marketing & design

Do You Know What a Logo's Actually Supposed to Do?

by Brian James Rawson
June 30, 2020
What not knowing costs you

You've poured buckets of sweat into your business, your organization, your passion, and your dream, but if you don't know what a logo's supposed to do it could cost you all of that sweat, effort, and time.

If you don't know what a logo's supposed to do, you could accidentally slap a lousy logo on your business. You could unknowingly use a logo that’s confusing to read, that’s dead dull and boring, and that causes everyone to forget your name.

But when you do know what a logo's supposed to do, you can do the exact opposite.

When you know a logo's true purpose, you can use a logo that's instantly memorable, that stands miles out from the pack, that grabs everyone’s attention, pulls them in, and makes them never want to leave.

Basically, knowing what a logo's supposed to do helps grow your business, and not knowing, can harm, hinder, and cost you your business.

So to help you sidestep that cost and jump into growth, let's unpack what a logo is really supposed to do.


This is what a logo is actually supposed to do

A logo isn’t a piece of art. It's a machine. It has a specific purpose. It has a job to do. A logo is supposed to do this:

A LOGO’S PURPOSE IS TO IDENTIFY AND PROJECT YOUR BRAND TO YOUR MARKETPLACE.

We know that purpose sounds a little anti-climactic, but trust us, there’s a lot crammed in there. So, let’s get unpacking. Let’s examine each section of that purpose to learn what makes a logo effective instead of just a boring sticker.


A Logo's actually supposed to Identify
A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio
A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio



First, a logo's supposed to get people to notice you.

Your logo should identify you in the crowd. People should never have to guess, squint, or wonder if that’s really you over there. Your logo must make you stand out and set you apart from others (but not in a socially awkward way).

In other words - your logo's supposed to make you look like you belong next to you competitors while simultaneously setting you apart from your competitors.



A Logo's Actually Supposed to Project
A snapshot from the logo-scape  made for Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit as part of their branding project with Owl Street Studio.
A snapshot from the logo-scape  made for Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit as part of their branding project with Owl Street Studio.




Next, your logo's supposed to project the emotions you want your brand to convey, and it's supposed to project the emotions that matter most to your customers and clients.

Just like a movie projector sends out light to create images on the wall, your logo sends out a design (a specific combination of shape, color, typography, size and layout) to create feelings and emotions in people.

Sounds weird, we know, but seriously high-quality logos and brands evoke emotions. For instance, Nike's logo helps covey energy, movement, tenacity, and drive.

In other words, your logo should use shape, color, typography, and all of the other elements of graphic design to conjure up a real reaction in your customers and clients.

(And a well-thought out, a well-designed logo conjures up the strong reaction - YOU WANT your customers and clients to have.)



A Logo's Actually Supposed to Project Your Brand
A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio
A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio

A logo's supposed to project your brand, to help build up and reinforce your brand, but your logo is never supposed to BE your brand. But so many people get their logo and their brand mixed up and think that their logo is their brand...and that is so wrong.

It’s wrong because your brand IS NOT ONE TANGIBLE THING. Your brand is not just your logo. It’s also not just your name or just your image or just your product or service. Your brand’s an amalgam of several abstract things. It’s character, personality, reputation, and ideals all rolled into one.

To sort this out, think of your favorite shirt. Would you say your favorite shirt is the entire encapsulation of your personality and/or personhood? No way. It’s a shirt (a super cool one, we’ll give you that), but it’s just a shirt.

Your logo is like your favorite shirt and your entire personality is like your brand. Your logo should make you look great but it’s never your whole brand. It’s a projection of your brand to the world, just like that shirt is a projection of your personality to everyone around you. Your brand is kind of like you, the real you; and your logo is kind of like you wearing your best outfit.

But even though your logo is just one aspect of your brand, you want it to match your brand. Just like you want your clothes to match your real personality.

For instance, wearing a mohawk and leather jacket communicates one thing while wearing a fedora and a Hawiian shirt communicates something totally different. And if you’re the Hawiian shirt type, for you, a mohawk and leather jacket might be hard to pull off.

Your logo should match your brand, just like your clothes should match your personality, but, though your logo should match your brand, your logo will never be your brand.


A Logo's Actually Supposed to Project Your Brand to Your Marketplace

Logo made by Owl Street Studio  for Family Services of Beloit Wisconsin fundraiser event Build Resilience
Slideshows made by Owl Street Studio  for Family Services of Beloit Wisconsin fundraiser event Build Resilience
Slideshows made by Owl Street Studio  for Family Services of Beloit Wisconsin fundraiser event Build Resilience



And last but not least, your logo's supposed to speak to your audience. It's supposed to reach out and grab the attention of all the customers and clients walking past you. It's supposed to reach your marketplace.

Think of it like this: your marketplace is just like a farmer's market. There's all the people walking in the middle of the street, and then there's all the vendors lining the street. And your job is to convince the people in the middle to stop at your booth instead of at the one right next to you.

And a logo is one of your first selling points, one of your first convincing arguments why someone should stop at your booth instead of at the one across from you.

A logo serves as one of your first selling points because it’s literally one of the first things people see. Your logo does the heavy labor of making a first impression, and a logo's supposed to make a good first impression, not a "meh" impression and definitely not a bad impression.



What Knowledge Gives You

One last time:

A LOGO’S PURPOSE IS TO IDENTIFY AND PROJECT YOUR BRAND TO YOUR MARKETPLACE.

Knowing this sets a clear criterion for evaluating how much your logo's helping or hurting your business. By understanding what a logo's supposed to do, you can see if your logo is making a great first impression or a terribly first impression, if it's building up your brand or tearing it down, and if it's making you standout or making you get drowned out.

And if you're not sure whether your logo's living up to it's calling our not, use these questions to do a logo audit.

- Does your logo quickly identify you from your competitors?

- Does your logo evoke any emotions and feelings?

- Does your logo evoke emotions and feelings that match your brand?

- Does your logo evoke the emotions and feelings that matter most to your customers and clients?

- Does your logo look like it belongs next to your competitors while still setting you apart from your competitors?

And if you ever need any help with your logo, give us a call.

schedule
your free
consultation

here

recent articles