You just signed loan papers for a $30,000 company car. You agreed to an $8,000 radio advertising package. You then hired a lawyer to make sure your business is legitimate, but you paid your 17-year-old nephew who’s “good with a computer” $50 to make you a logo.
Your logo probably sucks.
Look, I love saving money. I’ll spend hours on eBay just to save $1 on a product most people would buy on Amazon. I’m with you on the saving money thing, but when it comes to your business, a logo isn’t something you should cut corners on.
But why? Tons of small businesses get by with ugly logos. Yes, they get by, and they might even be somewhat successful, but what happens when a business has a poor (or no) visual identity is that they rely solely on their other attributes. So a business that might have been a nationwide household name with great branding is just a $500,000 local business with a crumby logo in West Virginia. They may have a great product and unmatched customer service, but a business like that can only go so far if it’s owners don’t recognize the importance of an accompanying brand identity.
Logos and branding are often the targets of corner-cutting because of one reason: everyone thinks they are subjective. I got into this topic in my blog post What You Don’t Know About Graphic Design.
I think the perceived subjectivity of logo design and branding comes from two main misconceptions: the idea that graphic art is like traditional art, and the assumption that anyone with a computer can do it.
Yes, graphic design is an art form. There is an intuition necessary for a great graphic designer to have, making it somewhat of a personal expression. However, that doesn’t mean it is 100% subjective. As much as it’s an art form, graphic design is a science. There are rules, processes, and subtle formalities that dictate what is effective and what is not. It’s not something you can learn from one YouTube video; it takes years of practice and application.
When a computer is involved, people get scared. Scared and skeptical. People don’t respect logo design because they figure…it can’t be that hard, you just do it on a computer. What they don’t realize is great logo design starts on paper, and it could just as easily happen without a computer.
I like to say the definition of a great brand is 90% objective. Sure, there is artistic license and creativity involved, but since a great brand is defined by how well it connects with the right audience and encapsulates the brand’s values and message, only about 10% of the final branding is subjective.
So, back to the question. Does your logo suck? Well, that’s hard to answer, but I’d say there are a lot more bad logos out there than good ones. And by “bad” I mean the logo doesn’t properly connect with your audience, and/or it doesn’t represent your values and message as an organization.
I’ve mentioned before that great branding literally does the selling for you, and this is absolutely true. You see, a well-designed logo isn’t just a pretty picture. It makes you feel something, and not just anything—it makes you aware of the values of the underlying entity. It allows you to become familiar with what kind of organization the business is, how they do business, and what problems they solve.
A great logo uses the pillars of psychology and the backbone of analytical research to develop a visual identity that meets your business goals.
So, does your logo do that? Is it engineered to target the people who need your product the most? If not, I’m sorry to say…it sucks. But that’s alright! After all, if you own a business and you’re reading this, that means you’re serious about what you do. When you’re able to take the next step in taking your business seriously, let’s talk about building that great brand identity for your business.