Logo Design News This Week (4.21)

Time for another look back at the news from the world of logo design. Here’s what we noticed over the past seven days…

Polska Logo DesignLet’s start today with a new logo for the country of Poland. (Coincidentally we reported on a similar Polish logo last week.) It appears that this logo is to be used to promote Poland’s business opportunities, rather than tourism. We like a lot of things about this logo, particularly the traditional Polish colors and the visual connection to the Solidarity movement of the late 80s and 90s. But we have to admit we are completely baffled by the tagline: Spring Into. Into what, exactly? And what’s with the stylized spring in the first place?

If you like the NFL and the Simpsons, then you will like this.

Hershey's Logo Design ControversyWe love logo controversies and we saw a couple this week. First, the Hershey Chocolate Company is suing a political candidate for using a logo that looks just a little too much like a certain chocolate bar’s mark. Rightly so, in our judgement. Second, Denny’s is going after a sensual massage business that is using a logo that looks as if it was copied directly from one of their menus (warning: potentially offensive content at link). Given the type of business involved, it is no surprise that Denny’s has taken action to stop the infringement of their brand.

Our friends at BusinessLogos take a look at the logo created for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landing.

MTV Bike Logo DesignWe love bicycles. And we’re pretty big fans of logo design too. So when the two things come together, we get pretty excited. Like this design project where Jennifer Beatty is creating 100 works of art from bicycle parts. Several of her creations are logos, including the one show here, made from a bicycle chain. And that’s not all from the bike logo world. We also saw this new logo for Revolutions Bike Shop which appears to be hand drawn and lettered. It’s a little trendy, but we like the design overall and think it will appeal to their customer base.

We could have filed this under logo controversies, but include it as a separate item instead. The new soccer club in Louisville unveiled a logo that a few designers hated, then announced a contest for a new logo. We’re looking forward to seeing how this turns out, but hopes are not exactly high.

Google World Cup Logo DesignGoogle celebrated the beginning of the biggest sporting event in the world, aka The World Cup, with a new animated logo. We really like that big, thick font and think Google ought to consider keeping it.

 

That’s it for this week. Did we miss anything? Let us know.

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15 Questions to Ask about Your Logo Design, Part II

Last week we posed the first seven of fifteen questions you should ask about your logo design, whether you already have a logo, or are considering a new logo design. These questions will help you make sure that what you end up with is right for your business or product. You’ll find the fist seven questions here (go and read those first). The last eight questions are asked below:

#8. Does your logo convey your brand personality?
Your company brand should stand for something—an idea or value that you believe in and deliver. In addition to that, you probably deliver your service with a particular attitude. Let’s think through a couple of examples to show what we mean:

Let’s first consider a few large consumer oriented brands that demonstrate how a logo can convey personality. In the world of video games, there are a wide variety of games targeted at different groups of customers. From Donkey Kong (a game targeted at kids) to Halo (a violent first-person shooter game), game logos are brilliantly designed to appeal to their target audiences.

One caveat: a lot of gaming logos are complex and don’t follow some of the suggestions above. That’s okay, these designs are appropriate for their audiences, just as your logo should be appropriate for yours.

Let’s start with a recent game that while not limited to younger gamers, clearly is targeted at children and pre-teens: Super Mario 3D World. This game features several cartoon characters in a world of magic mushrooms, coins, and bells, where Mario has to rescue a “Sprixie” from the cartoon bad guy Bowser. The brand personality is young, colorful, fun, and perhaps just a little crazy. And the logo reflects that well. Take a look:

Super Mario Logo Design

Now consider a different soft of game that targets an older, more mature audience: HALO. HALO is a first person shooter where the player tries to kill the bad guys set in a fictional future world where humans are battling religious aliens (called the Covenant) for survival. The action is semi-realistic and violent. The game is clearly intended for an audience more mature than that of Mario World. And again, the logo clearly reflects the difference:

HALO Logo Design

Now imagine HALO’s logo designed in the Mario World font and colors. Or a Mario World logo with the stark cold lettering of the HALO logo. They simply wouldn’t work because they wouldn’t accurately reflect the brand personalities.

Now take another look at your logo. What is the brand personality your logo should be communicating. How is it doing?

#9. Does your logo communicate an idea?
A few weeks ago we wrote a bit about logos that communicate a specific story or idea—and how that might be a good thing for your logo. We’re not going to repeat that discussion here, except to say that it can be a visual help to your customers if your logo design includes this kind of visual short hand.

Some well-known logos that do this include FedEx, which has a forward pointing arrow within its design.

FedEx Logo Design

Chick-Fil-A ingeniously turns the Capital C into a chicken, reminding the customer who sees the logo that this is a chicken restaurant. In fact, when you see this logo, your eye “reads” the chicken icon before the rest of the logo, enhancing recognition.

Chick-fil-a Logo Design

One last example for the Pittsburgh Zoo. At first glance you see the tree, then you see the gorilla and the lioness. Nice.

Pittsburgh Zoo Logo Design

For some reason our brains love these visual brain-teasers. And because your mind spends extra time figuring out the logo, it helps customers remember and like the design.

#10. If your logo doesn’t communicate an idea, what does it communicate?
While having a logo that quickly suggests an idea can be a good thing, that’s not the only option for your design. And in fact, it may not be the best option, especially if your logo needs to represent more than one idea. Disney and Proctor and Gamble have these kinds of logos.

