Updated: Dec 10, 2020
Your brand consists of many elements. The name of your business and it's logo can play a huge part in its initial success and building a brand and identity that tells a story and communicates directly to your target audience, will have an huge impact on its lifespan.
Designing an iconic logo is something we all aspire to do so what's the secret..
Nike, Virgin and Apple are among some of the most recognisable brand logos and their iconic status is derived from their original designers' deeper understanding of brand principles.
Their logos truly reflects what the company is all about and the wider brand and it's consistent experiences leaves a positive lasting impression on the public.
Nike’s swoosh logo was the result of the designer coming up with something that denoted motion and would look good on a shoe. The Virgin name and logo was derived by a young designer at an agency and formed its simplicity and name 'Virgin' because even Richard Branson had to start somewhere and he noted "we were all virgins in business at the time.” The logo has changed very little from the original design, showing its strength and versatility.
Two factors that make for a great brand are cutting through the noise and repetition of modern media and communicating to consumers as individuals.
“Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust”
Sir Richard Branson
Most logos typically fail to reach iconic heights because they tend to represent what a company makes or does. For example most law firms typically have columns and/or gavels and many IT companies show clouds or power button icons and building contractors tend to have blocks or roofs of buildings over words.
Most importantly a logo must have meaning and purpose.
A logo should be less about what a brand does and more about how it behaves, and the purpose it shares with its consumers.
"The strongest logos balance simplicity, richness and humanity."
For those just starting out on their brand journey and looking at logos there are some basic pieces of advice. Keep it simple to make it memorable and give it the power to complement the business and intrigue potential customers.
Apple’s logo, for example, doesn't show a computer or complex code or a power button icon. It is simply an 'apple' and the apple is missing a “byte”. It’s simple, memorable and has a clear link to what the brand is about.
To give further meaning and impact, things like choosing the right colours and colour psychology says more about a brand than you may realise. For example red is seen as exciting, powerful and evocative, think Virgin, Coca Cola and Netflix. Green signifies organic, nature and growth - think Tropicana, Starbucks and BP. Blue gives a sense of trust, stability and security - think banking brands such as Barclays and American Express and tech companies such as HP and Facebook.
Like all iconic brand logos, as important as colour is, a great logo also has to work in black and white and be just as striking and recognisable wherever it is placed.
Remember, take inspiration from big brands but don't copy!
Any business small or large can take a lot of inspiration from the branding tricks and logos of the global brand giants. However the worst thing they can do is try to copy or compete with them. Apart from the obvious risk of an impending law suit, smaller businesses particularly have the ability to test and shape their unique look based on their unique values and aspirations and can adapt quicker to changing markets and trends. Remember your logo and identity can adjust and evolve with these changes as the bigger brands periodically do with updates to their logos. However your fundamental brand personality, values and what you deliver to customers should not change and should become the consistent bedrock to your brand.
Even the most famous brand logos were not overnight successes. It takes time to gain popularity and many fail by rushing to change it too early because they want instant results. Give your audience time to know like and trust you first. You may have to make significant changes or rebrand for other reasons down the line but stick with it.