Logos are the first thing you think of when starting a new business. Often people come to us to have a new logo designed for a start up business. This is the first thing people think of and I sometimes wonder if they spend more time thinking about the logo design than they do their marketing plan. When we come up with a concept for them many times they tell us that people won’t be able to look at the icon we created and know what their business is about. This is when we have to remind them they will not start a business with a logo and nothing else. The logo design will appear on business cards, brochures, trade show displays and a website. They may also decide to use TV advertising to promote their business and the logo will appear in all TV commercials as well. Each part of the marketing collateral will explain what the business is all about.
We like to create a simple icon and people will sometimes tell us “that design is so simple I could have done it myself” and of course they couldn’t have done it themselves. It is still true that we do want the icon we create to be very simple because that is the only way people will recognize and remember the icon we create. Simplicity is a great thing and I’ll prove it to you. Think about a logo that is so simple it is only a check mark. You know this brand that makes running shoes. No complex description is needed because the design is so simple that every time you see it you instantly know the brand that is represented by that icon.
Here are some logo design examples. These logo designs were not made by our designers. We are showing these logos to point out what a logo should NOT be. A logo should NOT look like something related to a specific business. This is a common mistake small and new business owners make. They often assume that the logo must let people know what the business is about but this is not the case as shown in these well known examples.
Please notice that in the banking logo design examples above we don’t see bags of money, stacks of money, safety deposit boxes or vaults. The little icons used appear to have nothing to do with banking at all.
In the automotive logo design examples above there are no logos that look like cars. If we use our imagination maybe the black part of the BMW logo looks like a car tire but maybe that was never their intention. If you had never seen any of these logos before in your life you would have a difficult time trying to guess what business category they represent.
These restaurant logo design examples have nothing to do with pictures of food or restaurants. The first logo appears to be a game called Dominoes and it is only the fact that the word “Pizza” appears in the logo that causes us to know that this is related to food. The IHOP logo without the word “Restaurant” in the logo would leave us guessing what this logo is about. The famous golden arch of McDonald’s is recognized around the world but a big gold “M” has nothing to do with hamburgers. The last logo in this group is not for a manufacturer of bells.
In these oil industry logos if any one of these gas stations just opened up in your town for the first time today until you saw the gas pumps you would have no idea what type of business any of these represent. We would never guess what any of these logos are for except for the fact that we have already heard of these businesses.
When we point out examples like the ones above some small business owners and people starting a business for the first time will tell us, “Sure that works for them because they have millions of dollars for advertising but I don’t, that’s why my logo needs to let people know about my business”. We still insist that it is a mistake to try and make your logo let people know what type of business you have. We have brochures and websites to let people know what your business is all about.
A logo for your business needs to do only two things:
- Be easy to recognize.
- Be memorable.