Whenever we see a logo we instantly recognise the company behind the logo and this is very true for so many big brands out there. Many of us instantly recognise the sweeping tick of Nike, the F of Facebook or the little bird of Twitter. What about Apple? Fast food chains? Sports clubs? Everywhere you go, look and every device you use you are inundated with logos of brands. To be recognised by people in this instant way is what all companies are looking to achieve and will do or pay just about anything to do so. It’s the holy grail for all businesses.
Big Multinational companies pay millions to get their logos designed and smaller companies pay hundreds of thousands of dollars on a logo design. Why? A good logo gains meaning and power over time. A good logo is enough to make your company instantly recognisable and that is why companies are willing to pay such huge amounts – for that Instant recognition.
Take the UK oil group BP, they spent a whopping £4.6 million just to design the logo, while the overall cost of the rebranding came in at £136 million.
The replacement of the old ‘shield’ logo with the new one was designed specifically to promote BP’s position as an environmental leader and its goal of moving beyond the petroleum sector, as the company began to invest in alternative energy. The stylised sunflower symbolises the sun’s energy, while the colour green reflects the brand’s environmental sensitivity.
Take the Citibank logo which was designed in 1998 by well-known designer Paula Scher. The bank paid $1.5 million for this design which was part of a near-$10 million for the branding as a whole.
What was controversial is the logo they received was based on a sketch Scher did on the back of napkin during their first meeting in around 10 minutes.
“My best work is kind of big, bold strokes that come very quickly,” Scher explains in this video interview. “And it’s problematic because a lot of clients like to ‘buy process’ and they don’t think they’re getting their money’s worth, like I sold it too fast. ‘How can it be that you talk to someone and it’s done in a second?’ But it is done in a second – and 34 years.”
Drawing on those 34 years of experience meant that Scher could sidestep months of ‘process’ and produce the perfect basis for a logo design in an instant. The economic value of a logo design lies not in how long it took to produce, but how well it works.
Back in the autumn of 2010 GAP unveiled a new logo, switching from writing its name in upper case to lower case letters, and introducing a small blue square behind the letter “p”.
There was so much public outcry that a week later Gap did U-turn and scrapped the change. Gaps original logo was loved but it seemed like the company did not know it.
A good logo:
Spend time on your logo as it’s the first thing that people see; it’s the look of your company and it’s going to reflect what you do. The logo is how people recognise you, and it helps express how you’re different from your rivals. A logo is a simple and functional signpost to help people find and identify your business. But for a logo to be successful, the company behind it must be a respected and trusted brand.
The essentials to a good business logo:
- it must be appropriate to the business
- it must be memorable
- it must be uncomplicated in form
- the concept must be original