Last week I met with a company on the verge of big things. I can’t talk about what they do because the legalities aren’t in place yet and I don’t want to be sued. The point is they’re on board with the importance of a great website. They just seemed to “get it.” I love working with companies that “get it.” Then they pulled out their business card with the company’s “logo” which they insisted we use. Ouch!
The Logo Police
In my previous life as the Web Production Manager at a promotional services firm, I worked with some big name companies. Each of them had strict brand guidelines – rules for how their logos should and should not be used. I’m talking about things like always maintaining a one inch each area of white space around the logo, never superimposing text or images over the logo, how to properly invert the colors when using the logo on a white or dark background. Why all the fuss? Because these companies (and eventually me too) understood the importance of branding. In fact most of these companies employed entire divisions whose job it was to make sure their logo was being used properly. We affectionately called them the logo police.
It’s About Psychology
Here’s how my handy pocket dictionary defines logo: n. a symbol used by a corporation, business or company as its emblem. Fine. Here is what a logo really is. It’s a visual expression of your company’s identity, core values and beliefs. It’s durable, flexible and transferable. You can put it on a golf ball, a coffee mug, a tee shirt or a hat. You can put it on anything anywhere. It travels well. It builds equity and power over time. The site of it evokes a visceral response. It makes people think about what it’s like to own your product, eat your food or drive your car. Think I’m overstating? Look at the logos in the box at the top of page. See what I mean?
Phil Knight, CEO of Nike after his first glimpse of the now famous swoosh
Back to my meeting last week. It seems the good folks at the company designed the “logo” themselves because they believed it depicted the essence of their newly patented process – and since they knew that process better than anyone else it followed, according to their logic, that they would be best qualified to design their logo. Logical but wrong.
- Think about the power and importance of your company’s logo and let an experienced, talented, professional designer design it for you. Hint: think Nike swoosh
- You’ve invested countless hours and had sleepless nights conceiving your business. Don’t get cheap when it comes to the symbol that will be the face of your business. Hint: spend less on that cushy leather chair and more on your logo
- Give it up. I know it’s hard but if you work with the right designer he/she will treat your ideas with respect. Hint: you have kids but they eventually leave
And Now Back to You
Are you happy with your logo? How important do you think it is? Am I making too big a deal out of it? Talk to me.