Things to consider before you start.
What makes a good logo in general? What should your logo look like? Should it be graphical or type based? Does it need a subliminal shape in it like FedEx’s? What should people “get” when they see it? What is their at-a-glance take away? Does the logo need to stand for something? Is the logo for the product we’re making today or does it need to be for the brand we might become in 8 years? Will the name be synonymous with a product like Kleenex, Coke or Xerox? Will we use it as a verb like, “Google it?” If the business is only regional now, should we planning for it to be global someday?
Lots of considerations for logo development and likely you don’t need to get them all right before you start. People usually overthink and overcomplicate it. Branding your product or company will be far more valuable and worth more of your time than a font or graphic combination. Most people starting a business, need a logo, and just find someone who can throw one together. Some, more well-funded businesses, seeing the need to create a “brand,” might get with a branding agency from day 1. Likely you’re somewhere between the next Silicon Valley start-up darling and your neighbor’s next great grilling tool invention they plan to pitch on Shark Tank.
It stands for what you are.
Whatever the case, a logo should be effective in conveying something essential about the company or product. Like, if your thing is fun – your logo should look fun. Take Toys-R-Us for example. What, too soon? Okay, Blockbuster… What, still too soon?! Come on. I’m using Blockbuster; it’s been long enough. (And yes, I know there’s an owner in Brooklyn who refuses to close. Power to you. I’d like to meet you, buy you a beer and watch a DVD of “Dude, Where’s my Car?” Because that’s a movie I never actually saw, because I was into art-house films at the time and thought I was too cool for big “blockbuster” movies. And that word brings us back to that logo.)
“Remember the first time you saw a Blockbuster sign? The yellow reminded me of buttered popcorn!”
The name “Blockbuster” was indicative of their business – in this case: mass entertainment + retail. Picture their logo. (Or Google it in case it’s not fresh in your mind’s eye). The text is big and bold. The graphic is a movie ticket so it’s built into the logo. At a glance, you “get it.” Remember the first time you saw a Blockbuster sign? I don’t really, because it was always kind of around since I could remember but I remember being excited seeing their sign because I loved movies and the yellow in their sign reminded me of buttered popcorn! And in the 80-90’s, renting movies at a neighborhood video store was new and novel! Now, fast forward to the present. (I’m not going to use a “be kind, please rewind” reference here.) Now there isn’t a Blockbuster Video store anymore (I know Brooklyn dude. I see you.). Now there’s Netflix. What’s their logo? What’s their “move ticket?” There isn’t one. Why? Maybe it’s because things change so quickly and digital isn’t as tangible as a movie ticket. Dunno. Didn’t work on it. (Dear @Netflix, I’m totally open to working with you.) We can guess that their specific “red” color evokes movie curtains and makes that connection to most movie goers.
And all of this is the point. Logo development is important in figuring out what your logo should be. And then once it’s out there for a while, how might it evolve over time as your product or technology does. But keep it checked in priority to brand building as it will be far more worthy of your time and energy.
– Matthew Desotell, Creative Director