4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before A Logo Redo
When you first started your business, your logo was good enough. After all, you were using the backseat of your car to hand deliver orders to customers, you had no website or online store at all, and had five posts on your Instagram account. But now you have an online presence, a real label on your product, and ship orders out every week. Your simple logo design, put together with clip art and font that seemed trendy at the time, just doesn’t convey your brand and your message anymore.
You make the decision that it’s time to change your logo up. Whether you decide to work with a graphic designer or you make the changes yourself, having a clear direction in mind for the design and how it will be used within the framework of your business will eliminate a lot of trial and error and the possibility of ending up with a generic, impersonal logo.
There are four questions you should ask yourself before contracting design work or starting on a logo revamp yourself. Having the answers to these questions will give you the ability to clearly communicate or visualize your specific needs, allowing you and your designer (if you decide to go that route) to envision the finished product.
Question 1: What are some characteristics that make my business unique?
A while back, I designed a logo for some clients who forage and then market wild harvested mushrooms. Their business is all about nature, with a unique product that quite literally comes from the earth. To capture this earthiness, the resulting logo featured a simple earth-toned color scheme, a sketch of a wild mushroom, and distressed text.
Before approaching a designer or beginning the design process yourself, ask yourself if there are singular characteristics inherent to your operation that could be a focus of design. For example, perhaps you raise an uncommon breed of livestock with specific coloring that differentiates you from other producers. Maybe you and your spouse and two children are responsible for running the business, in which case you may want to feature the family element in your logo. Potentially, your livestock brand or a definitive landmark (such as a mountain) on or around your property might serve as a focus of design. There are many ways to add elements to a design that are unique to your business and brand; brainstorm sessions are a great way to come up with ideas.
Ultimately, you want elements that are specific to you. These distinct elements, when applied to a design, will generate a logo that is a custom fit for your brand.
Question 2: How will my logo be used?
Are you planning to create merchandise for your brand in the future? If so, a simple logo will translate much more readily to that application. Especially when it comes to hats, shirts, and transfer stickers, a complicated design with a lot of components and textures won’t show up well. For a crisp, eye catching, and professional appearance in your merchandise, a very stylized (think basic shapes and silhouettes) design is the way to go.
Another side to this question relates to where you will be using your logo. If you’ll be using your logo integrated into product packaging, on social media, and on merchandise, a badge (circular) logo could be a great choice. Badge logos are very trendy right now but can still be quite timeless if well done. That being said, if you want to use your logo as a large header image on your website or as a letterhead on paperwork, a rectangular composition may be a better option. If you can envision a logo design of either shape working well for your needs and you are not designing the logo yourself, you might want to just leave this decision up to your designer. A bit of creative freedom is always welcome to a design professional!
Question 3: Should I go black and white or have color on my logo?
You see black and white logos everywhere these days, and for good reason. The best argument for a black and white logo is price point. A black and white logo is generally much more affordable to print. Furthermore, a well thought out two-color logo is clean and timeless and shows up well on merchandise.
On the other hand, if you plan to market your product in retail outlets, a color logo (and label for that matter), is worth some consideration. Customers are attracted to color. A full color design tends to catch the eye and is better able to stand out in a retail case full of competitors’ products. One note of caution: even if you are using color, keep the design simple. A busy design is off putting for customers and looks dated very quickly.
Ultimately, this decision comes down to where you envision your business going in the future and where you want to market your products.
Question 4: How do I even figure out what design style I like?
When my clients contract a logo design, I first put together a Pinterest board with inspiration and I share it with them. That way, I can establish a direction and feel for the logo prior to beginning work on the layout, which is especially useful for clients who don’t provide a lot of specifications with regards to the style they like. Although I do this for my clients as part of the design process, another design professional may not typically work this way. It could be helpful to approach a designer having already determined the style you like by doing some of your own visual research.
Before beginning on your logo design or approaching a graphic designer to create one for you, make a Pinterest account (if you don’t have one already) and put together a board with 5-10 logo designs that you really like. Obviously, your logo shouldn’t be a copy of those that you pin, but a board is a great starting point to help you determine what you want in a logo. You can share that board (or a screenshot of it) with your designer, expediting the design process by eliminating a lot of back and forth to communicate your individual style preferences. Ultimately, you or your designer will be able pick and choose some characteristics of those logos, re-imagining them in a different way and combining them to generate a design that is personal to your brand.
Working through the logo design process, whether you are doing it yourself or with the help of a professional, can be a frustrating process without a clear direction. The above questions will help you determine your wants and needs for your logo prior to starting the design process.