Should logos say who you are as a business?
It is quite a wondrous time to be a logo designer. With unlimited research being done, countless tutorials, valuable and mediocre - to excel as a creative in 2019 is incredibly achievable.
We as logo designers are constantly in the pursuit of better skill, technique, strategy, word wizardry and intellect - becoming well versed in the theory, ideology and what it is to truly and wholeheartedly be a logo designer, 2019 is the jam. As I strive to be a better designer than I was yesterday, other challenges also arise in our vast industry. Identifying good and bad clients, how to deal with them, when to pull the trigger or keep it in your holster - being a designer is much like a quick witted word smith we so eagerly dream of being, we must also learn to speak.
Conveying feeling through words and words through feelings is paramount to our success and survival. As I progress in my career, I’ve come across a problem which is one my heroes and my heroes heroes have faced for decades. Clients come to me because they see what I do and they like it, so for me to solve their creative problem is the reason why I exist professionally. Although they see what I do as a strength, the issue I have encountered is one I have been striving to explain to them, quoting the late Ivan Chermayeff:
“Logos don’t make it clear what you do, they make it clear who you are. The less they say the better.”
Explaining this to business owners, who quiver at the obvious and understandable fear of handing their dollars over to a creative is quite the challenge. They have a vision for what they do and want their logo to say “LOOK AT ME, I MAKE HATS.” Although the claim is true, to be identified as a hat maker visually does not make you instantly recognisable, it makes you instantly cattle. Instead, leaving the designer to create a mark that although doesn’t have the prettiest “hat” in the mark itself, can always identify with your brand in an elegant way.
Of course, there is more to this. A great mark is only remembered through the special work that the hat maker creates, how he sells and markets his products. A swoosh doesn’t sell sneakers prior to NIKE’s release but their involvement with cultural icons makes a consumers vulgar empathy open their wallets - these days a swoosh might as well make raindrops in the shapes of 100 dollar bills. So to rehash on the Hat salesmen:
If you market and advertise your product in an intelligent way, your logo mark becomes your identity and what represents your reputation. The goosebumps that arise by gently rubbing a finely crafted hat. The fashionable aura that is achieved once you have it on. The nonchalant customer service that conveys a “greenwich village” coolness to their staff - the feeling it gives you of not being in your boring hometown and rather being in a day dream of strutting down the streets of Paris in a fine spring morning. Once consumers give them that trust, customers will look over at their logo and think “Hum, I’ll remember that next time I wanna buy a hat.”
Explaining this has become my new challenge and to give many of my current and past clients credit - they have taken it onboard every so slightly. Of course, I’m also the firm believer that although it is NOT a piece of information and rather a mark of identification - its imperative that it looks good. It needs to be appropriate to the brand, their industry feel and of course if they wish to move forward and not retain the cobwebs - MODERN.