Perhaps your logo simply needs to suggest a feeling of confidence or solitude. These kinds of things may be achieved by a great name and a color, or possibly by a simple icon (that doesn’t suggest a second meaning). This is the kind of thing we see a lot with consultants, attorneys, and investment brokers.

Another example may be helpful. Think of a large books store that sells non-fiction, fiction, poetry, magazines, study helps, and picture books. They sell mysteries and romance, as well as westerns and science fiction. And they sell a few games, note cards, and even fancy chocolate. What kind of logo can represent all of these products?

Waterstones Logo Design

Waterstones, a large British book retailer (much like Barnes & Noble in the U.S.), has a very simple, font only logo. Nothing to indicate what kind of books you might find on their shelves. Rather their simple designs are effective at representing the wide variety of products you’ll find at these stores.

So what is your logo communicating with its colors, font, and icon (if you have one)?

#11. Does your logo stand out from your competitors?
The last thing you want is a logo design that looks to similar to your competitors. Especially if you are competing with other small companies in a small market.

Even big companies with similar products tend to carve out a unique space when it comes to their logos. Think of grocery stores, most of which carry the exact same products and very nearly the same prices. One of the only ways they have to differentiate is through the name over the door and the design of their logo.

The same is true for big brands selling commodities like Soda. Again, the main visual difference (and perhaps the only real difference) is the logo on the package.

Big businesses know this well. But what about small businesses?

In our hometown there are dozens of landscaping companies that offer the same kinds of services: lawn mowing, trimming, weed removal and fertilization. Even the flyers they use to promote their businesses look the same. One year we may hire AAA Landscaping to work in our yard, while the next year it’s Rick’s Landscaping. And to be quite honest, we’re not sure we’ve done it.

So if you are competing against similar companies offering similar services, does your name and logo create a unique visual reminder of who you are and what you do?

#12. Is your logo memorable?
This one is important, because even if you answer all of the above questions positively, have a great design, the right colors, and a beautiful logo, if people don’t remember it, you’ve failed.

Your logo’s job is to get noticed, liked, and remembered. That’s it.

So, what do people remember about your design?

#13. Are you asking your logo to do too much?
Your logo’s job is to get noticed and remembered. That’s about it. Bonus points if it includes a double meaning or represents a broad range of products or services.

Far too often, small business owners want their logo to do the work of a salesman too. They want to logo to explain what products a company has to offer. Or to explain the origin of the company. Or, in the case of cities and countries with logos, attract new travelers by helping them see all the unique things the area has to offer.

A logo simply can’t do all of this stuff. Entire websites often fail to do this well and they have unlimited space for graphics and content. How in the world is a logo supposed to do everything that a website or live salesperson often fails to do?

Keep it simple. A great name. A simple design that can represent the brand idea. One or two colors. Nothing extra.

What are you asking your logo design to do, that it can’t?

#14. Do people compliment your logo?
If you answered yes to this question, that’s a good sign. But go a step farther. Do your customers compliment your logo design? It’s one thing if your mother or best-friend likes the design. Quite another if customers like it—and return again and again because they remember it.

#15. If you were starting your business today, is this the logo you would choose?
This may be the most telling question of the entire list. Sometimes a business has a logo that is has outgrown. Or the company has changed its products or even its brand personality. A company that once appealed mainly to young people, may now be trying to appeal to the same customers as they grow older. Customers may become more sophisticated, styles change. And while your logo shouldn’t chase trends (see question #2), it should stay relevant.

So if you were sitting with your designer today and she presented your current logo as an option for your business, would you be enthusiastic about using it? Does it accurately represent your business or products? If yes, then you are in great shape.

If you answer no, it might be time to think about updating or creating an entirely new logo. Of course, we like to think that our Logomaker software could solve your problem. But if not, you might want to hire a live logo design (like the talented designers at Logodesign.com).

Either way, you deserve a logo that represents your business today.

Do you have a question you would recommend asking about your logo design? If so, let us know what it is in the comments.

 

 

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11 Quotes from [the] Dave Thomas about Hard Work and Success

Dave Thomas Startup QuotesAs one of the most recognizable success stories of the American Dream, we know the late Dave Thomas as the grandfatherly figure who wanted to share his food with us. For longer than a decade, he regularly appeared on our TVs wearing a red tie and holding a hamburger spatula. While we offer most of our quotable entrepreneurs the respect of using their surname, Dave has earned the honor and status of first-name-only.

Dave grew up in the restaurant business, getting his first job at age 12. He didn’t finish high school and as a teenager moved from one food franchise to another until he enlisted in the U.S. Army during the Korean War where he served as a mess sergeant (later promoted to staff sergeant) responsible for feeding 2000 soldiers on a daily basis.

Dave opened Wendy’s in 1969 using his 25 years of experience to guide his business choices. After hitting a few bumps in the mid-80s due to failed marketing campaigns, the franchise regained steam when Dave took over as spokesperson for his company. The decision to become the face of his own company resulted in him appearing in over 800 commercials, primarily during the 90s. Another lesson learned.

Take it from someone who worked his entire life and made his own startup success from scratch:

“You earn your reputation by the things you do every day.”

“What’s the secret to success? It’s no secret. You need a winning attitude, honesty and integrity, and a burning desire to succeed.”

