In the beginning was the Logo

For most small businesses, logos are given the “that’ll do” treatment—the resources and energies needed to devise a great branding (generally) pale in comparison with other more immediate and practical needs. And whereas a name and logo might not need the same level of consideration as your small business loan might, a great name and logo should not be underestimated in an image driven society such as ours. With more and more business sought out and generated online, the image and the letters that typify your enterprise is as visual and ubiquitous as ever—performing one’s ambassadorial duties if you will.

Social Media outlets have put the consumer in an arm length’s touch with the producers; a fact stated again and again each day in so many different ways. Yet these changes do drastically affect that relationship—and not only the business relationship (the goods and services rendered), but the branding of these goods and services as well. This point was well proven several months ago by the clothing company GAP when they attempted to change their logo by setting up a contest in which participants’ creations would be judged by consumers. In a hapless sequence of events, an obscenely flat and tasteless GAP logo was chosen only to be ridiculed by consumers and the media alike. In order to put an end to the vituperative comments, Gap acted as if the contest never happened and hid behind their original logo.

The prevalence of Social Media provides businesses with valuable information about what might make their sales tank on the one hand, but on the other hand however, sometimes the availability of this information can contribute to those tanking sales. Using the Gap logo contest as an example: once several negative posts appeared about Gap’s logo, the hate mail starting coming in, encouraging others to do voice their two cents’ worth; all this to say that the logo and messaging choice is a quite delicate and tricky endeavor.

I am convinced that simplicity and functionalism prove to be the most effective branding strategies—particularly if you do not have the means to hire a top notch designer. Anytime I am in public with a good friend of mine who works for an established design firm in Seattle, I get to/have to hear about the atrocities committed in the name of design and business. Generally these logos and labels bight off more than will tastefully fit in the mouth. A clean, simple font goes a long way toward being positively recognizable—the primary intent.

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