It was a muggy afternoon a few days back when I was scrolling through my Instagram feed…
There I came across a post about the worst logos ever designed. The post got my creative juices flowing in the right direction, and to top it off, I came up with the story of Sam.
This is Sam. He is inspired by Keanu Reaves’ appearance in John Wick and has started a business with the name of Wick’s Chandlery.
Without much thought given to the marketing of branding of this venture, Sam went about selling the candles to his friends and family.
Two months down, he realized that no one had responded to his social media posts, neither had there been any sales from outside his immediate friend circle. And when the lockdown began, Sam was left with no option but to pack up.
Poor Sam and his poor planning!
Are you just starting up with a new venture?
Have you been wondering about the best practices for improved conversions?
Are you worried that your start-up has not been receiving the attention it deserves?
Did your recent social media marketing campaign fail terribly?
If you have answered yes to any of the questions asked above, then I would like to tell you that you are not alone. In a chaotic time such as the pandemic of COVID-19, it is obvious for a start-up founder to feel insecure about their business and the brand image they are trying to cultivate.
I know what it feels like to start a business and build a brand from scratch. If there is one thing that I can teach you from my years of experience is to pay attention to the little things. And here is a question that I would like to ask.
What is the tiniest thing that makes the most impact?
This tiny symbolic representation of your company is not just a collection of random colors, lines, and dots. It is the encapsulation of your entire brand image in a graphic.
Imagine, the pandemic is over, and you are free to indulge in the things you love. You drive an SUV with four rings and head out to get a coffee with a two-tailed mermaid printed on its container.
You head to a store with a red bull’s eye to shop for candles, Tupperware, and all other things that any ‘adult’ would buy. As the day progresses, you eat at a place with a yellow M and end the day at the gym wearing a three-striped trouser and tank top.
Were you able to guess all five brands mentioned in the scenario above? Were you able to figure out that the story is a subtle endorsement of Audi, Starbucks, Target, Mc Donald’s, and Adidas?
Every day, there is a typhoon of information, data, figures, and images ready to ambush us in the wake of the digital revolution. We are subjected to gigabytes of data every day, but do we remember everything that we see?
I don’t think so!
We only remember the things that leave a mark on our memory, just like the half-bitten apple that represents Apple, and the hat that represents Pizza Hut. These market giants have not emerged out of the blue, overnight.
Learning from the masters, I have created a list of reasons why a logo is significant to the brand image of start-ups, specifically. Here is your comprehensive guide about why you need not just any logo but a professional one for your brand to succeed.
But before we proceed, let’s learn the basics.
Derived from a Greek word of ‘logos,’ a logo literally means a word. It is a word that represents you, your vision for the venture, and the values of your brand all wrapped into it. Does it not seem like piling a lot of responsibility on a single visual?
The bare and bold truth is that a professional logo is a conceptualized graphic that is used as an emblem to be branded into the minds of the target audience. It is a method used by companies to always stay at the forefront for the customers to remember and retain into long term memory.
How old were you when you realized that the three colored abstracts of blue, red, and white represented your favorite fizzy drink, Pepsi?
Do you remember the first time your parents got you a pair of shoes, and you checked whether they had the same swoosh mark as your friends?
Did you see what the brands have really done?
But these are the works of market giants who have invested millions into their branding and product placements to reach where they are. How can a start-up with limited financial resources make such an impact on the target audience?
Here is why.
There is no denial in the fact that all businesses must have high-quality logo designs. But when it comes to start-ups, the significance of the impact grows manifold.
I know that at the beginning of a venture, a business owner might feel like saving a few extra bucks and using a DIY for a logo. It may lead to a meager saving in the first month, but at what cost?
A survey by FullStop found out that 50% of start-up owners publish logos they make by themselves.
Investing in a professional logo at the beginning of your business may seem like a luxurious expenditure. A professional logo designer may seem like an expensive charlatan, charging too much for a tiny drawing that could be made in five minutes.
Well, you may have the liberty to assume that logo design takes only five minutes, but the hard work and creative effort implemented to make a unique masterpiece to represent an entire brand, says otherwise.
Here is a list of nine reasons why I think your start-up might fail if you do not make an effort to develop a professional logo.
Without much ado, let’s jump right into the reasons.
According to science, human brain processes images age the speed of 60,000X as compared to words.
Your logo is the essence of your entire branding. It is the story and protagonist of your brand wrapped in one. It helps you create a story with colors, fonts, and designs to help your customers identify your brand. The storytelling ability of graphics can be observed from the prehistoric hieroglyphs of Egypt.
They surely were a smart nation. After all, they implemented the science of marketing and logos to their divinities very, very long ago. Even before it became a subject to be studied.
The lesson here is that the best way to market your business is to create a consistent brand identity—case in point in the dripping lip logo of Kylie Cosmetics.
It is obvious that the brand is about cosmetics and belongs to the higher end. The bold lettering of the name demarcates it as a celebrity name.
It is all in the little details, dear reader. The little details!
