Logo design — hits and misses in big brands

Web Matters

By Melanie Phillibert

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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THE logo you use to represent your business is your company's face to the world. It is the first impression that visitors to your website will look at, and the brand image that customers will identify with when they look at your product packaging.

A unique logo is one of the main ways people remember your company or brand. Its purpose is to link your website to your marketing materials and provide your prospects with an at-a-glance feeling for what your company does. It should instil trust in your customers and inspire them to buy from your company. According to BrandLabs, statistics show that a well designed ecommerce logo on a website can increase conversions.

If you have been in business for a while, have a good look at your existing logo. What does it say about your company? Does it look professional? Is it relevant to your business type? Is it memorable? If you are unsure about any or all of these points, a redesign might be something to consider. Money invested now in a well thought-out, strategically designed logo will give you a return for many years to come.

Nevertheless, though a number of large brands have made changes to their logos and seen outstanding success, others have fallen flat and have had to reinstate their original branding. A lot of thought and clever design with an emphasis on marketing trends and understanding a company's target market need to be brought into the picture before launching a new logo.

For example, WAL*MART successfully rebranded to the "new" Walmart in 2008. The idea behind Walmart's entire rebranding, which included changes to the layout and presentation within stores and an overhaul of the entire mindset of the company executives and management, embodied a general theme of "friendly, approachable, warm and reliable". Lippincott.com stated at the time that, "Additionally, the company maintained traffic from core customers while growing traffic by approximately seven per cent from customers with incomes above US$75,000 -- an under-represented customer segment for Walmart prior to the brand revitalisation." So Walmart was able to maintain its existing customers and also reach a new demographic of customers through their rebranding campaign.

On the flip side, GAP, one of the larger clothing brands based in the USA, attempted a rebrand in 2010 that met with dismal results that caused the company to eventually revert to its original brand. The new brand that GAP revealed in 2010 was a lowercase 'Gap' with a small square in asterisk proportion positioned over the 'p'. The logo had two problems: the typeface choice and the use of a gradient square. These were pretty big problems though, because that was what the entire logo consisted of. It was met with extreme market resistance, and showed clearly that the marketing/design team should have given way more thought to the design before launching it in the marketplace. The new logo was pulled and the original design stands to this day!

Transparency, integrity and honesty play a huge role in whether people will buy online. Consumers are searching for companies with brands or "personalities" that they approve of and can relate to. As a result, savvy, creative designers are creating down-to-earth, hand-crafted and simple logo designs that appeal to this need. While the lowercase font did not work in the failed GAP logo, the casual tone of lowercase lettering is currently a successful marketing trend due to the friendly yet professional message it can communicate to customers and prospects in the right context.

As company logos continue to increase in volume as new companies are created and old companies rebrand, designers must seek to stand out from the crowd by using a variety of techniques to create memorable logos. A clever one is the use of wordmarks. An example of this is the logo for Above and Beyond which reads - ^Bove+Beyon> (the visual representation of this works extremely well). Another emerging trend is the use of stencilled or incomplete typography. In 2015, logo designers are also getting reacquainted with the printing process, and as such are realising that spot colours are visually stronger on paper and less expensive to print than process colours. Consequently, 2015 will be full of branding that uses colour solids and limited colour palettes.

If you are starting a new company, once you have decided on a name and a business plan, the next thing you should think about is having a logo designed by a professional graphic designer. It is important to have a conversation with your designer so that you can relay contextual information about your brand and where you want to take it. Remember, your logo represents your brand and helps to put a memory stamp of what your company means to the public in the minds of your customers. You will want to get it right.

Melanie Phillibert is a web developer and Internet marketing consultant. A multiple-award-winning online marketer, she has studied Internet marketing and web design/developmnet, SEO, PPC, Spcoa; media management and e-commerce development for the last 10 years. She can be contacted via e-mail at melanie@internetmarketingsynergies.com.




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