We are subconsciously flooded with iconic brands and memorable graphics on a daily basis. We form relationships, build memories, and base decisions on and with these brands. In today's market of saturated competition for a given audiences attention, new and upcoming companies try to recreate that same feeling starting with their image, their logo. So what makes a logo become a brand?
It all starts with a logo and how a company represents and defines itself from that logo. This is the hard part … the designer's job is to create a graphic image that defines and/or sums up the personality of a company; giving it the ability to stand-alone.
In the case of a start-up company who hasn't yet discovered it's personality, the project switches to creating that unique personality through graphic representation. The logo then becomes the starting point and reminder for what it means to be a part of that company. Here are some questions to ask your client when creating a logo from scratch.
- 1. What kind of message, feeling, and/or atmosphere do you want to convey to your target audience about your business?
- 2. Who is your target audience and what their demographic range?
- 3. Who are your competitors and what will you offer or want to offer that is different?
- 4. What current logos/brands, competitors included, appeal to you and why?
- What kinds of imagery do you think best reflect your products/services?
In the case of a re-branding project it's a little more difficult in that the designer needs to first build a relationship with the current identity in order to learn what needs to change and how. The designer needs to be comfortable enough with the current brand so they can "tear it apart" carefully and strategically. What makes a good client to designer relationship at this point is how the designer handles the critically stage of re-evaluation. Here are some questions you (the designer) should ask yourself and the client during this delicate stage of a rebrand.
First and foremost, the client needs to think about, why they are rebranding and what they want to achieve with a rebranding?
From the designer's perspective, the answer to this question can't be all visual, i.e. don't like the color, or they are simple bored with it. It needs to be rooted in market strategy, i.e. trying to reach a new market or introduce new products, and/or your current brand doesn't affect your client base (client: you can ask those that are comfortable enough with you their thoughts on a rebranding, keep in mind not to ask what they think about the current logo…)
- 1. Who, what and why do you think a rebranding is necessary
- 2. How much will the finish project cost?
Full commitment to a successful re-brand requires revamping elsewhere, painting, new signage, new business cards, new décor, re-opening, and potentially a marketing campaign to re-introduce yourself.
- 3. What is the goal for the new brand? Where is it going and where do you want it to go?
- 4. How can the brand raise awareness and how long do you expect to see the fruits of your
- labor … How will the brand increase ROI (return on investment)?
In summing all this up, your logo becomes a brand when the people that represent it believe in it. I once had a client tell me during a restaurant branding project, that he finally started to see the bigger picture once he saw the logo. Hearing that was the moment I began to feel the success of the project, even though the project had seemingly just started. The design gave him something to believe in for the long haul. As for the designer, if you can create an image that someone can be confident in the rest is up to the audience to create the brand.
Please leave your comments if you felt this article was helpful or useful in anyway. I'd love the feedback!