A lot of times people ask, simply “How do you design a business logo?”, or “How a ‘good’ business logo is made?”. I guess, a lot of times these are startup entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs who are already estabilished their business, and they start to get a glimpse into branding and brand design, trying to figure out how these things could improve their businesses, and in the end, increase their income.
Of course, as a brand / logo designer, f.e. when they ask this on sites like Quora, I could give them a kind of simple answer.
Still, when I try to answer them, I usually find myself writing long answers, or not answering at all. Changing my mind while typing.
Situation is, there is no such thing as a “good logo”, in itself.
You can show me a perfectly designed graphic that fits every criteria for a good logo, still, I would be making a huge professional mistake by telling you it is good or not. You simply can not rate a logo, without knowing more about the business and it’s goals.
Good branding, and a good logo is a form of communication. It, even, does not stops there, because it is a goal-oriented communication: we want to sell more.
Long-term vs. Short-term Marketing Plan
In order to achieve this, the logo needs to be looked at as a high-functioning part of a bigger plan, which you can call long-term marketing plan. To make it easier for you to understand what I mean by a long-term marketing plan, I give you examples.
For big fast-food chains like McDonald’s, what is the long-term marketing plan? In my view, it is to grab the attention of a wide range of customers in age, with more focus on the youth, and families. Therefore, it uses vivid colors, an overall “fun” atmosphere. To go into McDonald’s, it is almost like stepping into some kind of dreamland.
I think it is not an overestimation to say that McDonald’s is not selling you food, it is selling you an overall experience. When you step into ther restaurants, you feel like stepping into their world.
This, overall branding and design of them, gives a long-term, never-ending process of reaching this goal over, and over again.
What do I mean by short-term marketing plan?
A new animated movie comes out, and the restaurant creates a few weeks / months plan, to market a new burger, teamed up with animated figures from the actual movie. This marketing, in design, of course, will use the original brand elements, style, fonts and overall design style, but it is focused on that, relatively short period of time.
Logo and brand design are the parts of the long-term plan, and of course, it fundamentally effects the marketing design for short-term plans.
A logo’s goals
Looking good and making an impression is an important, yet only one goal of a good logo. Your logo does not only have to look good, but it, for example, has to look good TO YOUR target audience. If you have a fast-food restaurant, I would not be using black colors all over the place, because to me, black implies seriousness (I’m NOT saying it can not be done, I’m talking about my opinion). I’d rather use more light, vivid, fun colors, to give a light, easy-going impression for people who walk by.
The fonts I use in design, also has a huge effect on overall impression. Again, I don’t say certain fonts, just like certain colors can not achieve a certain effect, but it needs to be used in a conscious way, because it does effect everything. For example, you simply won’t use a font like on the image below for a mortgage of lending company branding.
Is Pacifico a bad font? Hell no. I personally love it. But it is fun, easy-going, happy. As a logo designer, is it my primary goal to create a “fun” impression for your clients at a mortgage company or bank? No, my primary goal would be to more send the message of seriousness, reliability, professionalism.
I would rather use fonts like this:
This one, also looks cool, but it also looks more corporate, professional and serious. I would also not make a mistake with League Gothic:
Different style, still, easy to sell as serious and professional.
(To be continued)