When branding, we are trying to create an emotional connection between our product and the client’s mind. Therefore, having a recognizable mark is important. That’s where the logo comes in. It is the easiest piece of graphic to place on, virtually, anything related to and existing in your business (patterns, product package, shop header, etc).
Why Is a Logo Needed?
In branding, we usually start with the main product idea, study the target audience and see what’s appealing to them, then we start developing a strategy that includes designing a visual identity that will not only represent our brand, but will also be attractive to our audience.
Once we start designing the visual identity itself, the first thing to be designed tends to be the logo. It’s the first step in having a visual and recognizable mark.
Is a Logo REALLY Needed?
I will be brutally honest here and a lot of designers out there may disagree, but, a logo is NOT needed, in my opinion. I have seen several brands succeed without a logo. If you keep in mind that branding is about connection and consistency, there are many ways to do this without a logo -like showing up on Instagram for 10 minutes daily, sharing your story or valuable tips. Bam! Consistency, story, connection. Those are some of the most important things in a brand. It is the trust in you that will, above all, convert followers into raving fans (and clients).
Nonetheless, I have two great reasons to have a logo:
- Having a good-looking visual identity that is backed by strategy, can only help. Looking professional is also a step to build trust (specially for brands without a mailing list/following).
- Having a logo and accompanying visual elements makes it significantly easier to have a consistent look, helps having a solid base for everything else in your brand (message, blog posts, video openings, etc).
So, do you NEED a logo? No. But can a logo help you establish your brand on people’s mind faster? Yes.
When Can a Brand’s Logomark Change?
There are many brands that are in market for 10 years or more, using the same logomark. And there are brands that update their logos every other year or so.
Google, for example, updates their logomark often enough, but between one update and other, the base elements are always there: similar font style, same brand colors, etc. So, even when they update their logo in itself, the branding is still the same. By just updating their logo, Google has not become a whole new brand, they have simply updated their main visual mark.
Facebook and Coca-cola do the same. The purpose is to create a fresh mark, that aligns with a renewed company purpose or simply to step into the latest design trends (who wants to look outdated!?)
That’s why it is important to build an overall brand identity you’re in love with. Because if you do, you will have clarity and confidence to update your logo at the right now, knowing why, and without having to change the whole brand visuals as a result. Or, of course, you will know why you need to change your whole brand visuals -if that’s what you need. If you’d like to get that kind of clarity, let’s work together!
Next Steps in Branding
The logo may be the number one element in a brand, but, ideally, it is just a piece of the brand identity puzzle. Once we have a clear idea of our brand message and start the branding visual design process, we should have a collection of elements that come together and create an unique feeling.
When the colors are set, font family is chosen, patterns have been created, photographs reflect the brand message… When all things fall into place, the logo is going to be just one more piece in the branding. And when that happens, we are free to update our logo as often as needed, because we have all other branding elements to back our brand’s visual identity and allows us to stay connected with our audience even if we change things here or there.
Original post written on October 22nd, 2013.