Clients and prospects alike often tell me that they are sick of looking at their brand. They complain that everything looks the same. All of their printed collateral, their web site and corresponding PDF downloads, their social media graphics, etc… ALL LOOK THE SAME! They are frankly bored with their brand identity, and want to change it up due to some perceived notion that everyone else is getting bored with it too.
Here’s the thing: If you are sick and tired of looking at your brand, then you are doing it right.
American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is the world’s oldest professional safety society. ASSE promotes the expertise, leadership and commitment of its members, while providing them with professional development, advocacy and standards development. The Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the association that facilitates education, scholarships, and growth within the profession.
A logo design contest site is basically an online marketplace where people or businesses looking to have a logo designed, post the project/contest to the site along with some requirements and prize dollar amount—usually miniscule. The members, usually consisting of thousands of designers, proceed to design potentially hundreds of options for the contest holder to choose from, typically by a specified due date. The contest holder then either chooses a logo and “rewards” the winner with the prize, or decides there is no winner and the project is reposted for more designs until he gets one that he likes. That’s it in a nutshell.
Sounds like a great deal…hundreds of design options to choose from and only a few bucks, right? Not so fast!
This post was going to start out as a Sketchbook Bingo post but since the page I turned to in one of my sketchbooks were concept sketches for a past project, I decided to quickly show the process of concepting, sketching, word mapping and refinement, etc. to final refined design.
This was an identity project I did a couple years ago for a recruitment firm. You can see the word mapping I used to generate ideas, and several sketches, as well as the one sketch that went on to be refined as the final. This particular logo was one of a few I presented, and while this direction wasn’t chosen, I thought it represented the company and its core values quite nicely. The logo that was chosen is here.
Love of Learning Montessori School is an independent school that provides Montessori education for students from infant/toddler through 6th grade. In 2008/2009 the school celebrated its 25th anniversary and felt it was the right time to take the school to the next level to increase enrollment and to foster an even greater relationship between the school and its community of families.
Love of learning Montessori School was looking to revamp its image to more accurately represent its mission and philosophy and give the school a more unified & credible presence. Previously, their logo was very hard to read and was dated. Their print materials and website had no consistency and this translated into an unorganized and unprofessional presence. The school’s image didn’t fall in line with the quality of the education they provide.
In these modern times of instant gratification, I sometimes get requests to create an identity for a client and they need it “yesterday.” They ask if I can crank it out in a couple days. Usually the answer to that question is “Sure, I can whip something up but it wont be good and you will find yourself wanting to change it in the near future.” The fact is, you are doing your business a major disservice by not thinking conceptually and strategically, and not allowing for the time and research it takes to create a meaningful logo that represents you and your business on a deeper level. Your identity is the cornerstone of your business and shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought.
You may have designed your logo yourself in PowerPoint or used an online logo site to have your design created. Or, you may have even had a professional Identity designer create your logo/identity for you (kudos to you). While I am not a big fan of the first 2 options, the reality is that however you get your logo/identity made, it is often up to you to make sure it is used properly and I find a lot of businesses fail at that.
Even if your logo/identity is sub par, by implementing some of these tips, you can most definitely improve upon what you have and how it is perceived. See how many of these tips you already implement. The more you can check “yes” to, the better chances are your identity will be more successful.
Contrary to popular belief, your logo is NOT your brand. It is however a visual representation of what your company or business represents—their values, their positioning and the experience they deliver to their customer. The logo is an identifier that reminds people what the brand is. The brand is what keeps people coming back for more because of the experience it provides. The logo/identity is only one facet of the brand, and the identity has many facets in and of itself.