It can happen even with the best of intentions. You do a solid branding study, evaluate the results, hire a great designer, put in a ton of effort, and love the finished logo. But once it goes live, any number of things can happen – and often do. The widely spread jokes on the Hillary campaign logo is a good example (even with the misspelling above). So the question becomes, how do I make sure the new logo is free from problems? Honestly, it’s impossible to know completely, even with attorney’s running checks, but here’s some principles that can help keep you from experiencing a good logo that goes bad:
1) Hire a professional with a track record. Sure your nephew knows Photoshop and will do it for free, but please don’t take him up on the offer. You need someone who understands what great logos accomplish, has experience in design, and can show you a portfolio of designs he or she has created. This isn’t the time to cut corners.
2) Avoid stock logos or logo elements. There are plenty of websites that offer stock elements for logos. Avoid them like the plague. You’re looking for the unique, one-of-a-kind expression of you and your story. You won’t find that in a stock gallery. Plus, most stock logos are like many stock photo libraries – cheesy, outdated, and over the top.
3) Make sure it’s adaptable. You’ll want your logo on more than your website and business cards. You may put it on coffee mugs, T-shirts, packing labels, notebooks or luggage tags. Make sure it’s simple enough to work anywhere.
4) Don’t be trendy. Styles come and go, but your logo should work for a long time. Don’t jump on a trend bandwagon too quickly and re-design or refresh your logo in a style that will be out of date in a year. Think classic, long lasting, and solid.
5) Get an outsider’s perspective. You’ve been working on it for a long time, so you need objective eyes. Show it to a lot of people – some who know you and some who don’t. Be sure there’s not some other image in the negative space or elsewhere that says something else. You don’t want to be embarrassed. This link to logos gone bad has some great examples.
6) Finally, remember your logo is not your brand – it’s the visual expression of your brand. Your brand is your perception. It’s the story that surrounds who you are and what you do. It’s a promise to your customers and donors. Your logo is the visual expression of that story. So make sure you go through a proper branding process before you launch a new logo. If you’d like help, you can email us here.
And just like Hillary – if your logo is open to it, people will make fun – just like they did with Airbnb. Ouch…