“There’s no one to stop you but yourself.”

“You can do what you want to do. You can be what you want to be.”

“I think the harder you work, the more luck you have.”

“If there are things you don’t like in the world you grew up in, make your own life different.”

“Hard work is good for the soul, and it keeps you from feeling sorry for yourself because you don’t have time.”

“Take care of your business and your business will take care of you.”

“Share your success and help others succeed. Give everyone a chance to have a piece of the pie. If the pie’s not big enough, make a bigger pie.”

“Whether you sell hamburgers or computers, we’re all in the customer service business. Our goal must be to exceed our customers’ expectations every day.”

“Get all the education you can. Who knows what more I could have achieved if I’d stayed in school and went to college? The possibilities are endless when you have an education.”

 –Dave Thomas, Founder, Wendy’s

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Logo Design News This Week (4.20)

And just like that, it’s Friday again and that means the time is right for another look back at the most interesting bits of news from the world of logo design. Here’s what we noticed this week:

Superbowl 50 Logo DesignBig logo news this week from the NFL as they released the logo for the 50th Superbowl to be played in 2016. For those keeping score at home, that’s still a year and a half away. The 50th version of the big game’s logo is notable for dropping the Roman numerals in it’s typeface—opting to use 50 instead of an L. In addition, the logo appears to have two versions, one is clean, the other is hooped up with a bunch of landmarks from the San Francisco area. We are partial to the cleaner version.

In other big league sports identity news: Jerry West is clearly not happy about being the NBA logo, but not being the NBA logo.

More sports news: this leaked a few weeks ago (and we showed it to you then) but the ACC has officially unveiled their new logo.

New Hootsuite Logo DesignSocial media player Hootsuite updated their logo this week, dropping the shading, color, and other elements that gave the design some depth, opting rather for a flattened, all-black version. Flattened logos are clearly a trend as online companies run away from the web 2.0 look and embrace whatever they call this new trend (are we to web 4.0 yet?).

And speaking of trends, recently LogoLounge released their trends report for 2014 outlining what they say are the most common trends in identity design over the past year. Extra link: we liked this critique of the whole idea of the trends report.

Museum of Civil War Logo DesignThis week was the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing of Allied forces at Normandy. But it was another war with American involvement that saw a new logo this week. The Museum of the Civil War introduced this new mark, featuring three characters representing several different constituencies from the time—women, slaves, soldiers, Union, Rebels, civilians, and so on. The colors were also picked to suggest peace (blue), black (discipline), and red (blood).

This isn’t exactly news, but it did pop up on our radar this week… An ad (reportedly from 2000 but it looks older than that) for a logo design contest for Sinn Fein, the Irish terror org turned legitimate political party. The prize was £500, which was a bit more then than it is today.

Penguin Random House Logo DesignPenguin Random House, which is the publishing conglomerate formed when these two companies joined last year finally has their new logo. This design is more of a corporate umbrella logo, rather than a mark that will appear on books and other products, so the designer made it simple so it could be paired with product logos. We like the simpleness of the solution and the two lines at the sides, which could be book ends. Too see how the logo works with other product lines, click the link. We really like how this design works with the other company marks.

We saw a lot of links to this item: Pop star Kesha has a new logo, this time without the $ replacing the S in her name.

New LA Clippers Logo DesignA couple of funny news items to share with you: First, with the news that Steve Ballmer has purchased the LA Clippers for $2 Billion, came this proposed new logo for the team featuring Clippy, the one-time office mascot, who Microsoft Office users from the turn of the century will recognize with fondness or derision. Second, a prankster in Edinburgh is making the Edinburgh Trams logo more “honest” by painting out the design that hints that the system is an interconnecting series of trams and leaving the single, half line that better represents what the tram line actually has—one line that doesn’t quite run the length of the town. The original Tram logo is quite good (design-wise), but unfortunately doesn’t accurately represent the system, so the prank logo may be the better solution. You can see both logos here.

WE, a television channel that was once known as Women’s Entertainment, has dropped the old name in favor of the shortened moniker: WE. And they have a new logo.

Google Solidarity Logo DesignWe expected to see a logo celebrating the 70th anniversary of D-Day, but as is often the case, Google didn’t do that. We did see this design in remembrance of the Solidarity movement in Poland and the 25th anniversary of free elections in Poland, among a few others.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.

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15 Questions to Ask about Your Logo Design, Part I

Whether you already have a logo, or are considering a new logo design, you’ll want to make sure that what you end up with is right for your business or product. Perhaps your current logo just doesn’t seem to fit any more. Possibly it needs an update. Or maybe you are starting your search for a great logo design and want to make sure you end up with a logo that will last for years.

We’d like to help.

We’ve put together this short list of fifteen questions that every small business owner (or anyone else with a logo) should ask about their logo—to help make sure that the logo you end up with is right for your business. We’ve posted the fist seven questions here, and will post the last eight next week. Let’s get started:

#1. Is your logo design professional?
By asking this, we don’t mean was it designed by a professional. We’ve seen too many “professional” logo designers whose work looks cheap or unappealing. And we’ve seen thousands of logos made with our do-it-yourself logo design tool that look very professional.

Rather, we are asking, does it make your business look competent.

To illustrate, let’s take a look at a few examples. A small business owner running a confectionary or candy store might choose a logo that is whimsical and fun—something like the Willy Wonka logo would be perfect.

