Branding Terms Defined: Logo
It seems like I shouldn’t have to define it. Everyone knows what a Logo is.
The problem is that not everyone has a good logo.
Believe it or not, the term “logo” has only been used since the 1930s. It appears to be a shortening of the word Logogram. And it simply (originally) meant “a sign or character representing a word”.
We’re bombarded with marketing messages every day. Many experts think it’s close to 3000. In order for any of them to register in our heads, something has to draw us in. And that’s why a “visual” is needed. We’re a visual society! Yes, we read words, but visuals attract our attention faster than most words.
So how would I define a logo?
It’s a simple, unique symbol (or stylized wordmark) that is so closely attached to a “brand” that it represents it.
It is not a brand, however. A lot of people assume that when we refer to a brand, we’re talking about its logo. A logo represents the brand, it isn’t their brand. It can be a symbol with words, a wordmark that incorporates a design element, or simply a stylized font.
- Simple. If a middle school student can’t draw a recognizable sketch of your logo from memory, it’s too complex. Think about the global top brands… Apple, Google, IBM, McDonalds, Microsoft, etc. They all have ultra simple logos. Bad logos typically “try” too hard, have too many elements, or are too obscure in design. A great logo looks amazing as a black and white design — it shouldn’t rely on color or grey scale (those are illustrations, not logos).
- Unique. Your logo can’t look like another memorable brand or it will be confusing. It needs to represent your uniqueness. Your personality, your product. If you’re a church; you don’t need a cross in your logo. People understand that a church represents the cross, but it’s hard to make it simple/unique when a cross is a dominant design. And if you buy a cheap symbol from a website, I can guarantee that you won’t have something unique.
- Professional. Please get a professional to design it in a graphic program (so you can have a vector version). This is the most foundational design of your organization. It needs to be good. Really good. Because it represents the quality of everything you do. Unless you want to look like a “volunteer-quality” organization.
Your logo will work hard. It’ll be on everything you do. Make sure you LOVE it. It should be able to work on any application, small and large. You deserve a great logo; because you’re doing a great ministry!