By Ed Hardie
Spoiler alert. The answer is yes. In this post we'll explore the reasons why it's super important to have a logo, and take a look at the often underestimated role a logo plays in a website design.
Lets clear a few things up first. What exactly is a logo?
If you're sticking with me until the end of this post (and you'd better be) it's worthwhile the two of us being absolutely clear on what a logo is. Your logo is the first thing people see when they're identifying your business, whether that's on a business card, the side of a building or an a website. A logo might be something as simple as your company's name, or it's initials (think Marks and Spencer, M&S), in some cases, it might be designed with an accompanying symbol that's carefully engineered to make you think and feel a certain way (McDonalds!). We'll get more into that later.
Why is a logo so important?
No matter how simple your logo is, in order for it to serve its purpose as an identifier for your business, it needs to be unique. If you just plop your company name into Word, highlight it and choose your favourite font and colour, that's not a logo because it's almost a certainty that someone else has done something similar before. Despite the company names being different, the logo will look the same and in the crowded marketplace, you'll fail to stand out. People just won't remember your business.
So, this is where those symbols we mentioned before come in. Adding a symbol to go with your logo gives graphic designers a lot more scope to produce something that's different, allowing it to stick in your memory. When you get the right blend of uniqueness and good design, the effect can be incredibly powerful. Take, for example, the shiny three pointed star used as the symbol for a major car manufacturer. Or the fruit with a bite taken out of one side that's used by a leading computer company. You know which companies I'm talking about and all I've had to do is describe their logo.
A symbol has the added benefit of being able to convey a message or an idea, sometimes its a simple idea, like Shell the oil company using a shell, or sometimes its connected to a wider theme, like Pringles using the idea of the moustached man to promote their brand.
Some companies even use their logo to get a bit brainwashy... Lets go back to McDonalds, unless you've been purposely avoiding all media for the past 15 years, its nearly impossible to look at the golden arches without hearing the little whistling song that's played at the end of every TV and radio advert. You know the one I mean. This little tune is, and has always been followed by the tag line we all know "I'm loving it". In the TV adverts, all of this happens while you're looking at their logo. The effect of this, on me at least, is I see the McDonalds logo, I whistle the song in my head, and I subconsciously tell myself "I'm loving it". They've literally engineered my brain to tell its self it loves the company every time I see their logo. Clever stuff, anyone else hungry?
To be clear, I'm not saying every company needs a symbol in their logo, Coca Cola, Sony, Ford all do just fine without a symbol. If we measure a good logo by how unique and memorable it is, these companies do a great job, but as more companies ingrain themselves into society, it can get harder to stand out, so in general, a symbol helps.
How does all of this fit in with web design?
So what's a web designer doing talking about the importance of logos? Well the truth is, it's one of those areas we've had to become experts in, because while it's not exactly the same thing as designing a website, logo design and web design are very closely linked. So closely in fact, businesses often find their requirements for a new logo and their requirement for a new website come up at the same time.
To explain why, we need to talk about brand image. Remembering that a logo is the identifier for your business, your brand image encompasses every other outward facing aspect of your business. From tone of voice used in marketing materials, to the way your quotations and invoices look, to the colour used on your website, your brand image is the overall perception of your business. With our logo as our identifier and the first thing people see, as you can imagine, it's hugely important in shaping the overall brand image of an organisation.
Websites, in large part, are an organisations brand image, applied in the context of the web. Knowing what we now know about logos then, it's only right that we talk about the design in the context of the brand image, with the logo being the linchpin, holding it all together.
I've already got a logo, can we just use that?
Absolutely. We've spent the majority of this blog post talking about how important logos are. If you already have a logo representing your company, generally we won't advise changing it. You want your logo to be memorable, and if a company's logo keeps changing, it wont be. You've also got to factor in the costs of updating all your stationary, signage and clothing.
There are some cases however where your current logo might not be fit for purpose. Many clients come to us with low resolution versions of their logos which are inadequate for use on a website, social media, and not possible to be blown up large for sign writing purposes. There are also cases where a business has been trading for a number of years, and while they don't need a complete rethink, the logo might look a bit dated. In these cases there are often things that can be done. We can retrace logos to produce high quality file formats, and we can often slightly alter fonts or colours to bring logos up to date without drastically changing them.
Where can I get a logo, and why does the price vary so much?
Much like the cost of a website, the price of a logo can vary huge amounts depending on where you shop. If you've not already read Richard's fantastic blog post "How much does a website cost" I highly recommend checking it out as it covers this topic in much more detail.
What it all comes down to is the amount of time and effort the person designing your logo puts in. Yes, there are places online that charge next to nothing for a supposedly unique logo, but in our experience, these are very generic, thrown together with little thought and supplied in formats that aren't helpful for your day to day usage.
At Impelling, we treat our logos exactly like we treat our website design process. We'll sit down with you and discuss how your company operates, how you want it to be perceived, and how your logo should fit into your overall brand image. Our designers then produce concepts and refine these until all parties consider the problem to be solved, resulting in a logo that encapsulates what your organisation is all about, whilst retaining the foundations of being unique and being memorable. We provide clients with a complete logo pack containing a variety of formats that are ready to use on the web. Alongside this we also produce a guide on how to use your logo, to ensure that it looks consistent each and every time.
If you're interested in a logo, or you're thinking about a new website get in touch for a no obligations chat, we'll be happy to discuss what's possible and provide up front pricing.