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Awesome First Impressions

By Caitlin Ewing

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How a great logo design can help your business make a meaningful connection

A logo is a visual mark, representing a brand that is often composed of graphics and text. Whether you’re a start-up or a business with a rich history, chances are, you have a one. It can be traditional or contemporary, literal or abstract. It’s often the most recognizable element in your identity. It might also be the first glimpse of your brand that your audience gets; whether it’s on a billboard, website, truck, television commercial, brochure or a print advertisement. That initial exposure is like being introduced to someone for the first time. You only have one chance to make an awesome first impression.

Don’t ruin a good first impression with a bad logo.

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It’s been said many times that the logo is the face of a brand. So, putting your logo in front of potential customers is just as important as meeting one of them face to face. You’ll probably want to put your best foot forward and make positive connection. The window to capture their attention is relatively small, so the more you can accomplish initially, the better. Your logo alone won’t build a relationship, but it can draw them in and allow enough time for them to get to know you.

Say you were getting ready to go meet someone new; maybe it’s a blind date, parent-teacher conference, client meeting, etc. How would you present yourself?

2a) Roll out of bed and leave the house in your pajamas…

b) Adorn neon leggings and a Members Only jacket you wore to college in the 80s…

c) Birthday suit, all the way…

d) Take a shower and put some clean clothes appropriate for the occasion…

I hope you answered ‘d’, but to each their own.

The point is, even if you’re prepared to communicate perfectly, a new acquaintance could be completely thrown off by your appearance. This could happen before you even open your mouth. We all learn not to judge a book by its cover, but it’s hard to ignore something that seems completely out of place. Uninspired or inappropriate logo design can have the same effect on your brand.

People can have genuine connections to brands, just like we do with other humans. It can be based on a feeling, shared principles or any other element that we can identify with personally.

We can look deep into a brand’s swirling abyss of a soul and see a reflection of ourselves staring back. Ok, maybe that’s a bit existential. Maybe instead, we connect with our brand of granola cereal, because it subconsciously reminds us of the rural mountain town where we were raised. The brand feels like home and inspires a sense of comfort and warmth. This is a real connection that can exist.

Making a good first impression can earn you the attention of your audience. It can also plant the seed for trust. That trust can lead to a connection, and then a sale, and more importantly, a relationship.

Leave your company’s identity up to the professionals.

When establishing or re-envisioning an identity for your company, a fresh logo is the best place to start. Other messaging and graphics will typically accompany it, but the logo is the one constant. It should be carefully crafted and built on the personality and aspirations of your business, with a consideration for the taste of your audience. Starting with a strong logo design and building the identity outward creates a sense of cohesiveness throughout the brand. You might think that this is only important for large companies with tons of exposure, but the truth is, it can be equally beneficial for businesses of all sizes. 

Unfortunately, all logos are not created equal. Your best bet is to work with a professional, or at least someone with artistic training and marketing sense. If you’re serious about your business, then invest in your brand. Care for it, like you care for yourself.

You might find yourself saying…

3“But, my 16 year old nephew knows how to use Photoshop, and I don’t even have to pay 
him!” or “Mary in HR has some sick PowerPoint skills. I bet she could design a great logo!”

Don’t get me wrong, your nephew might be a Photoshop wizard, and I bet Mary’s presentation designs are the bee’s knees. But think about it…would you trust a non-plumber to do your plumbing or an accountant to build an addition onto your house? The answer should be, “Probably not”. So, why would you leave your company’s identity in the hands of a non-designer?

Just because you can arrive at a design that you think looks cool, doesn’t mean that it will5 be able to connect with your customers. It’s important to know that some things can be completely appropriate for one business and the opposite for another. Are your colors, typography and graphics appropriate for your industry? There are lots of little details to consider that are probably best left in the hands of people who passionately do this for a living. 

Tips for maximum awesomeness

The prospect of branding a startup or rebranding an existing company can be intimidating. It can be equally intimidating to hire a stranger/designer to trust with your brand/heart/soul. If you decide to take that leap, here are some tips to remember:

61) Keep an open mind! The best way to go into the design process is to be open to new ideas. The designers will be entrusted with the task of bringing your visions to reality, but they also will share some ideas and considerations of their own. Open collaboration will always produce the best results. Trust your designer. They’re job is to make you happy, not to work against you.

2) Communicate clearly. What is the personality of your brand? How you would like it to make people feel? What ideas and feelings do you want to stay away from? Saying, ”I don’t know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it”, is a bad way to kick-off a project. Shooting in the dark normally results in lots and lots of rounds and a blown budget. You don’t have to know exactly what you’re looking for, but tips about what you like and don’t like are infinitely helpful.

3) Arrive at a design that will do its job. First round design concepts are full of thoughtful research and great ideas from both parties. From there, each additional round narrows down the concepts and refines them into something that everyone can be proud of.

As designers, we’ll make whatever revisions you ask of us. But, think before you say, “ I really love this concept, but I think it might look better with a picture of my cat in it.” We’ll warn you that it might not be the best idea, and you’re degrading the original concept. But, ultimately, it’s you decision. Try to take a step back and understand where the concern is coming from. We know you love your cat. We love cats, too. But, will it help sell your legal services?4

There are lots of things to consider when embarking on the logo design process; these
basic ideas should get you on your way!­

Give them something to remember.

Remember, the point is to make a meaningful connection with your customers. The gateway to that connection is through a great first impression. To nail that first impression, you’ll need an inspired logo. If this sounds appealing, partner with a designer, and create something awesome.

 

 

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