(AK.A….why is everyone spending beaucoup bucks on this thing??)
Don’t get me wrong—logos are great, beautiful things. If you have one, cool. I hope you’re getting your money’s worth out of it. But if you don’t have one, don’t fret. It doesn’t need to be the first thing you spend money on, and it doesn’t have to be the centerpiece of your branding.
Here’s why logos aren’t as important as you think they are.
**Disclaimer: This post applies to most content-driven online brands who are marketing through social media, newsletters, and shareable online content. Some businesses absolutely do need amazing logos. If you’re starting an app, for instance, opening a brick-and-mortar shop, or creating retail-ready branded products, these are instances where your logo is your first impression or most recognizable marketing tool and you should definitely invest in one**
If your logo is the only piece of branding that you paid for, you’ll likely feel like you’re in a position to use it everywhere. It’s the only thing that tells people who the heck you are, after all! This is dangerous because in a world of content marketing, where your message and how you help people should be Numero Uno, your logo will appear distracting and will make your content appear overly-branded. Instead of showing your audience how you’ll help them, you’ll make them feel like you’re constantly posting information about yourself.
If you’re a smart content marketer, you’re using your message to attract people, not your logo. So you’re either choosing to leave your logo off of Instagram posts and Pinterest pins (opting to just include a simple URL at the bottom instead), or you’re using your logo really small so that your content is branded, but not hyper-branded.
If 90% of the branded stuff you’re producing is content that only uses your logo in a tiny space—if at all—why did you spend so much money on fancy artwork that’s not even visible? This is why I love simple typeface marks in place of intricate logos. They’re always readable, and they let your content do the talking.
Your logo is important for your website and social media avatars, but…that’s kind of it. Time to fall back on better branding components, like your colors, your fonts, and your voice, to do the brand lifting for you.
I can’t let this post go by without making a note on fancy, intricate logos, in general. Those highly designed icons, or those watercolor illustrations or artsy calligraphic touches—they’re all stinking gorgeous. But they’re so hard to use on anything except your website, where it can live large and in charge (and in full color!). Why make your life harder, especially when clients nowadays are only on your website once? I have one client who reached out to me to redesign and simplify her logo because it was so intricate, it could never print legibly on her products. I’ve had other clients who struggled to print their logo on t-shirts or emboss it on stationery because it was never designed to be used in any application other than on their website.
So let’s recap: Logos are important. Having one that you use consistently shows customers that you’re a legitimate business and that you’re willing to invest in customer experience. Plus, hey, they’re memorable! But, keep in mind before you spend your dollars on them: if you’re not going to get mileage out of it, consider investing in brand style guidance instead (or in addition to logo design). In brand style guidance, you’ll learn how to use colors, fonts, photography, and graphic styles to create endless visuals for your content that are always recognizable and always serve your customer first.
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