Getting your logo right is a key part of any brand. It's what your audience will see first, so it's crucial to make a good impression right from the off. We've designed dozens and dozens of logos over the years, so we feel we are in a pretty decent place to give guidance when it comes to creating the right look and feel to really tell a brand's story and capture a feeling.
It's really important to emphasise that the logo is just one element of the branding to consider. What is vitally important in our eyes is what you stand for – you can have a great name and well-crafted logo but it's what's underneath that matters the most and communicating this through every element of you that people see.
Take our name, Raw, as an example. People have said to us over the years that they like our name, but what they really like is our work and our ethos as a company. The name and logo is just the cherry on the top. If we created crappy work then we'd be thought of as a crappy design agency, regardless of our logo. Our true identity is made up of many strands; our craftsmanship, being ideas-led, our collaborative nature, building great relationships and our ethical ethos which is all shaped by the people behind our company.
On the ethical side of things, one thing we are excited about is seeing more businesses being created which want to help make things truly better in a meaningful way. This desire to create something that solves a problem in the world or someone who offers a service to help people is happening now more than ever. It's great to see people and companies looking beyond just improving their bottom line. Instead, they have that burning desire to be of service in someway and these are the sort of companies we often tend work with as that's what our own brand represents.
Brand as an extension of you
Right then, back to your actual brand and where to start. Well, it helps to think of your brand as an extension of you. How do you want to be perceived in the world? What do you stand for? This applies to one-person companies as much as it does to a company with a large team.
Reshaping an iconic football club
We often help companies understand this. Take Wolves for instance when we worked on their brand refresh. They had been a well-established football club for decades, winning trophies and playing in Europe in times gone by. Yet when we took a closer look at their visual identity it actually lacked a true identity, there was little consistency with the message they were putting out and their stadium was crying out for some expression of who they truly were. They had a rich history so it was our aim to pull on that history, make it a core part of the brand but get the balance right by looking ahead with the great potential the club has.
Due to the size of this project, we spent a couple of months really understanding the club, interviewing everyone from the chairman to the tea lady to a whole bunch of fans to get a sense of what it meant to be a part of this club. This shaped everything we did, we created everything from their viewpoint. We became Wolves fans for the entirety of this project (and to this day they are still my second team, after Liverpool of course) and we made sure our extended team (photographers, installers etc.) felt this way as well.
The interesting thing with the Wolves brand project was we actually changed everything but the actual logo mark. This was so strong and protected by the fans and Wolves family, but everything else around it needed to be brought up to that standard so this was our focus. And to this day it's turned out to be one of our most successful projects, and fortunately for us, the Wolves fans were very happy with the work we did (which hasn't been the case for many other football clubs down the years when they've attempted a brand refresh).
Giving a nod to the past
The Co-op did a great job when it rebranded a few years ago, reviving its 1968 logo. Often companies can end up chopping and changing their logo over the years, sometimes for change's sake rather than for the actual benefit of the brand. So it was refreshing to see the design team behind this creating a modernised version of the 1968 cloverleaf logo, which has been designed as a visual reminder of the company’s roots.
Memorable and meaningful
An important part of any logo is it must be recognisable. So whatever logomark you create its structure has to be identifiable to the user on first glance. Apple does a very good job at this and one rule of thumb for a great logo is could you quickly sketch it out with relative ease. Most of us could do that with Apple, the same goes for the swoosh from Nike and the arches of McDonalds. That is when you truly are onto a winner if you've managed to keep it stored in people's memory. It also helps that these brands are plastered all over the world so that's going to make a big difference too, but still, these ones stand out because they are so well crafted and structurally sound.
Trust and consistency
One of our favourite logos we've created is for Mother Hub which formed part of NHS Derby and Derbyshire'a maternity care initiative. This was a brand created from scratch and these are the ideal projects for us, allowing us to shape all areas of the identity. Which, to be honest, is a real privilege especially for a project making a positive impact in the world.
As with our comments above about making it recognisable, we were able to capture what it is on first glance, which was crucial since this was a new brand that would be competing in an area that is full of similar services and blogs. So whether the audience are seeing this in a Facebook advert or in a piece of print they will get a sense of what it is straight away.
Another key element of a great logo is it must be functional as it's most likely going to be used across many different things, in busy visual environments. Whether it's blown up large on the side of a building or appears on a postage stamp, you want to be sure it not only looks good but it's legible no matter the format. If it's too complex then it's just not going to stand the test of time.
Once you get the core identity right you can have all sorts of fun with it - bringing it to life through animation is a great way to give greater expression to what it is you are attempting to convey with your brand.
Another key component is getting the mood right. Often this comes through the chosen colour palette, extended graphics and photography, but the actual feel to the logo plays a big role in this. Are you looking to come across as a warm and honest company? Not only choosing the right name and typeface is important but it's key that the logo mark itself embodies this.
As you can see, many things need to be considered when creating the right logo for your company. It's just one of a handful of things you want to get right, whether you are launching a new product or are deciding to rebrand your existing company.
Creating a well-crafted and thought out logo is something we strongly believe can add value to any business - that's why we love creating them alongside our clients.
* For those interested in our name Raw, well this was given to me at birth. It's made up of my initials. Always a nice talking point with new clients!