What’s In a Name?

Qualities of Good Logo Design & Choosing an Effective Brand Name

People buy from you over your competition because they like your story. That story is your brand. Your brand is what your customers and potential customers think, feel, and see about you. Your brand includes not just the story you tell, but the actions of your company, what others say about it, and what kinds of relationships your company cultivates. Your brand identity is the story that you convey about your company, a story told through visual identity and consistent messaging.

 

An effective brand identity, in everything from the logo to the messaging, should be unique, memorable, consistent, and it should resonate with the audience. Your visual identity is the design of your brand identity, such as logos, typefaces, color palettes; art and copy used in ads, social media posts, collateral such as brochures, vehicle wraps, building signage, etc. When the visual identity is designed, make a style guide, which defines how logos, colors, typefaces, and other elements will be used every time.  This makes it easier for you or employees to keep the brand identity consistent and strengthen it every time it’s used.

If you haven’t already chosen a brand name or you’re thinking about a change, make sure it’s easy to spell and say, not too long, and unique, however, not so bizarre that people have trouble remembering it, like an elaborate Dr. Seussian word. Keep in mind, you’ll be saying it on elevators, printing it on business cards, and putting it in domain names and social media URLs. Use a made up or unique word, if it’s not too hard to say or spell. Use a word or phrase, if it’s not a dime a dozen, like Central Ave. Widgets. You don’t always need to use what you do in your name, e.g. Nike is not a shoe, Apple is not a computer, and Starbucks is not coffee.

You tell the story of your brand around your name and visual identity, so that your audience associates the story with the symbols of it, in your logo, typefaces, etc. Your logo and name represent the story you’re telling, they are symbols, don’t put the burden of telling the whole story on the symbols. Tell the story and associate it with the symbols, that’s their job.

However, sometimes it can be a benefit to keep it simple and use what you do in your name, if you think your website can compete online with that keyword as part of your name, for SEO purposes. Sometimes this works, especially if it’s a niche, lower-competition product or service and especially if it’s for a local audience, e.g. Santa Fe Steve’s Bicycle Bells.

 

The same goes for the logo. Until your visual identity is recognizable, you may want to have what you do near your logo and/or name in printed materials, but it’s often not best to make what you do and/or your name your logo, unless it’s more of a graphic than text. When your brand identity is well established, you can start to just use the logo without any text nearby and people know what it means.

 

The point of a logo is to have a simple, iconic, visual representation of the brand, not just to be a stylized description of the company. The human brain processes images about  60,000 times faster than text, so people respond to images instantly, and that’s the logo’s job. Text in the logo is also, often not scalable. You’re telling the story around your visual identity. Don’t use what you do in your name or logo, solely because you’re concerned that people won’t know what you do. If it’s a new brand, of course people won’t know, that’s where the storytelling, in copy and company relationships, does the heavy lifting, to build your brand.

shopping

If you haven’t already chosen a brand name or you’re thinking about a change, make sure it’s easy to spell and say, not too long, and unique, however, not so bizarre that people have trouble remembering it, like an elaborate Dr. Seussian word. Keep in mind, you’ll be saying it on elevators, printing it on business cards, and putting it in domain names and social media URLs. Use a made up or unique word, if it’s not too hard to say or spell. Use a word or phrase, if it’s not a dime a dozen, like Central Ave. Widgets. You don’t always need to use what you do in your name, e.g. Nike is not a shoe, Apple is not a computer, and Starbucks is not coffee.

You tell the story of your brand around your name and visual identity, so that your audience associates the story with the symbols of it, in your logo, typefaces, etc. Your logo and name represent the story you’re telling, they are symbols, don’t put the burden of telling the whole story on the symbols. Tell the story and associate it with the symbols, that’s their job.

However, sometimes it can be a benefit to keep it simple and use what you do in your name, if you think your website can compete online with that keyword as part of your name, for SEO purposes. Sometimes this works, especially if it’s a niche, lower-competition product or service and especially if it’s for a local audience, e.g. Santa Fe Steve’s Bicycle Bells.

 

The same goes for the logo. Until your visual identity is recognizable, you may want to have what you do near your logo and/or name in printed materials, but it’s often not best to make what you do and/or your name your logo, unless it’s more of a graphic than text. When your brand identity is well established, you can start to just use the logo without any text nearby and people know what it means.

 

The point of a logo is to have a simple, iconic, visual representation of the brand, not just to be a stylized description of the company. The human brain processes images about  60,000 times faster than text, so people respond to images instantly, and that’s the logo’s job. Text in the logo is also, often not scalable. You’re telling the story around your visual identity. Don’t use what you do in your name or logo, solely because you’re concerned that people won’t know what you do. If it’s a new brand, of course people won’t know, that’s where the storytelling, in copy and company relationships, does the heavy lifting, to build your brand.

 

If you can’t afford a professional designer, there are an assortment of online services that can connect you with discount designers, who are looking to add to their portfolio. Whether you enlist the help of a professional or you patch together pieces yourself, with online bargain services such as Fiverr, ensure your visual identity has the qualities of effective brand identity. This can be done on your own, but you get what you pay for and even if you’re pretty good, it takes time and sometimes it’s worth your time to have a pro do it. The quality of your brand is reflected in your brand identity and if your visual identity looks cheap–well, you get the idea.

 

Your logo design should be:

  1. Simple
  2. Unique
  3. Versatile
  4. Memorable
  5. Suitable for your audience

 

It should be simple enough that a child can roughly draw it and that it is clearly identifiable as small as the favicon in the tab on your browser. It should work in black-and-white, very small, as large as a billboard, on light and dark backgrounds, and never lose its quality. Professional designers will make versions to accommodate these (e.g. light and dark and grayscale) and provide an assortment of vector files for different purposes, such as for the print shop or websites. You should keep your files of it somewhere that’s easily accessible for ads, posts, and emails to reporters.

However you tell your story, make it a good one.