A Good Logo Tells a Story
Most everyone has heard of an “elevator pitch.” It’s the way you explain your business’ value proposition quickly to people you meet on an elevator before they get off at the next floor. To create that elevator pitch, you have to distil the story of your brand down to about three key business concepts. These three elements must encapsulate the core competencies of your brand, your product or service offering, your customers or clients, what makes your brand distinct.
If a client can explain the essence of their brand, and refine that vocabulary into three key elements, then we can incorporate those elements in a brand icon, a.k.a. a logo. In our logo design strategy, we follow a process to ensure we capture a brand’s spirit within an image.
First We Explore the Business Story
First, we start out by getting our client’s perspective on their business. We ask questions during the course of that first conversation to find out what resonates with them, what makes their brand unique, what they want to be known for, and who their competitors are.
Then we conduct research to get an accurate picture of how a logo might represent the business. One of the best ways to start is by exploring their industry to see where logos of similar businesses pop up and in what context. We explore businesses with a similar product or service offering, and discover ways to set our client’s brand apart. To get the desired emotional response from the target demographic, we explore what image or impression currently exists for the brand. We also look at market research to see what visuals appeal to our client’s target demographic and what’s trending.
All of these elements help us begin to formulate the client’s brand narrative.
Next We Focus on the Narrative
Starting from a broad perspective, we work with the client to whittle down their story to the essential core competencies of their business – this is what their brand needs to convey. We ask clients to determine a list of qualities that they want other people to think about or associate when they hear or see the brand.
Getting clients to hyper-focus on a distilled narrative creates something of a communications phenomenon: somehow the keywords they choose end up defining what the logo should be. Maybe passionate people use strong metaphors when they talk about their businesses, or maybe they paint a picture with words that can be literally interpreted with a visual. Either way, the symbolism of a logo most often grows directly out of a client’s own word choice.
Then We Turn a Narrative into Imagery
We came up with our own logo following the same process we use with clients, keeping in mind that the simpler a logo is, the better. Usually, the ideas and concept behind the logo are complex, yet are represented in the simplest form possible. If you try to put too many ideas in there, the main ones get lost. Three key concepts is a good number to aim for.
The key business concepts of the Marstudio narrative that formed our logo are: we’re creative, visual, and provide distinct services to help your business succeed.
How We Created the Marstudio Logo
Here’s how our narrative is conveyed in our logo:
1. The red paint splash represents graphic design, our roots. (Marstudio’s original tagline was “Design Redefined.”)
2. The eye represents creative vision.
3. The target symbol within the pupil of the eye represents strategic direction.
4. The red “@” symbol forming the iris of the eye represents technology
5. The four white eyelashes above the eye represent People, Collaboration, Partnership, and Working Side by Side. They also reflect our four primary service silos: Branding, Print, Web, and Multimedia.
Part of the fun of designing a logo is that, even if the viewer doesn’t quite see each element consciously, they still come away with the whole idea of the brand. Looking at a well-designed logo is a bit like listening to music – if you can identify and understand individual components as well as listening to/seeing the whole composition, then it becomes both relatable and more enjoyable.