If you are creating a new product or starting a new company, branding is one of the most important things you make sure to get right. A professional logo design is one of the main components of effective branding. While it is only a part, it plays a crucial role in brand identity. Because your logo is the face of your product/company, creating a perfect logo design is critical to the success of your overall branding strategy.
To understand the importance of a good logo design in brand marketing success, we need to understand what branding is all about.
What is Branding?
Business Dictionary defines branding as “the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”
A brand is a promise to its customers that they can expect long-term security, a competitive frame of reference and consistent delivery of functional as well as emotional benefits. When a customer is familiar with a brand or favors it incomparably to its competitors, this is when a corporation has reached a high level of brand equity… Wikipedia
Branding is so critical it could determine the long-term success or failure of a company. Effective branding can improve your chances of market domination resulting in higher sales of not only one product, but of other products associated with that brand. As an entrepreneur, your first task is not to make money. It is to create a perfect, strong, resilient brand. The good thing about branding is, once you establish your brand in the market, you can make and sell any product by simply slapping your brand on them. Look at Dangote for example.
Why are Logos So Important in Branding?
A well-designed logo is an important part of your overall brand marketing strategy as an entrepreneur. It is the most single evidence that your company is visible in the market. Essentially, a logo is the face of the company. This is important because consumers buy brands. You see it all the time – customers don’t buy milk, for example; they buy Peak Milk or 3 Crown or Lahda or any other brand they accept.
A logo gives customers a means to find a particular brand. A poorly designed logo leaves no impression in the minds of your customers and without that impression, customers choose other brands leaving yours to gather dust.
What Constitutes a Good Logo Design?
Below are some of the qualities of a good logo design:
- Simplicity: A logo should be simple to comprehend and memorize. You want your customers to easily pick out your logo and understand the purpose behind it. So keep it simple and clean.
- Professional: As much as possible avoid using clip arts and keep the character fonts simple. Unless you are Arthur Guinness, don’t use fonts that look like a signature. Make the letters easy to read.
- Versatile: Just like a brand, a logo should be versatile enough to cover other products/services if you choose to expand.
- Memorable: An effective logo design should be easy to spot and memorize. The aim is to keep your brand in the minds of your customers. The Coca-Cola logo is a good example. Every top brand has this feature about their logo; that is how they stay on top.
- Lasting: If you plan to be in business for a long time, have a logo design that endures the entire time. It might take a lot of money and resources to re-educate your customers about a change in your brand. True, companies re-brand all the time but the change is usually subtle.
- Stand out; don’t blend in: You don’t want people to look at your logo and say: that logo looks like MTN! Your logo should stand out. Some companies, especially production companies, copy existing companies’ logos to confuse buyers and get a piece of the market. Smart entrepreneurs don’t go this route. You want a brand that stands out from the rest. When you copy other companies’ logo, you are always in their shadow and so long as people keep saying in their minds, “That logo looks like Peak Milk”, Peak Milk is always going to stay ahead.
- Appropriate: Position your logo to match with the purpose of the company. You look at our logo (nextnaijaentrepreneur.com) and our goal immediately becomes clear: we grow and promote the next generation of informed, brilliant and successful Nigerian Entrepreneurs.
Tools to Create Your Own Brand Logo
It is always better you let professionals handle your logo design. That said, there are a number of resources available to create your own brand logo especially when you are working on tight budget.
- Design Mantic: This is a free online logo generator. I love it because it requires no work on your part. Just input your company name and category, submit then and select from hundreds of automatically generated logos. Although the designs look a little like clip arts, they are brilliant designs you can use till you are able to get a more professionally designed custom logo.
- Make Logo Online Free: Just like Design Mantic above, you simply enter your company name and select from hundreds of logos. If you are not satisfied with automatically generated logos and would like to create your own design at no cost, Shopify Logo Maker allows you to create your own logos using tools on their website.
- If you are tech-savvy and have a touch of creative genius, you can try your hands at creating your own custom logo design from scratch using a graphics editor. GIMP is a free and open-source graphics editor used for image editing, conversion, retouching, free-form drawing and more specialized tasks.
Logo Mistakes to Avoid
- Avoid using clip arts – Clip Arts belong in the 80’s and have no place in modern graphics design especially in something as important as your brand.
- Avoid using stock photos from the internet – you might get slapped with copyright suits. Even when the image is attribution-free, you might be using an image someone else is using. That is not good.
- Use clean fonts – as I said earlier, don’t use any font that looks like a signature. Make your letters as easy to read as possible.
- Don’t over complicate things – you want to keep your logo simple, clean and unique
Get a Professional
The free tools above are OK to get you a usable design. However, when you can afford it, I recommend getting a professional graphics designer to create your custom logo designs. Such people know what is standard best practice. For example, professional graphics designers know that you should not use more that 2 colors per design, and the colors you choose should be consistent with the overall color theme of your product or company. If you did not know this, you might create a very ‘color-full’ design and feel very proud with your work 🙂
For a fee, you can relax while people who know their craft work to make your brand look good.
Before You Hire
Before you hire a graphics designer, ask to see their portfolio; what they have done for others. This is to make sure they have the experience to deliver what you need. Since trust is a huge issue, it would be nice if they came with reference. Alternatively, you can get a graphics designer from a freelance site like Fiverr. There are lots of young Nigerians there who are willing to do honest work there. Check out their reviews to know who has provided the most customer satisfaction.
A logo is just a tip of the iceberg in branding. But it is crucial for the success of your overall branding strategy.
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