Remember friction? We learned about it in 6th-grade science class. It’s a force that restricts or stops forward movement.
Is your logo causing friction? Does it contain too many layers and visual elements that it is preventing your brand from moving forward?
More is not always better than less. If it takes your audience more than a second to identify your logo, they’ve already moved on. In a world where we are nearly always connected to a digital device, the battle for that single second of consumers’ attention is fiercer than it’s ever been. Simplicity is your greatest weapon in winning the eyes, and business, of an overwhelmed audience. Simplicity is a friction-fighter.
Let’s consider what some of today’s more iconic brands have done to their icons (logos). Instagram, Nike, and Google are just a few of the brands that have shifted to a flat design. The trend toward a simplified, flat design has a relatively easy explanation: mobile-first communication.
There is so much happening on your screen all at once: pop-up ads, interstitials, pre-rolls, scrolling captions….
And all of it is creating, you guessed it: friction. It’s preventing your audience from moving forward with your brand and gathering the information they really need and want from you.
A more simplified, clean logo helps reduce that friction.
It’s easier for your audience to find and process your logo when you remove the extra layers and design elements. A simple logo design also allows your brand to flow seamlessly from physical delivery on products and signage to desktop digital delivery to mobile delivery, all while retaining brand consistency and high recognizability.
A simple design is not a boring design.
A well-designed logo can provide the mental break we’ve been looking for amid all the digital clutter. It can make us feel calmer and associate those feelings with your brand. It can help us more clearly understand who you are and what you do. It can also stand the test of time.
The recent kerfuffle over the Guitar Center logo redesign is a good example of the flexibility brands, even legacy brands, need to have as they evolve.
The original Guitar Center logo, in use since an employee hand-drew it in the 1960s, employed a stylized “G” that was meant to resemble a guitar. The actual result was a guitar that did very little to resemble a “G.” However, much like the typographical error that led to “Lands’ End” rather than “Land’s End”, the product spoke for itself, and the logo became simply a quirky representation of a quality brand.
Earlier this year, Guitar Center adapted the original logo; leaving the guitar in place but adding an actual “G” to the company’s name. The result is much easier to read for a consumer who spends less than one second viewing content as they scroll past. That simplification reduced friction and helped the audience recognize the brand in a literal instant.
It may be time to reassess your logo and see if it stands up to the 21st-century challenges of mobile-first design. Here are some tips for working with your designer to update your logo:
- Know your brand story. This isn’t your company history – this is the story of how your brand fulfills a need for your customer. It’s always customer-centric and not about you. Your logo needs to reflect your story. If you haven’t clearly defined your story, and shared it with your designer, your logo and your brand will be out of sync with customers’ expectations.
- Think strategically. Develop a consumer persona based on actual data, not simply a gut feeling. Establish some benchmarks that you’ll measure your overall branding against, then factor how your logo plays into those benchmarks. Designing with your strategic goals in mind makes your logo an integral part of your success.
- Do your homework. What do you know about your consumer culture (habits, traditions, values)? What is their path to purchase? Who are your competitors and who are your peers? How do you compare to them? The better you understand your own brand, and its competitive environment, the more you can share with your designer, which will yield a more effective logo design.
- Use your logo consistently. Talk to your designer about the various applications of your logo and your color palette. Think about:
- printed, online, in-motion, apparel, signage, packaging, etc. uses of your logo. Your designer will provide you with the most effective file types for each use.
- specific color recommendations based on different applications.
- simplified and truncated versions of the logo for specialty purposes. A qualified designer will be prepared to develop these options for you to ensure the effectiveness and consistency you need.
- a style guide for you showing you when and how to use the different iterations of your logo for maximum impact.
We live in a visual world, fully connected to our pocket-sized devices. It’s time to design for it.
Our design and branding team will work with you to develop an integrated branding system that helps you achieve your digital marketing goals. One simple call to ACS Creative is all it takes to remove friction and future-proof your branding.