Willy Wonka Logo Design

But as good as it is, that logo design is already taken, so we’ve got to come up with something else. The products our confectioner sells are meant to be eaten and enjoyed in the moment. The store will be full of colorful products and enticing treats—think chocolate bars and gummy bears. A logo design that is fun or even cute is perfectly appropriate and professional (these logos aren’t terribly good, but they illustrate the point).

Surprise Candy Logo Design

But try this same logo design for a law firm or an investment service and the message is completely unprofessional. In fact, it would be a branding disaster.

Dewey, Cheatam and Howe Logo Design

Nobody wants a lawyer who is playful and fun. Instead you want someone who is educated, hard working, and smart. A law firm wants to communicate its seriousness and capabilities with its logo. So the partners would be better off with a logo that conveys tradition and capability.

Make sure whatever logo design you choose, it helps you look competent and professional.

#2. Is your logo too trendy?
Every year, the folks at Logolounge release a report on the latest design trends they see in the thousands of logos that are uploaded to their site each year. Despite the shear numbers of new logos created every year, there are still several fashions or trends that seem to dominate the work done by hundreds of different designers.

Some of the trends are driven by the technologies designers use (like design programs that make it easy to create shadows or transparencies to show depth). Others trends are driven by the technologies used by customers (like the simplified logo favicons that show up near the URL in a browser).

No matter what the reason for the trend, designers like to create new designs that feel hip and new. Which is great for them, but might not be so good for your logo. A trendy logo might look great today, but in a few months or years will start to feel dated—a bit like bell-bottom jeans, bright neons shirts, and flannel grunge fashions.

Instead, if possible, your logo should be as timeless as possible (think the Golden Arches for McDonald’s or the target-like rings in Tide’s logo). When you have a logo that doesn’t need to be updated as the trends change, you will save time and money as well as have a brand that stays fresh and relevant.

#3. Does your logo appeal to your customers?
This question is critical to your business success. It’s harder to achieve than you might expect. Most small business owners and startup entrepreneurs choose a logo design based on the ideas, icons, and colors that appeal most to them (the business owner). The result is a logo that the owner loves, but which might not actually attract new customers.

It might be helpful to illustrate this with an example: Let’s imagine that Angela is a computer technology whiz. She has become an expert at finding and eliminating viruses, and setting up email systems, websites, and more. Now she’s ready to start her own business helping others with their computer problems. Angela knows a lot about computers so she chooses a very modern, technical-looking logo that reflects her computer genius.

But Angela’s customers are not computer experts. The very people who need her help don’t know anything about computers and aren’t at all comfortable with technology. Instead of being attracted to a techy logo, they may be turned off by a design that would appeal to someone like Angela.

Angela needs a logo that appeals to her customers. So when she chooses her logo design, she would be wise to show it to as many of her customers as possible and ask them how they feel about it and what it conveys.

Logos need to appeal to customers first. Business owners last.

#4. Does your logo design have too many colors?
For some reason we don’t really understand, small business owners have a thing for creating logos with lots of colors. Three. Four. More. Take a look at your logo.

Now take a look at the logos of your favorite brands. We’ve shown Coca-Cola, IBM, and Target here. You can think of others if you’d like. What do you see?

Coca-cola Logo Design

IBM Logo Design

 

Target Logo Design

 

Most large and successful companies have logos that use just one color. We’re not saying that having a single-color logo will guarantee your success. But large companies are very effective communicators. They have big budgets to spend on advertising featuring their logos. And they’ve learned that simple logos are easier to remember than complex designs. On of the easiest ways to make your logo simpler is to use as few colors as possible.

Of the 50 most valuable brands in the world, 26 use just one color in their logo. 48 use two colors or less. The exceptions are Google and Microsoft. All of them have logos that are easily recognized when shown in only black and white.

Can your logo be simplified by using fewer colors?

#5. Does your logo design have unnecessary elements?
The software that professional designers use to create a logo comes with a lot of powerful features that allow designers to do some really cool things with their designs. They can add effects that make your logo look like metal (this was a common trend a few years back). They can add reflections and jelly effects that make your design look like it’s three dimensional. They can add shadows and transparencies.

But your logo may not need any of these effects to be a great logo. In fact, adding more than one may completely ruin your design. So before settling on a mark that includes any of these unnecessary elements, make sure you see a version without them as well.

And while we’re on the subject of unnecessary elements, please note that your logo design doesn’t need to include legal words like Inc, LLC, or Corp, even if the state where you incorporate requires you to use a legal term wherever your use your company name. (Your logo includes your company name, but it is not your company name—does that make sense?) Don’t believe us? Think back to those big corporate logos you like (and that we linked to above). Not one of them uses the word Corp. or Incorporated in their logo, even though all of them are corporations.

Like using fewer colors, using fewer unnecessary elements can make your logo more appealing and easier to remember.

#6. Does your logo work on a business card? Favicon?
This is really a question about the size of your logo. Is it recognizable when it is small? On a business card, your logo may be as small as just ½ inch wide. Sadly, when you shrink some designs down to that size, they look a bit more like a smudge of ink than an actual icon. Even more challenging is shrinking your logo to the size of a favicon (that’s the tiny logo you see in the URL address bar in your browser). Favicons measure just 16 pixels by 16 pixels, so they are very small. Does your logo design look good at that size? Could it?

