A logo must communicate a company’s credibility, which leads to visitor engagement, trust and ultimately the ability of a company to be more persuasive. Beyond a bad website, bad logos can sabotage even the simplest forms of marketing communications, such as business cards. Imagine if 90% of a company’s potential customers were turned off by the company’s business card.

In Logo Design and Branding, we address the problem of engagement, longevity, and persuasion in logo design and branding by offering a solution: credibility-based logo design and branding. Credible means “expert” and “trustworthy.” If the company logo symbolizes the company business, voila: It says the company may be an “expert” in this business. “Trustworthy” is communicated in the design motif given to the company business symbol. “Branding” drives this company image home in all areas a business can find to place the logo.

The Logo Planning Questionnaire
First off, begin with my time-tested Logo Planning Questionnaire. This will serve to define the richest credibility traits for use in your client Logo Planning Report (aka Design Brief). Normally the designer charged with developing the logo will give it to the business decision-maker.

  • How would you describe your company/business, products/services to someone who has no knowledge of their existence?
  • What makes your company, business and products/services unique in your field of expertise? Why do people do business with you?
  • What are your greatest strengths/attributes?
  • How do your customers perceive you now? What do you need to change?
  • How do you differentiate your company from your competitors? In contrast, describe your most crucial competitor. What can you do to be different, if necessary?
  • List all the touchpoints where your present logo appears now, such as stationery, business cards, signs, trucks, websites. Are there any touchpoints you could be using with your new logo but are not now?

It’s important in planning your logo to start off right. There are three basic systems that most logos fit into: (1) company alphabet letters like IBM; (2) name only, like Exxon; and (3) logo symbol over the company name, (think Continental Airlines and United Way). This system allows the planned credibility traits to be communicated with simplicity and impact in a solid form. Thus, learning from my mentor Saul Bass, I always rule out the first two logo systems because they limit the ability to project credibility attributes in the logo symbol. The more one tries to add the company’s expertise or trustworthy traits to monograms or the name only, the less the logo communicates. Also, monogram logos are hard to establish and are expensive to do.

Logo Variations
Think about how the logo is to be implemented, and what variations will be required. For an airline, there are long-distance viewing requirements. There is signage in the airport and at check-in. There are ramp vehicles and workers in overalls. There are flight attendant uniforms. These are opportunities for logo communication but they must be large enough or proximate enough in use and design to be seen.

All of these applications are in addition to the website, business cards, letterhead, advertising, etc. Think about these applications when you’re creating or approving the logo and how it will be applied.

Credible Colors
You’re working with credibility-based logo design principles that include desired traits even in color. In this sense, the color chosen emphasizes, or may complement, a credibility trait. Here are some connotations of colors relative to credibility-based logo design communication:

Red: Symbolizes love, strength, sex, vibrancy, passion, energy, vitality, power. Is a good accent color.
Blue: Symbolizes electronics, cooling, calming, protecting, security, authority, boldness, seriousness.
Brown: Symbolizes the earth, nature, home, wood, leather, richness, politeness, helpfulness, effectiveness.
Black: Symbolizes authority, power, boldness. Is classic and corporate.
Grey: Symbolizes authority, practicality, earnestness, creativity. Is a traditional business or corporate color.
White: Symbolizes refinement, purity, devotion, contemporary, sterility (medical field).
Yellow: Symbolizes warmth, sunshine, cheer, happiness.
Purple: Symbolizes royalty, high class, luxury, wealth, sophistication.
Green: Symbolizes health, fertility, freedom, freshness, healing, calm, quiet, tranquility.

Posted by How Design