Your logo isn’t just a pretty picture.
It is the foundation of your branding, marketing, stationary, office frontage and interior, packaging, uniforms…it will be everywhere and on everything.
That is why you:
- really need to like it,
- need to get it right because you will invest time, energy and money in it; changing it later is a nightmare – logistically and financially, and
- still need to be true to yourself.
The first five logo design and testing strategies below are what I implemented in creating the StartUp KickStart logo…the first attempt. StartUp KickStart is the offshoot of Snowed Under Solutions, created to help budding entrepreneurs find their way through the crazy maze of starting a company that they love.
- Design Brief – It doesn’t matter if you are going to DIY your logo or outsource it, having a Design Brief is vital. It helps you crystallise who it should appeal to, the message you want to convey and any logo ideas or specifics you have in mind. Access a free Design Brief template here that Graphic Designers love to receive! Having a detailed design brief helps avoid unnecessary work and frustration from both sides.
- Testing – Once you have a few designs, email them to some friends and associates who fall into the category of your ideal client. Explain how the logo will be used e.g. an e-commerce site, fashion labels, floral bouquets. Ask them which logo they prefer, if they have any suggestions or elements they like or dislike e.g. colour, font, style or positioning, and any other thoughts they have. DO NOT tell them which one you like because you will influence the results.
- Feedback – Thank them and assess all the feedback you received. Work with the graphic designer, if you are using one, to incorporate the ideas and suggestions. Narrow it down to three, as humans do better when having a choice of three (too many choices increase the fear of making the wrong decision).
- Re-Test – email the three final logos out and ask for their preferences. If you feel that you need to expand your test group, do so but make sure they are still in your target audience.
- The Consensus – hopefully the feedback will be unanimous or at least have a strong majority support.
That is the process I followed with an amazing result, 99% voted for this logo:
The above five steps is the process that should work, and does work, for most businesses. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the logo.
I tried to like it, I really did. I looked at the psychology behind the colours (absolutely perfect), the image (tied in with the message) and overall effect (bold, clear and easy to identify). The graphic designer had met the brief, but I couldn’t live with it. I would be the one who saw it every day, I would be using it in documents and I would be handing out my business card with it on. The dread had already set in and I wasn’t even using it yet!
It was time for a new approach:
- Start with what appeals – I went online and looked at different logos and images, and took note of what jumped out at me – colours, styles, fonts. I noticed there was a distinctive pattern, I was drawn to clever images where two items were blended, an organic feel, a bursting of ideas and inspiration, rainbow colours were magnetic! When I looked at the original logo, I couldn’t see past the green and yellow, every time I looked at it I saw an Australian sporting team. Just like the conversations we hear, the aromas we smell and the images we see, we interpret all of them through our experiences, memories and influences.
- Begin simply – the technique of the new designer, after discussing the design brief with me, was to send me a few pages of her doodling brainstorm. I picked out a couple of sketches, mashed a few elements together, made some suggestions and left it to her to take it from a sketch to a graphic. Until we narrowed down the basic design in black and white, the graphic designer wouldn’t move on to colour and fonts, saving wasted time and effort.
- You have to like it – I should have known better than to keep going with a design I didn’t love from the beginning. I wasted time and emotional energy on it and it was an unnecessary distraction. My StartUp Journal was dominated daily with logo laments and frustrations. If you don’t like it, don’t keep going with it. Adding colour to a design you don’t like, isn’t going to change your mind. It just leads you down a path you don’t want to go and you will spend time, money and energy agonising over it.
- Now test – once there are some options you like a lot, test them and listen to the feedback. There is no point in testing designs you really don’t like, because no matter what the feedback is, you will still be left with a design you don’t like, never did like and you will be the one who has to look at it every day.
- Feedback – If you can get people to articulate what they like about a logo, this is great. You may be surprised that it isn’t the logo itself, but the impression it gives e.g. it’s bold, it’s simple, it’s energetic. This can help guide any changes or tweaks that need to be made.
This is the result of that process:
Biggest StartUp Logo Lesson – Do not tell the graphic designer “I have no ideas or concepts for the logo” and then think they will automatically be in tune with what appeals to you. They don’t know your tastes and preferences, so you need to give the designer some parameters to work with e.g. angular, colourful, black & white, swirly, girlie, butch, kittens, mountains, purple. Give them an idea of what you like, let them do their creative thing and then stand back to watch the magic happen.
I would love to hear your logo and branding experiences. Or tells me if I could have done something else to streamline the logo design process!
If you need help working out the branding, image and personality of your business, please contact me and I can help you through the process. This way you can avoid all the pitfalls I discovered!
Wishing you all the best in creating a StartUp logo to KickStart your business.
Rebecca Collett, Founder of Snowed Under Solutions & StartUp KickStart
Access a free Design Brief template here that Graphic Designers love to receive because it makes their job easier and faster… making your job easier and faster!