#7. Where is your logo used the most?
Closely related to the previous suggestion is the question of where else you use your logo? Will your logo be printed on a T-shirt or embroidered on a hat? Will your logo appear on posters or billboards? Will you mostly use it online—on your website, or in an email footer? All of these uses will require design files of different sizes and types.

When you get your logo design, make sure you also get the appropriate files for the different uses. At the very least, get large and small JPG files for use online, large and small PNGs to use when the background color is something other than white (PNG files are transparent so the background will show through the “holes” in your logo), and an EPS file of your logo. The EPS file is a vector file that can be made larger or smaller without losing the resolution so your logo won’t look bitmapped when you put it on a poster. Most printers and embroiderers will require a vector file when working with your logo.

Knowing where you will be using your logo will help you know which kinds of files to request from your designer or logo design tool.

Note: the Logomaker software provides all of these files and more when you purchase high-resolution files.

That’s a lot to think about. So far we’ve covered seven questions, even though we promised fifteen. But we’ve been told that no one has time to read long articles these days, so stay tuned until next week for the last eight questions to ask about your logo design.

UPDATED: Read the last eight questions you should ask about your logo design here.

In the mean time, do you have a question to add? Let us know what it is in the comments.

 

 

Posted in Branding, Logo Design Basics, Logos | Tagged | 1 Comment

15 Inspirational Jim Rohn Quotes to Guide your Success

Jim Rohn Startup QuotesWe’ve all heard the saying “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Do you know who said it first? The late Emanuel James Rohn called himself an Idaho farm boy who made it to Beverly Hills and it all started out working as a stock clerk for Sears. A public speaking opportunity for the Rotary Club changed the trajectory of his life and by the end of his career, he was known worldwide as a major motivational figure. We could attribute to him the credit of unofficial founder of the personal-development industry as we know it. Some of the most familiar self-help icons today have named Rohn as their inspiration, including life coach Tony Robbins and the author of the Chicken Soup book series, Jack Canfield.

For more than 40 years, Rohn conducted seminars and personal development workshops on the basic human behaviors that most affect personal and business performance. You may be surprised to find that some of the most familiar quotes you’ve heard about entrepreneurship or success and personal growth actually came from Rohn. Here are a few of the things hes said that will inspire owners of startups and small businesses:

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”

“Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems; wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges; wish for more wisdom.”

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

“Don’t join an easy crowd. You won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform and achieve are high.”

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”

“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.”

“The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized—never knowing.”

“The greatest reward in becoming a millionaire is not the amount of money that you earn. It is the kind of person that you have to become to become a millionaire in the first place.”

“You must either modify your dreams or magnify your skills.”

“The ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them.”

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure.”

“You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.”

“If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles.”

—Jim Rohn, Author, Speaker, Personal Development Expert

 

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Logo Design News This Week (4.19)

We’ve come to the end of another week, which means it’s time to take another look back at the news from the world of logo design. As we come to the beginning of summer, new logo announcements have slowed just a bit as brand managers leave for a few days at the beach. But we’ve stayed valiantly on to share this update with you. Take a look at what we saw:

New Disney Channel Logo DesignThe biggest news by far this week was the announcement of an updated logo design for the Disney Channel. And it’s a good one. Where the old logo made primarily of Mickey Mouse’s head might lead a viewer to think she was about to watch cartoons, the new logo brings the channel’s logo more in line with other Disney properties, shrinking the large Mickey  icon into a small dot on the I in Disney. This new logo is more appropriate for the various kinds of programming the Disney creates beyond cartoons. A solid improvement.

Who created the Pepsi logo? Nobody knows but it might have been Bayard Wootten.

New Google Logo Design Before and AfterThe other big logo design news was an update that almost isn’t. Google made a tiny (and when we say tiny, we may be exaggerating that a bit, it’s not really noticeable until you see the logos on top of each other) update to their logo this week. The update moves the second letter G over one pixel and the letter L up and over one pixel. The letter E must be feeling left out. This change is so trivial it’s a surprise anyone even noticed—and yet it has been mentioned hundreds of times in the press this week. Despite the change, Google’s logo remains pretty bad from a design stand-point, but highly recognizable from the consumer’s stand point. Which in the end is exactly what a logo is supposed to be.

Equally Wed, the magazine that supports marriage equality celebrated its fourth birthday with a new logo design.

Earlier this yearConstantine College Logo Design we told you about the dust-up at Constantine College which unveiled a new logo only to be told the image on the logo was the face of Hadrian, a different Roman emperor. So it was back to the drawing board (quite literally) for a new logo for the school, which they unveiled this week. The new logo features several icons associated with the Roman empire, but not Constantine. All of which is too bad, because the first logo featuring Hadrian was a much more memorable design. It’s too bad a pesky professor knew just a little too much about history and spoiled (or saved, depending on your standpoint) the logo.

 

A nice tribute to designer Massimo Vignelli, who died this week. Vignelli is famous for designing the old American Airlines logo and the Mobile logo, among many others.

Candian Hockey Championship Logo DesignThe Canadian Hockey League unveiled a new logo for the 2015 Mastercard Memorial Cup. The new logo features the cup (a trophy that goes to the winner of the champions of the Ontario Hockey League, the Western Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junion Hockey League) standing on a rampart as part of a shield with another rampart. Clearly someone wants us to notice the connection between the game held in Quebec and the walled city’s ramparts. Message received.

