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The 8-Step Guide to Defining Your Logo Design Strategy
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  2 Comments          26-04-2017

Let's face it: most company logos fade into oblivion after a few years. Only a handful survive to become the pop culture icons that represent beloved brands like Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Apple. These instantly recognizable logos are the visible embodiment of their brand's values and personality.Since logo are key to a company's success, the design process is best left to professionals. But that doesn’t mean you should show up on your designer's doorstep empty-handed. It's your brand, after all—nobody knows it better than you, so think about the type of logo you want before meeting with your designer. Here are 8 steps to help you plan your logo:

a. Conduct Market Research

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Marketing research is necessary to logo design—and luckily for you non-creative types, it doesn't take any artistic prowess. Every business needs a brand image that effectively appeals to its target audience, so crafting the right logo starts with a comprehensive study to learn how your target market currently perceives your brand. You'll also want to look beyond your audience to your competitors, which may require outside help. If you're not sure how to conduct thorough market research, call on a competitive analysis firm to help you scope out the competition and analyze the findings. If you're going the DIY route, make a list of questions you need answered. For instance, ask things like: What do my competitors' logos look like? Are their designs working? Why or why not? Pull together several logos you like—they might give you some insight about what works within your niche and what your audience expects of you.

b. Define Your Brand Personality & Values

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Good logos are similar to business cards: they tell customers who you are as a company and what value you provide. After one glance at your logo, consumers make snap judgments about your ability to provide the goods and services they need. That means you've got to make them see your brand's potential right away. Each company has its own unique selling points and "personality," so it's best to start by choosing the most important traits for your brand. For instance, you may be trying to send super professional vibes, or you might want to show off your wild and wacky side. To determine your company's core personality, it's a good idea to brainstorm terms related to its culture, products, and industry—literally anything you can think of. You can then use a word cloud generator to turn that messy list into a cool visual representation that will help you identify your brand's best attributes. From there, your designer can create a logo that conveys your company's personality.

c. Choose a Design Type

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There are four main types of logo: wordmark, lettermark, brandmark, and iconic. While most people have a "favorite," it’s important to realize that not every logo is equally suitable for your company—even if it happens to be your favorite. Your choice should depend on the brand message you need to convey. Wordmark Wordmarks rely on typographic expression, meaning your new logo will state your brand's name loud and clear. It's a great choice for startups that have yet to gain name recognition in the marketplace. Companies with wordmark logos include legends like Disney, Coca-Cola, and Google. Lettermark Instead of a full name, lettermarks use the company's initials. CNN, HBO and VISA all used this strategy to make up for their cumbersome names (VISA stands for Visa International Service Association, which sounds way less sexy). This style works well for brands with long names, as long as you don't mind clients calling your company by its "nickname." Brandmark Brandmarks are all about symbolic representation: Twitter’s blue bird, Apple’s bitten apple, Nike’s famous swoosh. These logos are great for international markets, since they represent a company's products regardless of language barriers. And they're much easier to recognize at a glance than word- or lettermarks. Iconic Iconic logos combine brandmarks with another variety for unrestricted creativity. You can mix a symbol with your brand's name, like Adidas and YouTube, or merge a brandmark with a lettermark, like NBC or the NFL. This style is highly effective, because it gives you room to grow. You can alter the image, change the font, or even drop the brand name altogether if you hit the big time in a few years.

d. Find the right fonts

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The font you choose for your logo's typography has can make or break the design, because it will impact your audience's emotions. For instance, some people avoid jagged fonts that look harsh and unfriendly. Others think Comic Sans looks immature, so they won't buy from brands with Comic Sans logos. There's a whole school of thought called "font psychology" that explains how our minds react to different typefaces, and that's something you'll need to learn if you want to get ahead of the competition. You've got to keep your audience’s eyes fixed on you—not somebody else. Learning about font psychology will help you create a great typographic logo that draws people toward your brand. This basic breakdown will get you started: Serifs are reliable and respectable. These fonts have little "feet" on the ends of the letters, like the Sony logo, to guide the eye. Sans serifs evoke modernity, making them a popular choice for web-based businesses. Big names like Facebook and EBay have sans serif logos. Script fonts imply elegance, creativity, and history—like the Ford logo that dates back to the early days of America's automotive industry (even if it's not Henry Ford's real signature).

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