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Logo Design: Where are we going wrong!

What is a Logo? It is a word that everyone, from boomers to genA, is familiar with now. Simply put, a logo is the visual identity of an entity. This can be an image, a shape, a text or sometimes even a colour. Let’s look a little beyond this definition.

A logo is a visual identity that communicates the brand story to the people. So who are the users of the logo here? Client or the People? It's both. You cannot make a logo just to please the client, nor can you make a logo that will resonate just with the user.

Let’s see what will happen if we design logos only for clients.

When designs were made just based on the client's directions, they ignored the fact that a regular user would be looking at these logos heuristically and that would lead to misinterpretations.

Now let’s see when we ignore the brand and do it only for the users, what will be the outcome?

When famous brands started applying UX principles to logo design, everything started to look the same. They overlooked the fact that every brand is studying the same user base.

Both approaches resulted in a poor outcome. When the logo is made solely for the client, users don't connect with it and interpret various meanings based on their existing cognitive load. On the other hand, when logos are made with only the users in mind, everything starts to look the same!

When you ignore the brand story and go with usability, people themselves might reject it! An infamous example is the GAP story.

When GAP decided that it was time to go the "user-friendly" way, the customers got so upset with the change that it forced GAP to go back to its original logo in just 6 days!

What must be done is a careful balancing act between the brand values and user preferences. To be able to do this balancing act successfully, you need to be aware of basic design principles, user trends and brand stories.

Here are a few tips that you must be aware of before building a brand identity.

  1. Understand the brand story yourself - don't just listen to the client. Study the brand, and find out its USP, values and audience. Have discussions with your client- they are paying you for that! Educate them that “what the brand needs” is more important than “what the brand wants”.

  2. While building a logo, think about its adaptability. A logo should work equally on the side of a skyscraper and the tip of a pen. It should work on various colours, backgrounds, materials and transparencies. Test it on all probable use cases.

  3. Do not overcomplicate your logo. Simplify it so that it's easy for people to understand the value of the brand. Making a logo unique will make people remember and process it faster.

  4. Be minimal —Do not use more than 2 colours in a logo. Try to limit your typeface to one, if possible.

  5. Make sure you don't follow transient design trends when creating a logo. A logo should represent your brand for a lifetime! Aim to create a logo that is future-proof and timeless by avoiding trends.

  6. Finally, Ensure that you are clear about what you want customers to know about the brand you are building.

Happy designing.


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