As a start-up, you need to have a uniform brand that can easily tell your story and also help your target audience identify you.
When I say that your logo represents your vision for the future, I don’t ask you to go all futuristic with robots and metallic shades for your mobile accessory store, although that is a brilliant idea!
But what I am trying to say is that your logo should be designed with keeping the future in mind. Evolution is apparent, and never happened to people (If you believe your forefathers were a monkey, I will not argue) but it’s obvious to brands and businesses.
Just like the evolution of the Pepsi logo, your brand can also change. You can expand your line of products or perhaps integrate with another business.
This evolution of the Starbucks logo shows how the logo evolved overtime and kept up with the rules of logo design, as per the epoch of time. Starbucks may be an invincible competition in the market, but any local coffee café can take inspiration from the company and use the ideology to its advantage.
Just like Sattar Buksh, a local coffee business all the way in Pakistan took inspiration from the 1992 logo of the brand, it has opened doors to not just a bright future of opportunities through the similarity with an establish brand but has also knocked at the adage of ‘think global, act local’ in the mustache of the graphic.
A professional logo can easily grab the attention of a customer and keep them coming back to your business.
Statistically speaking, it takes 5-7 interactions for an individual to integrate an impression in their memory. This means that when a prospect shopper continues to see your logo, let’s say, every day of the week, then they are likely to trust you and try you out.
To me, logo design is a sector of branding that allows one to truly express themselves through art and design. The prime example is the bluebird the twitters all day and keeps your updated about the happenings around the globe.
When a customer is used to seeing a logo, it sets their expectations about the products. Logos help in the development of brand loyalty and help customers associate the visual projection with your brand.
The logo of Rolex reflects on the luxury the brand ensconces. The five coronets with the gold and green color scheme is a masterpiece that teaches one about the depths of developing a brand story.
This means that as a start-up when you start posting the initial images on Instagram, the logo in the display would remind the customers of you and gradually establish a positive image in the memory of the viewer.
This way, when they need something that you sell, let’s say handmade soaps, then they are likely to skip their round to Lush and try out your product. It is digital branding 101 to establish consistent brand imagery to set expectations. This is especially useful for start-ups because of their vulnerable position.
Any business with a well-designed professional logo is likely to garner consumer attention far more than one that has a random collection of alphabets, dots, or splashes of color. The audience today, has the aesthetic sensibility to judge whether a logo is professionally designed or is a mere DIY.
When the viewer sees that a company has an excellent website, with good quality content, and professionally designed graphics and logos, then they believe in the authority of the business. As a start-up, showing professionalism is a competitive advantage you cannot afford to miss out on!
Speaking of competitive advantage, start-ups need to have a solid ground of followers that support them. The markets today are teaming up with innovative ideas and designs to the extent that ideas have now translated into currency.
This indicates that in order to stand out, a start-up must have a unique selling point that they use entirely to their advantage. For this reason, the company that is just starting out needs to have a distinct identity comprised of specific colors and designs.
Yes. Specification of color and font matters a lot more than anything else. To illustrate this example, let’s have a look at the purple logo of Cadbury, a giant in the chocolate industry.
This image does not have the word Cadbury written on it, but a viewer can easily recognize it from the color.
Professional logo designers spend hours learning not just the craft of design but also develop an understanding of making an emblem for a brand.
A logo is a vigil that is going to be the cornerstone of all of your marketing campaigns on social media and print. It is going to be printed on your packaging and products too.
The logo of Harvard University that has Veritas written on it, the name of the Roman goddess of truth. The colors of red and gold are used to symbolize the integrity and honesty that the institution aims to seek.
I have been a start-up founder before, which is why I can empathize with the lack of funds one might face. But that does not mean that cutting costs on logo design is an option. Logo design is critical to the branding of a business, and hence the future of the company depends on it.
You cannot endanger the future of your business by ignoring the significance of logo design for your company. After all, the authoritative presence is the only thing that leads to a higher percentage of conversions.
In today’s day and age, where starting up a business is as easy as making an online presence and selling things, one has to realize that the market has cutthroat competition. You cannot stand strong until you have a robust brand identity. You have to put your best foot forward in the position of a brand.
Something as minuscule as a logo can change the future.
I have observed that many start-ups fail to realize that they are not just a tiny entity; they are a brand in themselves. This means that they must have the ability to stand apart in a crowd. The smaller you think of your brand, the lesser your impact would be.
Professional logo design is a necessity that cannot be neglected. It is the emblem of your brand and is the first brick of your yellow-brick-road to success.
I hope that reading about the bigger brands would have helped you understand that a logo deserves all the attention and more. For it is the first impression of your brand.
The impression that would stay with the customer for life. Do you want to add anything? Feel free to comment.
Waqas D. is the co-founder of the branding and website agency, FullStop™. He supercharges brands by crafting memorable logos, brand identities and engaging websites. Besides thousands of startups and medium-size businesses, FullStop has worked with likes of Microsoft & L’Oréal. View our portfolio or get in touch.
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