Developing a brand is key to the sustainability of any business. Generic products or services have much at risk because the consumer preferences are moving towards those who have a recall. It is cliché to say that branding is a way to achieve that recall. There is more to that. It’s about creating a long lasting trust. Your business can no longer tread on market volumes only. You need to have an image too. Branding is a complicated science now. There are both internal and external elements of it. However an entire branding exercise begins with the creation of your identity. In other words – your logo.
Companies spend a lot of time and resources in choosing the right name and subsequently the right logo. The primary objective behind it is to deliver the core message behind your brand and of course, to stand apart from the crowd. If you are an IT or a software company, it is crucial for you to brand yourself right, considering the ocean of similar brands you have to compete with. Your innovation or differentiating factor has to be portrayed much like the tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, Xerox, IBM, Google etc. which are already “there”. But unlike the biggies, you have a greater challenge because you have to prove yourself from the word go. The idea is to highlight that particular attribute that sets you apart from the lot and to choose an icon or a graphic that creates an instant recall value in the minds of your target audience.
Now let me take you through a comprehensive step by step process of designing a quintessential IT/software logo:
STEP 1: Know yourself: When we talk about technology, there are three most probables that hit our mind- Innovative, Advance and Evolving. Many of the IT spearheads would say that a tech logo should be dynamic and at the same time, subdued to suit the seriousness of their business. However, not every company works on the same principle, each cannot be represented with the same face. You have got to find out that one attribute that distinguishes your organization from the rest, or if at all it is supposed to make any breakthrough in the industry. So before we start any sketch work, dive into the history of the company and brace your surgical knives, examine the anatomy of the organization and find the essence of all that you want to communicate to your audience. Ultimately, jot down these essential attributes and make the design revolve around them. Remember, your logo is your face and the audience hates duplicates, so make it different.
STEP 2: Define the colors: Once you have identified the theme of your company’s message, you need to incorporate the right colors to compliment that. For example if the theme of your company is speed, then you can choose colors like red, yellow that symbolize speed and energy. Companies like Xerox, Mozilla have used them. If it has something to do more with machines/hardware then you can use colors like black, blue or silver that are used by most tech companies like IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Nokia, Motorola etc. These are also the most safe to use colors for a tech company. Black signifies the simplicity and seriousness of the technology, Blue extends trust and silver emphasizes on the complex, advance and ever-evolving nature of the machines.
STEP 3: Shape the body: A very important constituent of a logo is the actual body of it. Talking about computers, the pioneers of tech have come a long way in shaping the identities of their brands. Early day examples like Apple’s black and white sketch of Newton sitting under a tree, Cannon’s depiction of Buddhist figurines, to Nokia’s fish, the tech logos prior to the digital age were quite ghastly. With time these companies realized the importance of precision, simplicity and aptness in depiction and so we have the most simplistic, sophisticated logos in the tech world today. The hottest trend right now is the use of simple and elegant symbols alongside custom typography. However, there may be an urge to humanize the brand. MailChimp’s ‘monkey with a cap’ or Mozilla’s ‘globe engulfed in a fire releasing fox’ are good examples of creativity. One learning from these examples could be that unless your brandname demands it or you really have a path breaking idea to communicate, refrain from artsy logos. Keep it simple and use bold or 3 dimensional typographs to depict an advance and robust technology.
STEP 4: Use the space well: Its a good idea to design logos using negative space by applying the technique of reverse lettering like that of the YouTube which is simple, yet eye catching. If your tagline is not too lengthy you can work it in your logo like that of LG (Life’s good). Also enhancing one of the characters of the typograph like that of the O in NORTEL is a time tested idea.
STEP 5: Test it with your audience: It is always advisable to test the logo with your target audience so you can have a first hand opinion of your brand recall value and receptability. Also if you’re a global marketer it is important to ensure if your brand logo is not in conflict with any community’s values.
Brand experts will tell you that designing of an identity is not as subjective as it is thought to be. Of course you will seek an opinion from different team members in your company before zeroing down to one that you feel is right for you. Those opinions may differ, sometimes drastically. That is why this testing has to be controlled properly so that results are effective and you end up choosing the best.
To learn more about Tech Logos, click here: http://www.designmantic.com/industry/computer-logos.php