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Ideas to Inspire

What’s a logo worth? An Examination of the True Value of a Well-designed Logo.

by Tim Blake

In 2012, there was a rash of “rebrands” among some rather large organizations. Arguments spawned about how weak or downright ugly some of these logos were. The entire hullabaloo made me question just how much value a logo actually provides. After all, none of these businesses folded because of an ugly logo. Of course I can’t ignore the fact that these brand refreshes were created for established brands, with long histories and massive followings. Otherwise, I’m not sure whether anyone would have cared enough to criticize.

My questioning doesn’t mean that I think a logo is insignificant. In fact, I believe a logo performs several important functions in helping your brand succeed.

In a previous article I outlined the qualities of a good business logo. Here, I hope to show the effect your logo has on your brand. Thereby proving the value of a well-designed logo.

A Good Logo Gets You Noticed

A lot of what I do is intended to help you gain attention and stand out. A good logo will do just that. In an overcrowded marketplace, a strong logo can help set your brand apart.

Imagine your logo appearing alongside dozens of others. You may not have to, since it happens all the time. Lots of companies agree to sponsor a portion of an event. In return they get their dime-sized logo emblazoned on the back of each program. The question is would your logo attract attention in the same situation?

What’s a logo worth? Does your logo stand out in a crowd?

Before anyone even knows who you are, your logo can catch their eye and capture their imagination. Only then will they be interested in learning more about your brand.

A Good Logo Lends Credibility

How many times have you met someone — especially someone who wanted to sell you something — and you took one look at their business card and immediately tuned them out? It didn’t matter what they said after that, you had already made up your mind.

Like it or not, every book is judged by its cover. If your cover (logo) says, “I’m so cheap that I got my nephew to design my logo for a case of beer.” Then guess what, that’s how you and your brand will be perceived… CHEAP! Is that really how you want to promote your brand, as the cheapest solution around?

I realize that you’re on a tight budget, but so is everyone else. Being in business costs. So either you invest in the intangibles or you’ll pay for it elsewhere.

A Good Logo is a Reflection of Your Values

A strong logo projects the ideology that guides your brand. It also sets the tone for the rest of your marketing.

For instance, look at Apple. In the Eighties, Apple was positioned as a rebel, raging against an Orwellian corporate machine. Their rainbow-colored logo reflected their counter-culture positioning. However as Apple’s brand personality evolved, so did their logo… along with the rest of their marketing.

Today, Apple is seen as a maker of more high-end, sophisticated products. Thus their logo is more refined and understated, mirroring their current status. Compare that with their website, products, advertising or anything else they do. There are no inconsistencies.

I realize that this may be perceived as a chicken vs. egg argument. But either way, their logo has always stood as an archetype of their brand values.

A Good Logo Serves as an Ambassador

Trademarks were established so manufacturers could assure a mostly illiterate public that they were buying the same quality, consistent product as before. Your brand logo serves the same purpose today.

Target; Nike; McDonald’s; Disney; Coca-Cola; Whenever you read those names, probably one of the first things you think of is their respective logo. However, the longer you think about any of them, other emotions and perceptions begin to surface. That’s because — unlike other marketing tools — nothing is more efficient in summarizing your brand, as your logo.

What’s a logo worth? It's amazing how much information is conveyed through only a portion of a strong logo. (Answers L–R: Coca-Cola, Intel, Motorola, Adidas, Dell, Marlboro)

Once your logo is established, even a small segment can speak volumes about your brand. Just guess which brands are represented by these partial logos.

A Good Logo is a Workhorse

While ad campaigns come and go, your logo remains. While other aspects of your brand — essence, personality, positioning, values — may change, your logo endures.

For example, the Coca-Cola logo has remained virtually unaltered for almost 130 years. The current striped IBM logo was designed in 1972, replacing a solid version from 1956. And the CBS “eye” first appeared in 1951.

Nothing else in your marketing toolbox has that kind of staying power. Therefore, nothing can replace a well-designed logo.

Does Your Brand Deserve a Good Logo?

So before you run off to buy that $49 “logo design” software, or sign up on that crowdsourcing site, just ask yourself, “What is a good logo really worth? Doesn’t my brand deserve one?”

If you see value in a professionally designed logo, as well as other brand collateral, contact me. I would love to talk with you further about how a good logo can shore up your brand, help it stand out, evoke trustworthiness and represent your brand for years to come.

Tim Blake is Principal/Owner of Blake Design, a design and branding consultancy based in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has over 25 years experience in the design and marketing industries. Tim uses his expertise to help businesses and organizations communicate their ideals and connect with their desired audience.
Not only does Tim write articles here, but he also contributes articles to CU Insight , a site dedicated to the credit union community.

Tim Blake – who has written posts on Blake Design.


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6 Responses

  1. Atol says:

    Hi Tim,
    great article, I resonate with the content. People in general don’t understand what’s involved in a logo design process and want a quick fix for under $100. Unfortunately, they aren’t aware that this is the kind of energy they are putting in their business.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Kind Regards

    Atol

    • Tim Blake says:

      Thanks Atol. NO ONE can give any real thought, to a problem, for $100. After all, creating unique solutions to set your brand apart, takes time… lots of it. Low-cost alternatives, posing as real world solutions, not only hurt designers but the people who opt for them.

  2. Nice article, Tim. Thanks for putting into words ideas that have been floating around my head for ages.

  3. Tim,

    I the issue that you highlight is a great and I believe it commoditizes work hat is strategy and development into task. For example, when a company is evaluating and negotiating price vs. work they compare the $100 to someone/company who is 1) trying to offer strategy service; 2) design development); 3) task of drafting the logo which isn’t fair or comparable. Understanding companies/people want a value the natural reaction is to challenge the higher one whose design they really like towards a price closer to the lower one. The intangible or perceived is the abstrating of thought required to concieve the logo and this is what takes time, talent, and experience that is the costly element that people overlook and don’t want to pay for.

    I and others I know have tried to educate clients but in current economic climate, value seems to outweigh the better option.

    My question/point is how can we as designers educate and maintain our value-add to clients, industry, and ourselves while remaining employed with work vs. price balance?

    Thanks

    Gretchen

    • Tim Blake says:

      Excellent question Gretchen. Unfortunately, I really don’t know the answer. Hopefully articles like this and others will help clients see the value that talented designers bring to the table.

      This economy has caused everyone, including me, to look at the bottom line. However, when measuring products simply by costs, one does not appreciate the nuances. After all, if we only took price into account, then it would be a pretty bland world. We would all drive the same car, wear the same fashions and live in cardboard boxes. Instead, designers add value because we bring beauty to the mundane, form to the nebulous and simplicity to the complex. Try and get that from a box!

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