 

A cool collection of imaginary baseball stadium logos. The stadiums are real, the logos, unfortunately, are not.

Rachel Carson Google Logo DesignTragically, Google decided not to honor fallen soldiers this year with a logo for Decoration or Memorial Day—Come on Google! But they did post this logo honoring Rachel Carson who is known as the author of Silent Spring and for her campaign to eradicate DDT use through out the world. She saved bald eagles from extinction, but critics argue she has harmed millions of African children by vilifying an effective mosquito killer. So there’s that.

Each week we post our round-up and wonder, does anyone even read this stuff? If you read and like it, will you let us know with a comment? And if we missed anything, let us know that too!

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6 Things Your Brand (and Logo Design) Can Learn from Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga Lessons on Branding and Logo DesignLove her or hate her, there’s no arguing with the fact that Lady Gaga knows how to get attention. Lots of it. Her Monster Ball Tour played to more than two and a half million fans and grossed close to a quarter billion dollars. She’s had three #1 hits on the Billboard Charts—her song, “Born This Way” debuted at #1 and stayed there for six weeks (something only four other artists have managed to do). In 2011, she claimed the top spot on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list (replacing Oprah).

When it comes to getting noticed, Lady Gaga is doing a lot of things right.

But this is a blog about logo design and small business. So why the stuff about Lady Gaga? Well, chances are that you’ve got a company or product that needs to be noticed. Wouldn’t it be great to some “Gaga-like” attention for your brand and logo?

So we wrapped our minds around what it is that makes Gaga so successful at creating attention for herself And we discovered a few things that might apply to your logo and brand.

Here are six things Lady Gaga does that you can apply to your logo and brand to start getting more attention, more fans, and make a real impression with your customers:

#1. Get Noticed.
There are literally tens of thousands of bands playing in clubs and venues around the world. But only about 50-70 of them have hits on the Billboard Charts or songs playing on the radio at any given time. And you think your competition is tough.

Most of those bands play the same songs as other bands. Or they play songs that sound like the hits on today’s charts. They write and play music that sounds like the stuff they hear on the radio. They’re trying to break out by doing the same thing as everyone else. Which generally doesn’t work.

Then there’s Lady Gaga.

She writes her own music and creates her own (wild) outfits. She sees every appearance in public as an opportunity to make an impression. She is always doing something new and shocking (that’s her brand). And she does it brilliantly.

Now, how can you apply that to your logo design or brand? Think about the ways you stand out from your competitors. What makes you different? Now take that difference and use it to get attention. Do you offer a guarantee that your competitors can’t match? Does your product have a feature that no one else offers? Do you solve a problem in a unique way? Use the things that make your brand different to get attention.

Wait, you say. My brand isn’t wild and shocking. And I’m not different from my competition. We provide the same service. Even our prices are about the same. How does this apply to me?

If that’s truly the case, then you need to do the hard work of creating a difference (even if it’s just a perceived difference, and not real). Plenty of other companies with boring products do it. A few stand out because they make the effort to stand out. Like Gaga.

Want an example? Check out the English Cut, a custom suit maker on Saville Row. To stand out from their competitors—all of whom offer the same product and many of whom have been around for a hundred years or more—they started a blog. Can you think of anything duller to write about than fabric and hemming techniques? Surprisingly, they’ve found interesting things to say for nearly a decade. Is your industry really any more boring that theirs?

You may not be able to wear crazy costumes or count on photographers following you to the grocery store, but you can find ways to get noticed.

Lady Gaga Find an Audience for Your Brand and Logo2. Find an Audience and Create Fans.
Lady Gaga didn’t start out with millions of fans. After she launched her first album, she went on the road, playing small gay clubs in New York and doing out-of-the-way shows in Europe. She jumped at the chance to open for a reunion tour of New Kids on The Block—not exactly a gig the hot artists were looking for at the time.

Lady Gaga has credited many of those early fans for her phenomenal success. What’s more, she connected with them on MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook. She posted exclusive videos and interviews on her social pages to reward her fans, and they responded to the attention by buying her records and spreading the word.

Well, that’s great for Gaga. But what about your business?

Once you start getting attention from a few customers, you need to connect with them. For small businesses in a retail setting, this may mean getting to know them, offering solutions that are customized to their needs, and simply being friendly. For a business online, that means being available by email, on Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook. It means creating new content on your blog and posting interesting stuff (related to your business) for your fans to read and respond to. It means giving them something extra that your competitors don’t do.

When Pete and Laura Wakeman started opening Great Harvest bakeries across the western United States, they had the idea of offering a free slice of bread to every customer who came through the door. Giving customers a thick, warm slice of bread smeared with butter or jam, created a host of fans of the company and helped the company grow. Today, there are hundreds of bakeries in the towns where Great Harvest has stores, but only one of them is known by their fans for offering a free slice of bread.

Without fans, a pop artist is a nobody. The same is true for your business.

Lessons from Lady Gaga Make an Impression3. Make a Memorable Impression.
One thing is for sure, when you see a Lady Gaga show, you can’t easily forget the spectacle. If you haven’t seen her, jump over to Youtube and watch one of her videos. We’ll wait.

So what did you think? Pretty wild right? For some of us over 45, it’s more than wild, it’s a bit weird. Like Madonna on steroids, then turned up to eleven.

