A common mistake made by smart, successful people is the belief that their expertise has a broad reach and that because they are very good at one thing, they will be very good at other things as well. Michael Jordan famously tried to convert his basketball talents into a baseball career. He believed with absolute conviction that he would become a Major League Baseball player. History shows us that the best basketball player of all time was wrong.
Many business owners and managers make the same mistake as Michael Jordan when developing the graphic representation for their company. Confidence, experience, and strong opinions obscure the fact that graphic design is not their ball game. No greater example of this exists than the ever-present company logo and getting a new logo design.
Many years ago, there was a small startup in Arizona, an amplifier company. They were the best young minds in the field, geniuses really. They knew that they needed a logo; they had to have something to put on shipping boxes, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and banners at the trade shows. They were smart enough to know how important a good logo is and they spent a great deal of time working together to develop something that pleased them all.
Their logo was informative, it was colorful, it included the company name, and above all, it was utterly forgettable. If you were to drive by a billboard with this logo on it, you would not have time to absorb it, and if you were some distance from this billboard and had plenty of time, you would still have difficulty making sense of it, but the brilliant young minds liked it, and they did everything they could to promote it.
A few years later, that amplifier company was the industry’s best-kept secret. They made the best products that nobody knew about. If you were wearing one of their t-shirts and ran into someone else with the same t-shirt, it was as if the two of you belonged to a secret society.
It was at a trade show that a loyal customer of this amplifier company got his chance to talk to the people behind the product. This customer was also a bold young graphic designer who knew that this company’s brand was barely recognizable. He took the time to explain some of the principles of logo design in an effort to sell his services.
He outlined these basics for the engineers:
- Simplicity: It all starts here and this was their biggest mistake. A logo needs to reduce a brand’s concepts to their most fundamental.
- Memorability: Here the company’s logo failed completely. A logo must be memorable so that it leaves an indelible mark in the observer. You only get a few seconds to make an impression.
- Timelessness: Will the logo stay relevant? ‘Trendy’ logos will fade away and time is not kind to anything that is period specific.
- Versatility: An educated graphic designer knows this too well. A logo has to go on everything from business cards to billboards with aplomb.
- Relevance: The smartest amplifier engineer is lost here. Logo’s attempt to portray a brand’s philosophy and function with shapes, lines, and color. Graphic designers understand why hard lines best represent structured or traditional brands, while smooth lines may best represent youthful or informal brands.
The charismatic young graphic designer was successful. Hey convinced the amplifier company to let go of their old logo design and embrace something new. They had a terrific product and it was time people found out about it.
One year later, at the very same trade show, the company’s new logo was everywhere. Retailers, distributors, and customers proudly displayed it on signs, shirts, and stickers. This new design was so successful that most of the public thought this was a brand new amplifier company; they had unintentionally re-launched their entire brand. This company’s logo is now one of the most recognized in the industry.
Not every brand needs a facelift. Nike, Mercedes, Starbucks… these logos are unmistakable and recognized worldwide. How does your current logo compare? If you would like to go from the greatest company nobody has heard of to the top of your industry a great place to start is with a new logo. Electro Image has a team of experienced creative professionals ready to design your new logo. Contact their graphic designers to get started today; and this time, don’t be like Mike!