What is it about a well-made logo that gives it the power to inspire, motivate and influence people to take action?
Logos don’t have to be elaborate to work really well.
If you want your simple logo to be effective, there are a few steps that are absolutely essential. They have nothing to do with your drawing ability, or which colors you choose.
In today’s post, I’m going to do something I don’t usually do. I’m going to show you the logo ideas that didn’t make the cut, and tell you why they were weak and ineffective.
It’s my dirty logo laundry, aired in public. Scandalous!
A great logo starts in your brain
I’m going to show you how I developed a logo for the project I’ll reveal next week. Today, you’ll see how the logo went from brainstorm to finished art. Next week, you’ll see how we put it in motion!
Use this process to design your own brand, or apply it when you work with a professional designer. Either way, you’ll end up with a finished product that’s a powerful reflection of the very best your business offers.
So how do you take a great idea and give it form, and an identity? Start where all great marketing decisions start: thinking about your target market.
Who do you want to reach?
Karyn Greenstreet is my partner for my new venture. Early on, we realized we didn’t want to use either of our existing brands for the project. It needed to have its own name and look, since it was different than anything either of us already offered.
We spent a lot of time talking about who we wanted to reach: people who have been in business three or more years, who want to learn to run their business like a CEO, and who want to push it to the next level of success.
We wanted the tone of the project to be vibrant, full of life, and to show growth and progress. We wanted it to look professional, but not stodgy … maybe even a little fun. (Who says business can’t be fun?)
Name the baby
When a brand-new project is born, you have to give it a name. Once you know who you’re trying to reach, and the emotion you’d like to evoke, naming your project is easy: you just run all the possibilities through the target market and emotional filters you’ve decided on. When you do that, the winning name is usually pretty clear.
We came up with a name we both loved: Leap Year.
We wanted to communicate that devoting time to your business within this program would allow you to take a big leap forward. Lucky for us, 2012 is a leap year. That was convenient. 🙂
The evolution of a logo
We didn’t have a tagline yet, so I used a placeholder tagline in the initial ideas. Here’s the first logo idea I came up with.
I liked the typeface on this one: it has lots of movement and life. But the overall effect was a little too much like a restaurant menu, or a wedding invitation. Blek.
The second logo tried to show growth and progress, but the imagery was too literal. Besides, growth isn’t all about profits: growth can happen in a lot of different ways.
But there was something about those colors that I liked …
When I’m designing a word mark logo, I often start by perusing my extensive type collection, which is is so large, I’m a little embarrassed by it.
As I was searching for font inspiration, I came across this typeface, which I loved! The shapes were sophisticated, but kind of fun. The letters looked like they were reaching for the stars. Perfect. Except … it was a little plain all by itself. What could I do to make it even better?
I noticed that both words had an “A,” and that the shape of the A reminded me a little of an arrow. What could I do to emphasize that?
Removing the bar from the A helped reiterate the arrow shape. Pushing it up and to the right — like it was about to take off — emphasized the upward direction.
Karyn and I came up with an official tagline, and had a photo taken together. Voila: a finished logo for our brand new project.
Next week: Adding movement and music: a simple way to animate your brand. Stay tuned!