Marketing, PR & Advertising

Logos: Visually communicating to your public

June 1, 2015
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So you’re a new business owner, and after developing a plan to enter the market, this is finally reality for you. Great! How does your logo look?

Hillary Clinton entered the 2016 presidential candidacy race by airing a very well put together, progressive video highlighting her campaign theme that focused on everyday American families. Long awaited for many left-leaning Americans, many viewers found Clinton’s campaign announcement to be a monumental moment in history. I found the video to be well produced and the introduction well executed until the end, when Hillary’s campaign logo was displayed.

Americans love innovation when it comes to campaigns and businesses. Although the general public does not specialize in design, they can tell when something has been done before. Originality and that “it’s been done before” attitude play a key role in how the public perceives brands.

A logo is an important tactic in introducing your brand to the public eye, and upcoming generations are increasingly relying more and more on visuals in their decision-making processes.

The logo for “Hillary for America” looks amateur. An average Joe could, if he wanted, create this in Microsoft Windows Paint. The graphic has been mocked on the Internet and jokes have gone so far as a graphic designer creating a font called “Hil-vetica,” deriving from the common sans-serif typeface, “Helvetica.”

 Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign logo
Photo via wikimedia.org

A business logo is one of the first aspects of your brand with which consumers come into contact. Having worked in the restaurant industry for the past few years, I was always told that the host/hostess sets the tone in the rest of the patron’s dining experience. Your logo is the host for your brand. It must welcome your guests, smile, and invite them to offer trust and interest in consumers. If your logo/host doesn’t perform well, you may not have the opportunity to make up for it with other great aspects of your business such as customer service, web design, product value, etc.

Regardless of your political stance, one can appreciate the design of President Barack Obama’s logo in the 2008 election. As the first African-American to earn the presidential nomination from the DNC, there were high hopes and expectations for the candidate and his campaign. His logo went on to be successful in creating a brand for the future president. To this day, Americans recognize the blue ‘O’ with the red stripes inside and associate it with his 2008 campaign theme of “Change.” The logo was well designed as the colors didn’t take a strict vectored shape and it depicted a scene without busy, intricate detail.

Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign logo
Photo via wikipedia.org

Viewers must take something away from a logo in order to remember it and, quite frankly, the “Hillary for America” logo reminds me of a hospital or a helipad sign. So what can businesses take from Hillary’s logo?

Be simple, not amateur. Logos, and any design work, need to be simple enough for consumers to view, get the brand’s feel and then remember it — all in a few seconds. Logos have a few brief moments to catch the viewer’s attention before a prospect moves on with their interest.

With this being said, creating something too simple can portray an amateur-esque feel. For instance, the simple sans-serif font in Hillary’s logo resembles that of an ordinary default font on Microsoft Word that many Americans have access to. Ordinary people like to be impressed, and using elements that display this kind of work will not receive any praise. There is an art in creating logos that are simple enough for the viewer to understand and remember without making them feel as if they could have designed it themselves.

If your logo resembles amateur, last-minute work, you’re portraying this to your consumers about your brand.

Additionally, the logo must be original. This is your visual identity we’re talking about. It is what differentiates you from competitors, and if a business performs well, its logo can have immense power and respect.

One of the key design elements of President Obama’s 2008 logo was that it didn’t resemble any other logo in campaign history. Picture the average political logo and sign: candidate’s name in white bold typeface with red, white and blue stars.

As Americans, we see something out of the norm and tend to pay more attention to it. Applying this to a brand’s logo design is crucial in grabbing the attention of prospective consumers and helping them remember it.

Put thought into it. Often I feel brands don’t give logos enough credit as an overall tactic in representing the business. From beginning to end, your logo displays the feel and culture of your brand. What do you want consumers to take away from those few moments of being exposed to your logo?

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