Your company is more than an inventory of products or services, an assemblage of people, a portfolio of offices, and standards of operations, procedures and ethics. Rather, it is a combination of all these things, a dynamic mix blended to create a truly singular entity.
It’s hard enough to try to describe who you are and what you do in simple terms. But when that responsibility falls to your corporate logos and taglines, they better be thoughtfully conceived and deftly executed. When two branding elements are charged with conveying so much information, it’s important to get them right.
Think about it: A logo mark can visually convey some or all of what we described above. Often, it does so without any words beyond the company name. The tagline, meanwhile, is nearly always a sentence – or a sentence fragment – and usually, it’s five words or less.
Let’s look at logos in more detail—their constituent elements; their overall purpose; and strategies for making them the best they can be.
The Anatomy of a Logo
It’s only one part of your overall brand; but your company’s logo tends to used most and provides the first impression.
First, some clarification is in order. Many people assume a logo is an image. It’s not. Actually, it’s a collection of design and copy elements that work seamlessly together to convey the essence of your brand. There are four primary elements of a logo:
- Company name
- Identity line
- Overall look/feel of your brand
Here’s a diagram of the current Skoda Minotti Strategic Marketing logo which illustrates these distinct elements:
The company name is pretty self-explanatory. This is the name of your company, and likely has been decided for some time.
If you’re considering a broader rebranding initiative, it could make sense to shorten the name of your company. This is especially true if your company is a professional services firm that includes two or more last names.
The identity line is perhaps the most overlooked – yet arguably the most important – element of a logo. Like many professional service firms, our company name by itself, Skoda Minotti, does not explain what we do. Augmenting it with an identity line helps to explain what we do to those unfamiliar with our firm. Notice our identity line, Strategic Marketing, which was included to provide a quick and accurate explanation of the services this particular firm practice provides. This is different than our firm’s broader corporate identity line, which is CPAs, Business & Financial Advisors. For our firm, our corporate logo and identity are intended to help people quickly understand that our services extend beyond traditional CPA services, and also include value-added business and financial advisory services. For our Strategic Marketing practice, we wanted a distinct identity line that clearly identifies this practice’s marketing-centric focus.
Does your company name by itself explain what it is that you do? What image of your firm do you want to portray when people first see your logo?
Outside of the company name, the most well-known element of a brand is likely its tagline. Of course, one could consider Nike’s Just Do It to be the most famous brand and tagline out there. This and other successful taglines provide a message around which companies can base all internal and external decisions, culture and communications (e.g., advertisements, proposals, blogs and internal communications).
A successful tagline and brand promise is able to provide one singular message around which the company is able to position its entire corporate identity.
Read another blog from our friends at HubSpot, which includes 14 catchy and successful examples of company taglines.
The Overall Look and Feel of Your Logo
In an earlier blog, I mentioned a few things to consider at the front end of a new logo design project. These considerations still hold true today:
- A logo should have a connection and association with the business image of the company or product it is representing
- It should be simple, short and be able to be used in a wide variety of applications. It should also be easy to remember and appear unique in a crowd of many others
- When designing a logo it is vital to design something that can “stand the test of time” and not require constant revisions.
- While complex multicolor logos can be “eye-catchers,” they are not very practical. Four-color process logos are more expensive to reproduce than spot color. And they do not transfer well in applications where production requirements need to be simplified (e.g., embroidered shirt, two-color / b & w collateral)
- When considering size and color it is best to select a design that can be easily reproduced and read when printed on brochures, business cards, letterheads or online
Now Ask Yourself…
- Does your logo give the impression that you bring modern, valuable, high-class solutions for your clients?
- Does the overall look and feel of your logo match the messaging and value proposition you wish to portray to your clients?
If your answer to either question is “No” or “Not really,” then consider a rebranding—and make sure to include logo development as a central part of that initiative.