The Internet lost it this month when Uber revealed its new logo. Unlike the old design, the new one doesn’t include the company’s signature “U.” It’s now a square inside of a circle, and it’s supposed to represent bits and atoms.
“Underwhelming” was one of the kinder responses. “Pretty awful” and “ugly” were more typical of the reaction that the company faced.
Mostly people asked why Uber chose to change a logo that was perfectly fine. Because it’s no longer that familiar shape, many users say they can no longer locate the app on their smartphones.
A confusing logo, like Uber’s, does nothing for a company. A logo is what customers trust, and when they see it, they know they can rely upon a brand to satisfy their needs.
It’s crucial when your company is designing its first logo to ensure that it’s going to fulfill customers’ expectations. With a good design, your company will stand out and attract more customers.
The following are tips from graphic design experts on what it takes to create a company logo.
Let it be representative of your brand
First and foremost, a logo “should communicate what your beliefs and brand pillars are,” says Steve DeCusatis, a graphic designer in Philadelphia. “It should feel polished and professional. If customers are going to trust a brand or spend money on its products, they need some confidence that the brand is legitimate.”
When you’re creating your logo, also must correlate with your company’s image and messaging.
“Your logo is the first thing people judge you on,” says Christopher Lollini, founder and CEO of Nalu Marketing, based out of Seattle’s WeWork South Lake Union. “If your logo is not in alignment with how you’re speaking, it’s going to be a big trust block point.”
According to Jamie Leighton of Revolution Media Group, based in San Francisco’s WeWork SOMA, your logo should show what your brand is “in a simple enough way that people can easily decipher its meaning and have a clear understanding of your company’s products or services.”
What are the three main characteristics of a great logo according to Leighton? Iconography, typography, and color.
“All three must work together in perfect harmony in communicating your brand’s identity, and choosing the right font or the right color is critical to that,” she says.
Let it show what makes you different
Your logo should not only demonstrate what your brand is, what it does, and why the customer should trust it. The logo also needs to show what makes your company distinctive.
A logo should “tell a deeper story about the company culture and its unique view on the market it operates in,” says Leighton. “For instance, a simple thing like turning a letter sideways in the name can communicate the company culture is unique—not like the others. Or using a cursive font can mean you’re fancy and high-end, just as a handwritten font can say laid-back and easygoing. So let your company’s brand personality shine and think outside the box when designing your logo.”
If you don’t know where to start with your logo, Rachel Gogel, creative director for the New York Times says to think about what words you’d link to your company.
“It can be a backwards approach to coming up with a good identity for a brand,” says Gogel. “You should stick with word association, and think about your tone and color. Then figure out your logo from there.”
Keep it simple
Don’t go for the bits and atoms—stay with the “U.” Simply put, don’t overdo your logo.
“Most ‘bad logos’ are generally just too complicated,” says Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST Creative. “The designers combine too many ideas into the mark, which clutters the message.”
Along with not incorporating a bunch of ideas or fonts, limit your use of color as well.
“You don’t want your logo to seem like a rainbow and have problems with offset printing,” says Yasin Erdal of Idea to ID, which has an office at WeWork Lincoln Road in Miami. “The less color you use, the better it is. It will also cost you less to print your business cards and other brand products.”
Make sure it works on all platforms
Nowadays, a logo has to look good in both print and online.
According to Gogel, you should come up with a simpler version of the logo first and expand on it. After all, you’re going to need it to be compatible with mobile phones, apps, social media platforms, email, banner and video ads, printed materials, and more.
Change it up when necessary
Once you have a great logo that works, keep using it until you decide to do a major brand shift or you’ve modified what you’re offering. There’s no need to change it up otherwise.
“In the advertising industry, brands do often undergo ‘brand refreshes’ every four to six years,” says Cass. “This does not always mean updating the logo, but rather the visual identity as a whole. Ultimately, deciding whether to change or update your logo comes down to your current goals, trends, competitors and many other considerations that range the full gamut.”