You now know just how important a good visual design is to human communications. And one of the most important use of a good visual design, is in designing a corporate logo that sticks to your audience’s memory. But before we proceed with the good stuff, here’s the standard disclaimer first :-
All the corporate logos and corporate names mentioned below belong to their respective owners. We feature them here only as illustrations. We have no affiliation with any of them, nor do we represent any of them in anyway.
Let’s Take A Look At Some Successful Logos
In the early days, just about any logo will be successful. All you need to do is to remain in business long enough, and people will eventually recognise your logo. You don’t even need to be successful financially. All you need to do is to persevere, and weather the storm. When you’re in business long enough, people will know just which logo represents your business identity.
The reason for that is pretty simple – there just aren’t many competitors around, competing for attention with you. And because of that, your audience won’t potentially get blinded with an ocean full of logos at every street corner. Yes, those were simple days, and the consumers have simple needs.
Pears® Soap – The Oldest Brand In The World
No, we don’t mean that Pears® is the oldest product in the world. And no, it’s also not the oldest commercial product in the world either. However, it takes the cake as the oldest registered brand in the world. That’s right, it was the first ever product to ever have its brand protected by law. You can read all about it here.
That’s right, the “logo” is nothing more than just it’s name printed in ITC Century Std Book. Well, maybe you can also include the oval that surrounds the brand name itself as a visual interest too. But aside from that, there’s really nothing “visual” about it.
Visual “Words” As Logos
While the FedEx® logo is basically just text set in different colours, there are some visual elements within it. The most obvious is the now-famous “arrow”, printed in reverse, between the letters “E” and “x”
Is it successful?… Yes, indeed it is. Few people today who see the logo can’t relate to the famous courier company. But looking at it purely as a visual representative to the company, is the logo unique?… Nnnnnot exactly!… At the end of the day, it’s just word play. The only thing that’s purely visual about it is the recognisable corporate contrasting colours. That, and maybe the “hidden” arrow, which would be fun to see toddlers point it out every time they see a FedEx® delivery truck drive past.
In the early days, with very few competitors, you can literary get away with designing a logo around mere words. But in today’s world, where are hundreds and thousands of competitors, all competing for the attention of the same pool of audience, it’s getting pretty tough to get past that already.
A Logo Composed Of Purely Visual Elements
So what’s the most effective way to communicate your message to your audience? Well, first of all, we’ll have to strip away all language based words. After all, it’s only useful if your audience speak the same language as you. Next is to strip away anything that resembles alphabets or characters, or anything that is remotely “intelligent”.
Remember this image from the previous article?… You will want to bypass your audience’s high-level, complex language processing area of the brain, and go straight to the low-level, ancient, primal processing area. This is something that all modern human beings (and perhaps some animals like primates and canines too?) will understand. Everybody understands what your brand identity and qualities are. It doesn’t matter what their primary language is, or even what cultural norms they’re raised in.
A good example for a logo that’s purely visual, is this very famous pop-culture status symbol :-
NIKE® today is one of the most recognisable brands around. It’s easily ranked within the Top-20 most valuable brands in the world. And the wonderful thing is that there is no need to translate the brand from across the whole world. From the people who speak in languages based on the Roman alphabets to Kanji based logographic characters, people simply just recognise it.
The power of a purely visual logo literary stretches across the civilised world.
Changes Of Word Based Logos To Purely Visual Logos
While corporate logos evolve with time, it’s pretty common to see many word-based logos evolve into something that is purely visual. Let’s take a look at a typical example, a very popular beverage brand :-
As of 2008, Pepsi™’s logo consist of just the corporate colours in a modified “ball” that’s consistent with the earlier visual theme, and the name completely removed from the logo itself. The brand has achieved so much fame, that its audience don’t need to see the brand name explicitly spelt out to recognise the visual logo as Pepsi™.
Tips When Designing A Corporate Logo
After seeing the examples above, and taking into consideration the world today that’s full of exciting and colourful logos, you’d realise that logo design has indeed come a long way. It’s now a pretty daunting task to develop a brand new logo completely from scratch, and still expect it to stand out from the rest of the noise in the background. However, there are some tips which you can take into consideration when designing a new logo.
Let’s study the creation of Solarex Imaging’s logo. We shall go through the logical reasonings behind the decisions made :-
(1) Pick Something That Has Emotional Attachment To Your Business
Solarex Imaging’s business first started with photography. In the world of photography, nothing is more important that light. And the sun is the one and only natural light source that we know of. Image creation cannot happen without the presence of sunlight, hence the selection of the sun as an emotional projection of the business activities.
Of course, being a relatively young company, the visual logo alone may not be able to cut it. Hence the name “Solarex” is written across the logo of the sun. The font chosen is Lassigue D’Mato, a stylish, freehand, brush stroke. This represents the boundless creativity and artistic energy that represents how Solarex Imaging goes against the accepted norm of the business world. Hence, the widely used Times Roman of the publication world isn’t chosen.
Tip – Choose simple geometric shapes that is easy for your audience to sketch freehand. A logo that’s too complex may deter people from sketching it, hence limiting the spread through secondary audience.
(2) Choosing Colours For The Logo
Choosing of colours is one of the most important task when designing a logo. Different colours represent different qualities. Whether you want a calming blue, fiery red, refreshing green, vibrant yellow, it all really depends on what your corporate culture is, and what it stands for.
As for the example above, Solarex Imaging’s image is all about being bold and forward thinking, hence aligning with red and yellow. But instead of using them as individual solid colours, we went with a gradient between the two, hence creating a “third” colour, orange. It is this colour that is the dominant colour, hence chosen as the corporate colour.
Tip – Choose a maximum of two main colours (excluding background colour). Too many colours will send mixed messages to your audience. And these colours should contrast or compliment each other, making it harmonious when used together.
(3) Extension Of The Logo (Corporate Colours)
Apart from the corporate logo itself, there’s always the design extension that overflows into other parts of the corporate identity. Everything from stationeries and business cards, to the paintings on the walls of your office and transports. Even your staff’s uniform will also benefit from the corporate colours chosen.
The motif of the “sun” is retained, and the colours are extended out of the logo, and into the other blank areas. The “sun” is now put into perspective, in a sunrise over the horizon, shining proudly, throwing light and clarity to the surroundings. Hence, similar design motif is now adorning the business cards and stationeries now.
Tip – Allow your corporate colours to “flow” out of the logo, and onto your blank canvasses. The consistent colours will function as an extension of your brand identity.
There you go, the main tips for designing your corporate logo, incorporating important visual design cues. Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to design a meaningful, yet attractive logo for your business. And if you observe good branding practice, it won’t take long before your brand becomes a successful identity with the masses.
But Wait… What If I Don’t Have The Time Or Artistic Skills?
Should you feel that your time is better spent building up your business, or if you think that you don’t have that artistic flair, don’t worry. Give us a call, and we’ll help you develop your own corporate logo.