Dr. Bill Haig is back with part 2 of his contributed article about credibility based logos. Read Part 1 here.
By William L. Haig
Chairman, CEO Powerlogos Design, Co-author, The Power of Logos: How to Create Effective Company Logos, NY: Wiley
The Eight Essentials
How credibility works in logo design is the subject of this article. Continuing from last week there are eight criteria a Credibility Based Logo Design program must have to be successful. We covered four following are the last four:
5) Logos must use the symbol over (or beside on the left) the company name. There are three trademarking systems almost all logos fit into:
There is a name only:
The first two trademarking systems limit the company in expressing its area of expertise and trustworthy attributes. The name and monogram trademarking systems are intended only to be just what they are: a name and a monogram – with little or no credibility traits. The more a designer takes the name or monogram and tries to add credibility traits, the less recognizable the name or monogram become.
Only the symbol over the company name allows credibility communication to be effective. Further, the symbol over (or beside to the left of) the company name is the only trademarking system which communicates well on the Internet.
Besides being credibility-based, the logo must also be bold, express authority, and be interesting – in an instant! All this without losing the prime objective that the logo must be credibility-based. This is quite an undertaking for a graphic designer.
6) Logos must communicate, communicate, communicate. Here are the most common mistakes:
• Adding too much to the symbology so that the whole logo is confused and cluttered. Less is more. Often designers have to explain each detail in the logo. There should not have be an explanation that the "O" stands for the sun rising; the "wiggly lines" stand for "the lush landscape"; the "spaces between the wiggly lines" stand for the water flowing through the landscape; the "red" color stands for… etc. Everything in a logo must be simple and evident. A great logo needs no explanation .
• Making the name font compete with the symbol. This is the font that is a design statement in and of itself. It is always complex. The name font should always be simple, supporting the symbology. The symbol carries the burden of communicating credibility. Not the name font.
• Placing the company name within the symbol. The name and symbol must always be separated, with the symbol over or beside to the left of the name. Otherwise, the visual confusion is obvious. Many logos have the name curl around the symbol, causing the head and eye to follow each letter to read the whole name. We call this "visual gymnastics."
7) Logos must be very prominent in application. Frequency and consistency are the key points here.
Frequency means that all areas of public contact must be utilized: Business cards. Stationery. Forms. Trucks and vehicles. Shop or office signs. Site signs. Employee caps, shirts and uniforms. Giveaways. Brochures. Advertisements. Proposal covers.
Basic psychology tells us that the more frequent we experience something, the more likely we will remember it. And it should be the same, or consistent, each time.
Consistency is the most common breakdown in logo application. Try this. Put up "logo wall" somewhere in your office with all areas of current logo application. More often than not, this is normally a hodge-podge – as either no one is responsible or implementation just happened without consideration as to the logo working as a brand communication system.
The cure is to appoint a "Keeper of the Logo" with responsibility for applying the logo to all possible applications (frequency) and do it each time the same way (consistency). A Logo Design Implementation Guideline is often prepared to assist in this important requirement.
The result is integrated brand promotion which gives the logo, as a key member of the overall brand, important equity and awareness.
It also demonstrates the importance the company places on the management of resources. By managing the logo well, the company is often considered to be well managed in all areas.
Feng Shui followers rejoice. Having consistency means having order and alignment, reducing clutter. Energy flows from a living, meaningful logo that perks up the senses when used frequently in ready reach and in your control. This is positive workflow within and outside your workspace.
8) The logo symbol and name must work together. Logo symbology and the company name must both express credibility traits. The symbology is a "visual" expression of company credibility. The name is a "verbal" expression of company credibility. Names like Mail Boxes Etc., The Closet Factory, and United Parcel Service are all good descriptive of the company's expertise. They are therefore credible names.
On the other hand, names like Cebit, Retrospex and Hebasco do not describe the company business, thus negating the opportunity to express their expertise in their respective fields. These names are also hard to remember.
Trustworthy attributes can also be incorporated into a company's name. Names like Compaq for the personal computer is not only descriptive, but with the "q" at the end suggests "high technology." Zippy's Restaurants sound like a quick place to get a meal. Le Nouveau Riche Gourmand restaurant connotes something more formal. And better to check the wallet before going in.
Company names should also have longevity, as they are what we recall as the company brand. If the credibility-based logos which express the brand image are in the symbology, then the name must support the symbology for the entire logo to be effective. (Already well-established names excepted.)
The following logos are credibility-based. A brief description tells why they are particularly great logos.
The following logos are not credibility-based.
Bill Haig has his PhD in Management with a specialty in credibility-based branding expressed through visual communication. For a no-cost evaluation of your company logo, please send an email to Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email request please include the following information: (1) how would you describe the company to someone who has never heard anything about it and (2) what makes their company special i.e. what does the owner do to make it work successfully. Bill must have these answers to evaluate their logo relative to its credibility power, not how beautiful the logo might be. He can also be reached toll free at 877.922.4042 (Hawaii Standard Time.)