Opinion

“Dad, why would anyone pay for a new logo?”

By Roger Cayless

Need a new logo? My 13-year-old son can knock up something for you on his iPhone. And without wishing to sound the family trumpet too loudly, I reckon it would look pretty slick too. But here’s the rub. However impressive the artwork by Cayless Jnr, the odds are stacked against his logo meeting the real needs of your business.

“A logo is an essential part of your brand, but a part nonetheless”

To be successful it needs to represent and contribute to a wider set of values that drive your ambitions. And meaningfully untangling and communicating these values demands a process, rather than an off the shelf product or an hour’s doodling with some free design software.

Ask yourself, why?

It’s the obvious question that often gets overlooked. Ask yourself why you need a new logo. Is your business growing or changing and there is pressure to reassess your brand? Are sales sluggish and you’re looking for ways to create a boost? Maybe you feel invisible in your sector, or a competitor has had a design shake up and suddenly your visual identity feels a little last century. Or perhaps the simple truth is that you’re just bored and uninspired by what you find yourself looking at everyday.

A mixture of these motivations probably rings true. But it’s also odds on that your colleagues will have a different range of rationales to you. If you’re curious to hear the sound of worms crawling out of cans, a discussion about changing your company logo will almost certainly do the trick. Strong opinions about fonts, tenaciously held views on colour palettes – you can expect to find yourself ambushed by passionate design loyalties and vetos from the most unexpected quarters of your business.

What we talk about when we talk about logos

It’s been said that Jaws isn’t really about a shark, it’s a morality tale about the perils of extramarital sex and a weak father’s inability to control his family and influence the wider community. So, when you start talking about logos you may be surprised to discover quite quickly, that beneath the surface, you’re not really talking about logos at all, but the different ways your colleagues are invested in your business. Rebranding always draws out internal disagreements about what a company stands for, and logos are an easy subject for deeper-seated tensions and problems lurking below.

At this point, you can simply choose a shiny new logo and patch over any troubling questions. Or you can dive a little deeper. And this is where we get involved. A creative agency can help you navigate competing demands in a way that embraces voices across your business. Think of it as a kind of group therapy, without the cushions. Everyone gets to talk, take stock and unpick exactly what they are hoping to achieve. We get under the skin of your business, and help you articulate and visualise your values in a way that engages your team and inspires your customers.

Bigger pictures, smaller pictures

Logos work when they are an integral part of your brand; a representation of your ethos, aspirations and target markets. They only move from being pretty to being dynamic when they successfully embody the personality of your business. A great example is SulNOx, a niche hydrocarbon company who came to us looking for a new visual identity. The clean, impactful logo you now see is backed up with strong messaging and assets that make sense of who they are and what they do. The confidence and clarity that runs through their communications is a direct result of the conversations we undertook to help them define their purpose and vision.

SulNOx Group Plc

Living your brand means caring for it, and our brand guidelines give you the ability to share your identity across platforms, from billboards to social media. Scalable, responsive and adaptable, your logo gets the creative care and expertise to match the brand research it rests on, and you get a design toolkit to roll it out with confidence. The results, as with our work for the luxury property company The Binney Group, should speak for themselves, in whatever format they are presented. In our digital age, form follows function, so we may not design your logo on a mobile phone, but we make sure it will look fantastic on one.

The Binney Group

Does your brand reflect your personality? Working through a new visual identity helps everyone in your company think about their values and how the brand represents them. It also lets you find out a little more about what drives your colleagues. The process that leads to a new logo is as valuable a part of rebranding as the end result. If you’d like us to help you start a conversation, get in touch.

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