aid in successfully reaching and selling to your ideal customer. So it is important to research who your audience is, who they are, where they live, what they do, their lifestyle, etc. will help you develop a more focused plan on how to engage with them.

Promotion

In order to generate more leads for your business, you need to develop a marketing plan that will get your products or services in front of your target audience. There are numerous ways of promoting your business and you will want to create a marketing plan that is most effective for your business. Marketing ideas such as making a blog, social media, per per click (PPC) advertising, electronic direct mail (eDMs), and video are some types of marketing promotions that you can use to get more leads.

Creating a Sales Funnel

Once you’ve identified your target audience and determined the best marketing channels to reach them, you need to have a plan of collecting and collating the contact information of potential clients. The process involves funnelling all prospective clients through a standard contact form or landing page that convinces them to share their information. Having some kind of customer management database will help you keep track of these leads through this process.

Email Newsletters

Now that you have some information on who your customers are, cultivating these relationships is important to convert leads to potential sales. One of the most convenient ways is having consistent communication with your leads through an email newsletter. This helps promote your business and refreshes your customers brand awareness of your business. 

Using Social Media

Social media provides one less barrier when communicating with your customers. This is an opportunity to have conversations with prospective customers and generate new leads. Creating a Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter profile and LinkedIn page are ways to attract and easily engage with your audience. Social Media is also a way to converse with them on what the customers want and need, and how you can possibly improve as a business overall. The more positive their experience a customer has with your business over time, the more likely you are to convert them to a potential sale and hopefully – a repeat buyer.

Generating leads is a long, difficult, and continuous process but if you have an efficient system in place to generate and convert these leads, then it will increase your opportunities for your business to grow.

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