Golden arches, a green mermaid, an apple—these all evoke distinctive feelings and unequivocal associations. What are the secrets to logo success and how does your brand stack up?
Lead with strategy
Like living creatures, logos are born, interact, and evolve, but cannot succeed in a vacuum. To be effective, logos need to be used in the right place at the right time and used with the right frequency. At Yes&, we see logos as a signature, a proud certification of our clients’ values. A good logo is a unique value proposition that helps differentiate a brand in a crowded world, while working within the system of rules and recommendations that make up that overall brand.
In the process of logo ideation, artistic and technical prowess is carefully balanced with behavioral analysis, psychology, marketing strategy, and latest trend research. This provides all the necessary ingredients that are then summed up in a thorough and engaging creative brief to serve as a North Star for the team, establishing a path forward for creative development.
Let the creative juices flow
Rough sketching is the initial step in the execution process and allows us to give life to our initial ideas, without many design constraints or the pixel-level perfection warranted by creative software.
Ideas flow visually from drawing to drawing: some get erased frantically, others grow, others spark new ideas. At first, color is limited to the dark grey of the pencil’s graphite and strokes vary depending on the desired outcome. At times, geometric shapes taken from specially-crafted rulers or everyday objects are used to give artificial, blueprint-like boundaries to the designs. Throughout this process, whole canvases of ideas start taking form and some sketches emerge as strong contenders for the next phase: validation and story creation.
Rough sketching is like playing football in an unmarked field. Design validation uses the creative brief to define boundaries and yard lines, evaluating how close we can inch toward a touchdown. Any designs that stray beyond the defined lines are not scrapped, but instead become integral parts of the story behind the logo evolution, and may be developed further.
A visual map of the progression of early sketches on paper now informs the creative pitch for each design.
Collaborate and iterate
Following the football metaphor,strategists, creative leads, and subject matter experts serve as referees and coaches, helping to refine the drawings.
Through this collaborative process, the artists now have a handful of options that are “on brief” and that will benefit from the precision of design software to come to life. Drafts of the sketches are subject to meticulous crafting as the free flow of a pencil switches to the more precise vector lines of a mouse or stylus.
Spread your wings and fly
Once design is finalized, the life of a logo has only just begun. It must be put through various, rigorous tests in order to weather a long lifetime.
Logos need to be able to adapt—and at times, evolve. We need to make sure that they can scale for mobile devices, look crisp and distinctive on billboards, work on paper and on screen, and ultimately pass the test of time by always being relevant and unique. These considerations take some subjectivity out of the decision-making process, applying real-world scenarios backed by data (both quantitative and qualitative) to guide us toward a final decision.
The true success of a logo is determined by its use in the right place, at the right time, and with the right frequency. Once there is consensus on the design, brand guidelines establish these parameters, providing all the direction needed for a logo to stay true to its original intent.
A well-designed and implemented logo is a signature that represents and certifies its brand, while bringing awareness to the brand’s values and unique propositions.