How to make a great brand logo in 2019?
So what is a logo?
I’ll spare you the definition. It’s basically the face of a company.
Some are beloved, others are loathed. They ALL need to work in tiny form. They don’t really need to work ginormously anymore.
These are the options.
Type 1 = Wordmark
The wordmark is the easiest one and the one we’re most familiar with. It can look crisp, clean and modern like Google’s. Or, it can look like it has roots in a shared heritage like Budweiser or Disney.
Type 2 = Pictorial logo
Let’s not complicate things. It’s just a picture. You say what’s in the picture, which then identifies the name of the company. Sometimes directly like Domino’s, other times more indirectly like Lacoste.
Type 3 = Abstract iconography (the holy grail of logos)
This is everyone’s favourite category. People seem to think they just magically appear out of thin air. You always hear people asking designers for Nike ‘style’ swoosh logos. They think the swoosh was born the day it was drawn.
The company that birthed Nike commissioned a design student named Carolyn to draw a few logo Ideas. Turns out the Nike founders didn’t really like any of them. In the end, they just said:
“Let’s use that one for now…”.
And do you know what? It was NOT an overnight success.
It’s a good job the shoes were brilliant. The genius of Nike’s marketing team was their ability to deepen consumer belief towards the product (not just because of the performance gear). Instead, the very idea of athletic achievement itself.
That’s why over a last few decades, this little mark has had such a profound impact on the world.
Which, if you think about it, is exactly how religious symbols work too. It’s not anything inherent about the shapes. It’s what the shapes have come to represent in the minds of the people who are looking at them
Type 4 = the logo system
There’s also a fourth type of logo that goes beyond the three shown above, which takes elements from all.
It’s comprised of a framework that has limitless permutations. The first gigantically popular example of the logo system was MTV. Google also used this with their daily doodles.
This approach has been refined for digital. Responsive screens and the interwebs to blame. Gone are the days of the military like operation to inscribe the new company logo onto everything.
The use of the logo system will continue to rise, as it allows brands using it to expand their conversation beyond their own name. A logo really reminds people what ‘our brand’ priority is today.
Regardless of shape, style or system, it really doesn’t matter what your logo is today. If you heart is set on designing the next swoosh, then treat these symbols like empty vessels, which you pour your meaning into.
What does this all add up to?
Basically, these fights people get into about new logos are totally misguided. They think they’re judging a diving competition, when all these companies are in swimming competitions. It’s not what kind of splash you make when you hit the water. It’s how long you keep your head above the water.
Logos need a long life, not win points in a discussion.
12 years after the birth of that Nike logo, Nike came back to graphic design student Carolyn with a gift. A Nike ring with her own trademark on it. The swoosh. Plus an undisclosed amount of Nike stock.
In 1973 when it was designed. Carolyn’s pay was $35.
- Michael Porter
Brand Asset Tools
Logos by Squarespace - free logo maker
Fiver - freelance services marketplace
Promo - make beautiful videos in minutes
Envato - make beautiful videos in minutes
Website & Email Services
Squarespace - all-in-one website platform
Webflow - design, build, and launch responsive websites visually
Wordpress - free CMS
Wix - all-in-one website platform
Mailchimp - Email Solution (GDPR friendly)
Hotjar - see how your visitors are really using your website
Tinypng - make website faster with small images
Evernote - best note taking app
Slack - WhatsApp for business
iWork - documents, spreadsheets and presentations (Mac)
Office - documents, spreadsheets and presentations (Windows)
Dropbox - file sharing solution
iCloud - file sharing solution
Wetransfer - file sharing solution
Teachable - create and sell online courses
Hubspot - full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM
Want to try your hand at building your own brand from scratch? 1hrBRAND teaches you how to reap the benefits of building your own online business in minutes, not months. Learn more and sign up here.