We are surrounded by them, most notably on our device home screens, every day.
When we start our own brand journey, it can feel like the only way to be successful is to have a perfectly designed icon for your product.
And, for a lot of founders, when we think brand, we think logo, right?
Well, yes and no.
While your logo is an important brand element, it's perfectly normal to invest more time and money in it later on. So all you need to start with is a functional logo that is recognisable, and that reflects your brand values.
Make it work in one colour
This is often overlooked initially, but there are a lot of instances where having a single colour logo is critical, especially at a smaller scale. So make sure that whatever you make, even if you have a multi-coloured version, there is a monotone one which works and is still able to be understood by the viewer.
Make sure it works at 20px high
Most of the time, your audience will see a logo in isolation in places like an avatar / profile picture, which are very very small! If you have a business name that is a long word, just having a text-based logo might not be very effective. Test it out at very small scales to ensure it can be seen and recalled even when only a few pixels tall.
Don't overcomplicate it
A logo doesn't need to communicate everything about your brand, just enough that it forms an idea and works with other assets like your colour palette, tone of voice, icons and illustration style to form the overall visual / verbal suite that makes up your unique positioning.
Allow yourself to iterate
All companies evolve. Think of Google or Instagram's first versions of their logo, even their whole platform. This is a great benchmark to understand how 'final' your assets actually need to be.
Mock it up on real things with context
When you're designing, make sure you do quick mockups of how it will actually look in its place on your website, a social media post or a blog article and your email signature, so you know it will definitely work and make sense.
I know it sounds obvious but if you are taking an icon or symbol from somewhere, double check whether you can actually use it - you don't want to get into a copyright battle later.
A few additional words of advice:
Don't focus too much on recognition and recall - your brand is too small for that right now. Make it reflect something about what you stand for. If you can't settle on something, try choosing a well crafted wordmark (a text-based logo) for now - you can always add a symbol later.
Remember that your brand is the overall experience your audience has of you — and that’s different for every person. Your job is to give them the most positive experience possible. That’s how they’ll remember you. Your brand is not your logo.
I've seen teams almost break up over the logo design. It's such an easy thing to spend mental energy on. But so far, I've found that teams who focus on their fundamental vision and alignment for the business will get much further. If you haven't nailed that, it's worth spending a little bit of time aligning those core values before you start trying to design. This is also how you'll ensure you're not accidentally making a logo that could be confused with a different brand!
So, does a logo need to cost you a lot to get it right? Absolutely not. Logos are a crucial part of the visual and verbal identity of your business, so you should spend a little bit of time making sure you're happy with them. BUT they are just one of the things that represents your brand, not the brand itself.
If you're not a designer, why not try an online logo generator as a starting point? They can be really helpful as a springboard even if you don’t use the exact designs you get from the generator. The team at Logology have a great product that bases the generated symbol from your values, which I think is a really wonderful experience. Try it out!
If you haven’t yet got your brand purpose / values, if you do need that bit of extra help, or you’d just like a chat, get in touch!