It’s a big show of costumes, lights, smoke, dancers, amazing stage design, and music.

And it’s hard to forget.

Your brand (and logo) need to be just as memorable. When customers come to your website or your store, you need to create an experience for them that is unforgettable.

When Robert Stevens started his company Geek Squad, there were literally thousands of other companies providing computer support. So to make his company more memorable he did a few things that his competitors didn’t. His employees wore a “geek” uniform complete with white socks and black shoes (an idea inspired by the real-world 60s-era geeks in the movie Apollo 13). He put them in uniquely painted VW beetles (an idea inspired by the Batmobile)—all to help them make a memorable impression.

In fact, Stevens never thought of his company as a technology company, but rather as a hospitality business. And everything he did in building the business was aimed at creating an impression customers wouldn’t forget.

Now what about you? Are there parts of your customer experience that you can turn into an experience? Are there things you can do for your customers that will surprise and delight them?

Branding Advice from Lady Gaga: Be authentic4. Don’t fake it.
At first, this one may not make sense. After all, what is Lady Gaga without all of the media created sensationalism? Or without the crazy fashion shows and hoopla?

Well, actually she’s a very talented, classically trained pianist. After graduating from high school, she attended CAP21 (Collaborative Arts Project 21)—a musical arts training conservatory. She was one of 20 students granted early entry. She writes her own songs. What’s more, she reportedly practices the piano every day.

Even though the stage persona she has created is contrived, she is, underneath it all an authentically good musician.

This is the most important lesson you can learn from Lady Gaga. No matter what you do to get noticed and make an impression, be authentic. Deliver on the promise of your brand.

If you’re a solo-entrepreneur, don’t pretend to be a bigger company. Don’t promise services or products that you can’t deliver. Don’t make claims that aren’t true.

Be the real thing.

5. Have a Message.
One of the things Lady Gaga’s fans love most about her is her message to them that it’s okay to be different, to be freaks. Little monsters, as she calls them. After all, no one is more freaky than Lady Gaga. Here’s what she said about this in an interview:

“…some friends of mine from New York, they all came out to see my show in New York. And they all said to me, ‘Gaga your fans are all of the misfits. They are all of the kids in school that everybody makes fun of. All of the weird kids, the artistic kids, all the bad ones. ’ And I love that, because that’s who I was. We’re all together and they get it. It’s our own little world. Whether I’ve got a #1 record or nobody knows who the hell I am, I’m going to still make music.”

She built on that theme in a speech at the SXSW conference:

“Any person that has a talent that they believe in, no matter how crazy the idea is, you never know where that crazy idea might lead you,” she said. “Sometimes things that are really, really strange and feel really wrong can really change the world.”

Last year she used her fame to publicize her struggles with weight gain—posting unflattering photos of herself and urging her fans to do the same. Her purpose was to help fans overcome their insecurities, to “inspire bravery” and create a little compassion for people who struggle with similar issues.

The effect was an even deeper connection between Gaga and some of her fans.

Like Lady Gaga, once you have the attention of your fans, you need to have a message. Great brands do this really well. Think of any brand: Nike, Disney, CNN, … What’s the message they communicate?

Nike: Athletic accomplishment
Disney: Magical experiences
CNN: The news where ever it’s happening
Old Navy: Trendy clothing at a low price

And what about a small business. Does this work for them?

Take Logomaker as an example of a small business: we do one thing pretty well—provide easy-to-use software that helps small business owners make their own logos. That’s it. All the other stuff we do (from our weekly logo news updates to our posts on Twitter) is designed to inspire those small business owners to take their new logos and succeed at their dreams.

What’s the message you communicate with your brand and logo design?

Branding Advice from Lady Gaga The Work Is Never Done6. The work is never done.
Lady Gaga started working on her brand way back in 2005, when she left her music conservatory. She performed in nearly empty clubs and venues in underground New York developing her act. She worked with other musicians and learned from them.

And now that she’s rich, famous, and one of the most powerful women in music, she still gets up every day to practice the piano. She understands that every time she steps out in public is another opportunity to get noticed, liked, and remembered. When asked by Rolling Stone magazine about the days she is tired and just wants to take a little time to herself, she said she tells herself, “Bitch, you’re Lady Gaga, you get up and walk the walk today.”

Lesson for your small business? Tell yourself the same thing. Every day you get up and walk the walk. Get noticed. Create memorable experiences. Share your message with your fans and be authentic.

The work is never over.

Note: astute readers will notice that most of this advice is more about creating a brand, than creating a logo design. True enough.

But your logo is the visual entry point to your brand. The feelings and experiences you create with your customers are very closely associated with your logo (as opposed to the look of your waiting room or your Contact Us page. When customers think of you, what they are generally picturing in their minds is your logo.

Of course, many of these messages can apply directly to your logo—choose a design and font that stands out and gets noticed. Use it consistently over time to create a memorable experience for your customers. Always use your logo as an identifier when you communicate anything. And when it comes to making your logo work for you, the work is never done.

Can you think of other lessons from the life of your favorite celebrity that applies to your logo or brand? Tell us about it.

