If you think your logo is the most important part of your brand, you're not alone. Most people focus on creating a cool logo and miss what’s actually needed to turn it into a badass logo that people recognize and love.
Nike: The Goddess of Victory
Case in point: Nike. When we think of Nike, we think of the swoosh. So it’s no surprise that most people equate the power of a brand with the power of the logo.
I mean, what a brilliant logo, right? WRONG! Sure, there’s a story behind the shape of the logo, but people don’t buy Nike because of the swoosh. The logo is brilliant only because of the behemoth brand that backs it up. Apparently a student designed the swoosh for $35 in 1971—what a steal! But it wasn’t really a steal. Nike made that logo brilliant by positioning the company in the market, and then pumping cash into smart advertising campaigns over decades. The swoosh might as well be some weirdo abstract creature that has nothing to do with what it’s selling, like the mermaid on the Starbucks logo. It’s iconic because the brand made it iconic.
The logo is only one small part of the brand. Yes, a bad logo can hurt your business. And a brilliant logo that makes people stop and think, “Hey, that’s cool,” will have customers think about you for an extra millisecond.
But a logo does not a brand make. On the other hand, a great brand can make a plain logo seem absolutely brilliant.
"That Was Way Harsh, Tai"
Why are we being so harsh on logos? After all, we love designing badass logos, and it’s fun to come up with a smart logo that encapsulates the brand’s essence into a single mark that, over time, the consumers will recognize sans the company name. That’s pretty cool, and that’s what all businesses want.
We’re being harsh because we don’t want you to spin your wheels on getting the perfect logo in lieu of building the brand that’s actually going to make that logo sing.
What’s a logo? A mark that represents your company.
What’s a brand? The reason your logo has any meaning at all. It’s the value, feeling, and personality of your company that your logo will come to represent if you market the brand consistently over time.
A logo without a brand is just another mark.
So what makes a good logo? The brand behind it. Go ahead: Put effort into a logo you can be proud of. But don’t do it if you’re not going to put ten times the effort into a brand that’s going to make it work for you. Stop spending time on your logo, and start spending time on your brand: your logo will thank you.