Why Creating All Parts Of A Brand Doesn’t Start With Logo Design
Yes, you need a badass logo. An eye-catching, memorable design that represents your business. A smart interplay of visuals and typography that gets your brand’s identity across in zero seconds flat.
But… that one part that you probably skimmed over (the most important part!) is where so many small businesses run into problems–brand identity. Though most people might think that a logo and brand identity are basically the same thing, the two are most certainly not the same thing at all.
In order for people to feel and understand your business’s identity and personality, your brand actually needs to have one. Logos are just one single piece of the really big pie–a piece that doesn’t even taste that appetizing (no matter how good it looks) unless it’s part of a whole meal and is the very last piece taken from the pan.
The Elements of a Quality Brand
What does this whole meal–this brand identity concept–look like? There are 6 crucial branding elements that contribute to a complete, kickass, quality brand. They’re the parts of a brand that put a business a step (or a leap) above the rest.
We’ve put these 6 elements into a pyramid so they’re crystal clear to understand. What might not be crystal clear is that we never (and we mean NEVER) start at the top of this pyramid … meaning logo design is always last.
A logo might be the first thing that your audience sees and associates with your brand, but it should be created last–after you do the core work that gives your logo (and brand) meaning, purpose, and personality.
Step 1: The Purpose
Who the heck are you and what’s your purpose? You might be a brand that thrives off of taking risks, making ballsy moves, and being bold with your business decisions and personality. Or you could be on the opposite end of the spectrum–modest, traditional, and highly professional. Either way is impactful, you just have to start your brand from the bottom up with this root personality in mind and stick to your purpose every step of the way.
Step 2: The Tone
Now that you’re clear about who you are and what you’re all about, you can begin finding your brand voice and your key themes. Key themes are the strong areas that your brand focuses itself around.
For example, as a bread baking business, you might focus on three key elements (or themes):
- Fresh baked bread made daily
- Original French family recipes
- Same-day delivery … right to your doorstep
You’re going to want to make sure each of these elements appears throughout your entire visual and non-visual brand in (almost) everything you put out for the world to see.
Then, define what you sound like when you speak within your brand. Are you informal and familiar, or are you dignified and proper? Your tone has to be appropriate and consistent with your brand personality and also align with your purpose and themes.
Step 3: Consistent Messaging
Here’s to saying what you’ve got to say … in your voice. All outward messaging should always be on-brand and contain one or all of your themes. In addition to creating messaging in the tone that fits you, your messaging should represent brand authenticity and directly approach your target market in order to catch their attention, keeping them engaged and wanting more.
Step 4: Brand Consistency
You know who you are, but you don’t necessarily have an image yet–no visuals, brands color, graphics, fonts, photos, or anything to look at. A visual brand designer should develop these very important and compatible visual elements that have design consistency and align with your brand personality. These will be incorporated in all visual materials (including your logo) and will drive overall visual direction.
Step 5: The Fun Stuff
Now to the fun stuff … the touchpoints of your brand. This brand element has to do with an audience’s experience with your brand–marketing materials, website, business cards, event signs, print pieces, signage, brand apparel, etc. Visual touchpoints will be the elements that (in addition to your logo) will likely be one of the first things to initially catch a consumer’s attention. So make ‘em great and draw an audience even further into your brand.
The Final Step: Branded Logos
And now we get to logo design … the very last element on the list (or pyramid). The purpose of a logo is to center your entire brand experience for anyone who comes across it. This means a logo should include all elements above from steps 1-5.
Don’t Logo Recklessly
It’s easy for small businesses to handle logos recklessly. To slap one together or pay (often big bucks) for someone else to.
Why isn’t this a good idea? Because logos are like asteroids. Some asteroids are cool because they leave a nea-looking crater that you want to remember. Other asteroids aren’t because they crash, burn and obliterate life from planets. Basically, they make an impact either way.
Good logos burn themselves into the woodwork of your brain and stay there forever–so effectively that there are games based on how fast you can identify as many as possible.
Bad ones either get forgotten about immediately. Or worse, they get remembered … for sucking.
Don’t Let Anyone Design A Sucky Logo For Your Awesome Brand
What makes a logo suck? A lot more than accidentally looking like something offensive, gross, ugly, or completely unappealing. Other losing criteria includes being plain and forgettable. Or being the wrong size for certain marketing collateral. Even mostly similar logos (but not quite the same) across branded marketing materials can send your brand into a tailspin.
A really sharply designed, successful logo can even suck. Why? If it commits the biggest offense of all: not connecting with the rest of what your business is trying to achieve. That’s why your business needs more than a logo to chuck onto a business card, a web page, a social media page–your business needs branding!
Logos Backed By Quality Brands
Instead of a bunch of disjointed business parts fired willy-nilly into the air, your business needs a brand. Just like our fancy pancy pyramid shows, you need a whole arsenal of consistent, interlocking marketing tools that look and sound like each other–elements that all work together to deliver the same messaging.
You need a story to stick to. A personality that customers can relate to and engage with. A message that resonates with people and gets them wanting to trade you money for whatever it is you’re out there working so hard to perfect.
And your business definitely needs this before you even think about logo design, business cards, website, or social media accounts.
Let’s Brand … And Then Logo
At Bareknuckle, we work with ambitious businesses and pinpoint what is and isn’t a business’s real identity. We build a solid, effective brand that jumps off the page and smacks ideal clients across the face with its personality. We help business owners develop thoughtful marketing strategies detailing how they’ll deliver their message via a whole array of the right channels, all woven together for maximum effect. We do all of this first and foremost. And we can do it for you.
… and THEN … we can make you a badass logo.