Your Business Logo: Does it Really Matter?

By: Guest | May 14, 2012 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Amina AlTai.

When businesses, new or old, take it upon themselves to hone their identity and tell the story of their brand through their logo, they are embarking on a huge endeavor; one that is rarely given enough consideration.

A brand logo is an opportunity to speak to consumers’ subconscious and make an emotional appeal about the values of the brand.

When start-ups come to me and show me a list of system fonts and cringe-worthy ideas put together by their CEO, (who is very creative, by the way!) I shudder.

A logo is so symbolic.  It is a representation of countless carefully crafted cues that have the enormous job of, in one word or pictogram, telling the world why you are different and why people should remember you.  If you opt for something generic, you will stand for just that.

In branding, there are generally two schools of thought when undertaking a logo design or redesign…often, designers endeavor to enhance or underscore what a brand really is, or, they weave designs from the fabrics of how they hope to be perceived.

There are several elements that need careful consideration in the logo design process.

Style and technique go a long way in communicating to the brain what this brand stands for and what it will become. The human brain is hardwired to recognize colors and shapes long before it can decipher words. So the style of your logo is as important as the name you select.

You’d be surprised how much a font, pop of color or subtle refinement cues to your brain about your brand. And since brands are living things, with personified characteristics, it is ever important for brands to continue to evolve their identities with shifts in consumer behavior and trends to stay current and relevant.

AT&T is one such example.  The year 2006 marked the 23rd time in 25 years that AT&T evolved its identity.  In an effort to keep up with the rapidly changing environment and evolving consumer, AT&T tweaked their identity consistently in order to keep its appeal to current consumers and eventually to a larger audience.

But remember this, branding is more than a logo or a tagline. A logo goes a long way in terms of creating a memorable and visual identity that consumers can recognize and form attachments to. Here are a few pointers for making sure your logo is as effective as possible:

  1. Do your research. Look at the competitive landscape, identify your personality, discriminators, positioning, and core values.  Define everything in a creative brief.
  2. Keep it memorable and adaptable.  Your logo should be appropriate for the cultures and subcultures viewing it, it should work seamlessly across brand touch points and allow for expansion. It should have ownable elements that can be emblazoned in the mind of the consumer, but be careful of overkill. Simple is usually better
  3. Test your logo. One of the best ways to gauge appropriateness and success of a logo is to test it with your consumers. Crowd sourcing is becoming increasingly important with brands, so why not take the opportunity to share your work-in-progress with your consumers and have them weigh in?
  4. Innovate or desist. Revisit your logo at certain intervals.  Don’t evolve your logo so often that consumers can’t remember it, but carefully update to reflect growth and change within the brand.
Have you seen examples of logos you love? Hate? Ones that change to frequently or need to be updated?

Amina AlTai is the marketing director and co-founder of Imagemme. You can connect with her on Twitter and Google+.

  • I agree with the concept of keeping a logo updated, but there is something to be said for longevity. If a brand wants to update, there is a fine line between a brand refresh and a complete overhaul. I worked in tourism for many years, and it seemed like every time the marketing team changed, they wanted a new logo. That is NOT the strategy. Like you said, Amina, it needs to be researched and well-thought out. 

    • MrsMicahSmith

       @Lisa Gerber I totally agree with you, Lisa! The great thing is that when you put the critical thought in on the front end, you build in longevity. The problem comes when companies choose a logo for looks, without considering how it integrates with the rest of their branding. 

      •  @MrsMicahSmith These are all excellent points.  It is of the utmost importance, when undertaking a redesign, that you do so to reflect the evolution of the brand while staying true to the brands’ core values.  That way you don’t alienate consumers and are essentially reflecting cultural shifts as well as brand shifts.  Rebranding just for the sake of doing so is never a good idea. 

  • jennimacdonald

    I am a typography geek! So many people in marketing focus on the beauty or cool typefaces and forget about the readability aspect. If your viewer can’t read your logo or headline is it even worth publishing or printing it?
    Great article, all 4 points above really drive home this point!

    •  @jennimacdonald Really? A typography geek? I want to be a typography geek!

      • jennimacdonald

         @Lisa Gerber That’s what happens when you get a degree in Graphic Design. : )

  • I believe in the power of branding with a logo. Just look at the Nike swoosh or the apple… Um… Apple. The key is to keep it memorable and simple.

    •  @richescorner I was working in a coffee house last week and looked up at one point and scanned the room… to see the glow of apples everywhere. Amazing branding. 

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  • rdopping

    Interesting comment about cultures and sub-cultures. With the internet and the “global” nature of business it must be a real challenge if you are a global brand to make sure you don’t piss off some cultures. Tough job, I bet. I don’t suppose there’s a formula for that. Or should you care as long are your target market gets it?
    In the A+D world we have some clients who are global and we need to be very sensitive to their customers when they entertain and engage them in their office spaces. Think legal firm who deals with global customers whose cultural beliefs can be offended by the layout of space. Sounds rediculous but is a reality in this bsuiness.

  • Hi @aminaaltai great post. This relates to something my social media, marketing, and advertising peers hate for me to say. Since most businesses are small. and I bet more have store fronts than being virtual but this hold for virtual since your landing page is your store front. Your store front sign/landing page has way more power than any ad campaign, marketing effort, or social media endeavors to attract or repel business.

  • Glad to read this post in support of the much maligned logo. I cringe at the number of organizations, not even startups, who don’t understand the importance of having, and using a strong logo as the foundation of their branding. Well done.

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  • evelynrichmond210

    A business logo that a customer recognizes and relates to a brad in the
     blink of an eye, has better retention. A logo which is unique, simple and
    adaptable can create an emotional attachment with the customer. A perfect
    example is the Nike logo that invokes immediate recall of its brand. To read
    about memorable logos, go to