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13 Inspirational Quotes for Entrepreneurs and Startups from Lauren Maillian Bias

Lauren Maillian Bias Startup AdviceAuthor, entrepreneur, and startup advisor Lauren Maillian Bias has accomplished a lot for a woman still in her 20s. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in International Trade and Marketing. At 19, Bias founded a boutique winery that found international attention as an award-winning product. She served as the COO of the winery from inception through the brand’s acquisition in 2011.

Bias is now the Founder and CEO of a strategic marketing and branding consultancy (Luxury Market Branding) and keeps busy by involving herself in variety of other startups, as a key note speaker, and author. Her latest publication, The Path Redefined: Getting to the Top on Your Own Terms, compiles advice and lessons for the business owner and entrepreneur.

“My best advice for an entrepreneur at any stage is to maximize your resources early on to gain as much traction and credibility as possible before seeking funding. The farther along you take your company with outside capital will ensure you the most control and equity stake as you grow.”

“A great brand delivers what it promises and has customers and employees who believe in what the brand stands for and are proud to wear it, use it, and enjoy it.”

“Work harder than expected, do more than you’re asked, always be genuine.”

“Build a culture where people want to work–empower your team to treat your company as if it were their own–give the players on your team a reason to become vested in the growth of your vision.”

“No one gets to keep their place if they aren’t pulling their weight.”

“You stand out naturally when you consistently exceed expectations.”

“Reinventing yourself obviously requires resilience. More importantly, reinventing yourself involves honesty, transparency and excellent communication.”

“After failure and the accompanying humiliation, when the dust settles, no one really cares about what happened–it’s an event that lasted for a blip in time when viewed in hindsight—but everyone will care about how you handled the situation… It speaks to your character, integrity and intelligence.”

“You can’t always go with what you think will be most profitable, you have to stop to consider the impact of your decisions on your company’s long term vision and mission–never undermine your integrity. “

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone to gain valuable insight and perspective and learn from the challenges of navigating unfamiliar territory.”

“Stay consistent in the quality of your goods or services. People will go back to what they know they can count on, don’t let them down.”

“Make sure that your clients know that you respond to the demands of your consumer. If you want your customer to come back, give them what they want!”

“So often, companies forget to say a simple Thank You for your business. Wish your clients Happy Birthday, Happy Holidays, and a great New Year. It may sound unnecessary, but trust me from past experience: customers in every industry want to feel that you care about them outside of your business transactions with them.”

—Lauren Maillian Bias, Founder and CEO, Luxury Market Branding

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Logo Design News This Week (4.18)

Hey everybody, its Friday and that means its time for another wrap up of logo design news from the past seven days. Some weeks most of the news we see is the long tail of follow-up reports to the news we reported last week. That was certainly the case this week. But heres the rest of the stuff we saw worth telling you about:

New D&D Logo DesignLordy, lordy, look whos forty! Its hard to believe, but four decades have passed since the first game of Dungeons and Dragons was played. To celebrate the game got a new logo for its birthday. We like the upgrade and especially the new dragon shaped ampersand. Apparently the game updates the logo with every new edition. Watch for games with the new logo later next month.

If youve been near the Bullsboro water tower recently, youve probably noticed the new logo on it. Heres the story.

Food Lion Logo DesignGrocery chain Food Lion got a new logo this week. And while the logos not bad, this is definitely a case of the logo design not matching the mission of the brand, which was announced at the same time: Easy, Fresh and Affordable…You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day! The logo feels like something taken from old English heraldry, while the mission is more feel good. 

We saw several reports this week that some old Apple computer signage with the original rainbow logo were going to auction. Bids start at just $10,000 for this piece of tech history.

Newton Apple Logo DesignMore apple related logo news, though maybe not what you would expect given the previous story. The City of Newton, North Carolina has a new logo design to represent the town and it prominently features an apple. Get it? Despite having no connection to Isaac Newton or the Cambridge lawn where he sat when the apple dropped out of the tree inspiring his thinking about gravity, Newton uses an apple in their logo. Actually, the design firm that did the work says the apple represents forward thinking and innovation, you know like the computer company. We like the design, but think the associations are all wrong here.

Interested in the trends affecting logo design this year. Check this out.

Merckx Cycling Logo DesignOkay, this next link isnt really news, but looking at all these cycling logos makes our heart sing and our legs long for a ride up the neighborhood canyon. From the article: The physical constraints imposed by the bicycle doubtless also concentrate a logo designer’s mind. A traditional frame is made of steel tubes one inch in diameter–there is only so much usable surface area. Long waterslide decals on the down tube and a badge on the head tube are the norm. The Eddie Merckx logo shown here is a particular favorite—we remember wearing this very logo on our first cycling cap as a kid. Love.

 

Small town pays $15,500 for a new logo. Could have paid $49 for a do-it-yourself logo. Some people will never learn.

Superman vs Batman Logo DesignFilming has begun on the next Warner Brothers superhero movie featuring both Superman and Batman. And this week we saw a new logo for the film that combines the marks for both heroes. The movie itself wont be out for another two years, but the logo is ready for prime time. Fans will likely love the new logo, but some have noted that theres nothing really surprising here—just the two logos mashed into one. Some people are so hard to please.

Google Rubics Cube Logo DesignAs usual, we end with a look at one of the new logos used by Google during the week. This weeks favorite is the logo celebrating the Rubics Cube. This was more than a logo, but an actual solvable puzzle that one of our Facebook friends with too much time on his hands managed to solve in about 200 moves. Now thats an innovative logo design.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

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