Conventional wisdom will no doubt disagree with the headline you’ve just read before clicking through to this article. “Of course you need to like your logo!” you’re thinking. “Joe doesn’t know what he’s talking about! Also, his beard could use a trim!”
While this reaction is totally understandable (on both counts), it’s important to remember that the value of your logo is less about your tastes and more about your goals. A logo needs to be a lot of things: it should be visually pleasing, memorable, and it needs to quickly and simply communicate who you are. It should convey a key message about your company.
You really don’t have to like it – but your customers do.
This is true for any branding, promotional material or communications piece. You may find illustrations of dogs in shark costumes amusing, but that doesn’t make a good logo for your accounting firm.
Ideally, you’ll end up with a logo or promotional material that you like as much as your customers — but you need to set aside your own personal taste for the good of your company. You need to always be designing and communicating for your target audience, which means making research driven decisions.
Start by creating an ideal customer profile. That — coupled with your business plan, mission statement, industry, geographic and competitive landscape research — forms a good base for starting to design a brand.
Any marketing or branding you put out in the world absolutely needs to communicate and resonate with your target audience. What are these people looking for in your business? What distinguishes you in your customer’s mind from your competition?
Having an ideal customer profile allows you make decisions quicker with creative materials. It allows you to plot a course. You can likely very easily say what the design shouldn’t be, and what message it should have or feeling it should evoke.
It also gives a reason for the choices being made. A lesson that I learned early in my career is to never make a design choice solely because you like the way something looks. You need a reason for why you made that choice. Having an ideal customer profile in your arsenal of research is a powerful tool to help guide the development of creative projects like logo design.
Personal biases are hard to separate when dealing with creative projects. Always remember: a logo is not a piece of art you’re commissioning to hang in your house. It has a purpose. If a designer or marketing expert is disagreeing with your choice to change the font or add a dog in a shark costume, they’re likely advocating on behalf of your target audience. By trying to make a logo you love the look of rather than one that’s effective, you’re harming your future business.
Trust your research and your audience when making choices about your brand.