September 22, 2022

Branding an SME: How to Think About Your Logo

Branding an SME: How to Think About Your Logo

Branding an SME: How to Think About Your Logo

Branding an SME: How to Think About Your Logo

As the keystone of a brand, the logo embodies the company’s history, its reputation and its vision for the future, and matters more than you might think. Here are some guiding principles for when it’s time to consider the all important company logo.

So, why is a logo so important? Research shows that 50% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand with a logo that they recognise (Study Finds, 2020). Conversely, 60% of consumers avoid brands that have odd, unattractive, or unappealing logos, regardless if they received good reviews (Study Finds, 2020).

Logo and branding play a major role in a consumer’s first point of contact with your business. Be this a positive or negative experience, either way they’ll form an instant impression of the brand which becomes attached to the logo and informs any future interactions.

A logo has the power to represent all the values a brand upholds. It bears the weight of reputation and expectation. It distinguishes one business from another and, along with a brand identity, firmly establishes the company as its own entity.

What is a logo?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s worth clearing up any confusion: what exactly is a logo? carries this definition:

Logo. Also called logotype. a graphic representation or symbol of a company name, trademark, abbreviation, etc., often uniquely designed for ready recognition.

A logo is commonly composed of two variations or elements: a wordmark and/or a symbol. A wordmark is text-only typographic treatment of the name of a company, institution or product (e.g. Coca-Cola). A symbol or icon, such as the Nike swoosh, can stand alone, or when combined with the wordmark they are referred to as a combination mark. Less common is the mascot logo (KFC’s Colonel Sanders), and then there’s the more historical variety of crests, monograms and seals, but today we’ll focus on the modern logo.

The logo as a meaningful symbol and point of connection

From a conceptual standpoint, it symbolises the relationship between you, your customer, your industry and the wider world. Consumers will even wear the logo of brands whose values are aligned with their own, advertising the brand to friends and strangers, and identifying themselves as part of something more abstract - a movement, a trend, an ethos.

Young people who care about the planet want to be seen wearing Patagonia. Athletes emanate credibility when sporting Nike. When you hear ‘search engine’ you see Google.

From a practical standpoint, it visually differentiates you from anyone else: logos are the most recognisable brand identifiers at 75%, followed by visual style (60%), brand colour (45%), and unique voice (25%) (Renderforest, 2021).

An identifier, not a describer

“A logo is not communication. It’s identification. It’s a period at the end of a sentence, not the sentence itself.” – Sagi Haviv

You don’t need to pack it full of symbolism or literalism. Well-meaning small to medium business owners have an interesting habit of asking for logos that include too many elements that might be personally meaningful to them. But think about how many well known logos include a literal representation of a company’s roots or the service that it offers - not many, and for the simple reason that it isn’t necessary.

Keep it simple. A logo should be inviting, not distracting. You have the rest of the brand identity and marketing strategy to communicate everything that makes your business unique!

Building trust and recognisability with consumers

As touched on earlier, a recognisable logo will evoke the emotions associated with your brand perception.

How do you feel when you see a box arrive at your door with the amazon logo? Or the logo of a favourite retailer? Think of how you are drawn to brands that you recognise in the supermarket aisles. When has a new brand piqued your curiosity, and what about it attracted your eye? More than likely, logos and branding will feature in the answers to all these questions.

We are naturally drawn to brands with logos that exude professionalism and a sense of credibility and expertise in their field. A logo design effectively inspires trust when it accurately reflects a brand, its values and culture.

Communicating your brand values in subtle and playful ways

The craft of the designer is to apply their skill and expertise to finding ways of visually expressing your brand values using subtleties of form, shape and colour, and this process is what you’re paying for when commissioning them. Like a sculptor, they’ll use their tried and tested methods to chip away what isn’t needed and tease out the essential.

Let’s take a quick look at some examples of successful logos and why they work so well.

- Nike 

  • The Nike swoosh: it’s one of the most recognisable logos in the world, and you’d be hard pressed to come up with any other logos that look similar. In fact, it’s stayed pretty much the same since its conception in 1971, and is so timelessly simple that it could have been designed today. Inspired by the wings of the greek goddess of victory, Nike, it conveys speed, motion, completion, and meets the brief of looking great on the side of a shoe.

- Amazon

  • Have you ever noticed that the Amazon arrow joins ‘a’ to ‘z’? Also used as a smile, this logo conveys the promise that Amazon offers anything and delivery anywhere. The black colour represents dominance, supremacy and elegance, while the orange stands for pride and happiness. The design expertly balances playfulness and dependability.

- Apple

  • The original 1976 Apple logo was a detailed image of Isaac Newton sitting under a tree with a book when an apple fell on his head, indicative of the legend of how his breakthrough discovery came to him. Overcomplicated and old-fashioned, it was quickly scrapped for the simpler apple icon we know today - a perfect nod to the brand’s name, origins and slogan of ‘Think Different’. With a bite to distinguish the apple from other fruit, the logo succeeds at conveying knowledge, creativity, style and uniqueness.

A bit about getting some mileage out of your logo

Why is it important to keep it simple? Responsiveness and scalability. Responsiveness is about optimising a logo to adapt to different contexts, and scalability is about making sure it retains legibility at whatever size, and especially when small.

For a logo to fit every aspect of traditional and digital branding, you have to ensure it looks good in every possible and relevant format. For that reason, a professional designer will test your logo on both small and large-scale formats and/or create multiple versions of the logo for different use case scenarios.

Can your logo stand alone and together with other graphic or photographic elements? Can it work just as well in black and white? Print and digital? Mobile phone screen and billboard?

You get the picture. Save the more complex, detailed visuals for supplementary branding elements

Closing Thoughts

When it comes to effective logo design, spare yourself a headache and hire a professional. Having a logo designed for your company is not a cost - it’s an investment. If you’re having doubts or reservations, get those out in the open and ask a designer your questions.

The logo isn’t something you want to keep having to rework. The most successful mega corporations invest hundreds of thousands in their logo design, but they’re not just paying for the end result - they’re paying for the complex creative and strategic method that informs the process which ends with an exquisitely simple and lasting logo.

And before the blood drains from your face at the mention of spending hundreds of thousands - the great news is that there are small studios like ours that cater to the needs and budgets of SMEs like yours. Not to mention you'll be in safe hands with us being ranked as one of the top branding agencies on Clutch and one of the Best Branding Companies on Design Rush.

We hope this article has helped clear up any befuddlement surrounding the all important logo, and if you have any thoughts or questions then feel free to get in contact.

Curious about our branding process? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch via the contact form in our footer and let’s have a conversation.

Statistics source:,(Study%20Finds%2C%202020)

Sales manager
Royal Academy of Dance
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