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How To Develop Logo Concepts

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Logos and logo concepts serve as the centerpiece of all marketing efforts. They represent your mission, industry positioning, and brand identity.

Having to represent so much within logo designs makes developing a logo concept an intimidating task. Abstract designs are a prevailing trend among logo designers, making the concept development process even more daunting.

However, by sticking to a predefined process, your logo concepts will set your business apart from its competitors. This article will outline four steps for how to best generate ideas for a standout logo.

Evaluate The Current Brand

When working to create a new logo, the best place to start is to examine your current brand. The elements that make up your company’s current identity can provide direction for your logo.

Especially if you have a longstanding business, you should keep your history in mind during the logo development process. Tying your logo to your company’s established reputation can refresh your firm’s image without sacrificing the customer base you’ve built.

Additionally, brainstorming logo ideas based on a core business story can be a great starting point. This will help you maintain a clear brand image when devising your new logo, allowing for a cohesive brand identity.

As you take steps toward a new logo, also remember to consider your branding initiatives and overall business goals.

If your brand identity connects with your target market, building a logo around it is a smart way to move forward. On the other hand, if your current marketing strategy is missing the mark, your new logo concepts should be tied to an overall effort to adjust your brand’s identity.

Determine Where The Logo Will Be Shown

Where your new logo will be displayed should be a major driver of the concept generation process.

For instance, if your business has a large e-commerce component, you should focus on logo concepts that will look good on packaging. However, if you offer services and don’t require a traditional storefront, the logo’s digital appearance should matter most.

For many companies, it can be difficult to narrow down where your logo will be displayed. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many firms to migrate at least a portion of their operations online, driving a 32.4% increase in online sales from 2019 to 2020.

Even as the world emerges from the pandemic, digitalization trends make having an adaptable logo extremely important.

Making a logo fit multiple channels while maintaining a cohesive brand identity may be difficult. However, you can follow some simple tactics to achieve adaptability without giving up a unified appearance.

One of the easiest ways to make a logo adaptive is to use concepts made up of multiple parts of a logo. If your logo includes an image-based brand mark, the name of your company, and a tagline, you can split these components up as needed. This will give you optimal displays for any situation.

For instance, your full logo may fit the landing page of your website. However, the brand mark alone may be best for certain promotional materials.

Another way to create a versatile logo concept is to seek out designs that are effective in both color and black-and-white. This strategy is especially important for online retailers with packaging constraints.

Research Logo Design Trends In Your Industry

When generating logo concepts, you should understand any trends in competitors’ logos.

Trends within your industry may not follow the overarching logo trends. For example, animal imagery is popular with financial services logos such as Aflac’s iconic duck design.

Aflac logo concept design
Source: Aflac

While this tactic is not employed in all industries, financial services firms use animals to evoke feelings of strength and security.

Outside of examining overarching trends, you can analyze the logos of your direct contemporaries when looking for industry touchpoints. In conducting this analysis, you should ask questions such as:

  • What do you like about these other brands’ logos?
  • What logo elements do not resonate with you or your business?

Whether researching trends on a high level or pulling examples from competing businesses in your city, understanding what others in your market are doing will help you put together effective logo concepts.

Identify Design Gaps In Your Industry

When looking to bring a new product to market, many business analysts would recommend exploring ideas that fit the blue ocean strategy. This framework dictates that companies should seek out uncontested space within their industry rather than following existing trends.

Borrowing principles of blue ocean strategy will help you find untapped potential within the marketing conventions of your industry.

When looking for new space, you shouldn’t completely discard industry trends. Certain colors, designs, and ideas do not translate well to logos in any industry. With trends in mind, you should work to identify any viable design gaps.

Airbnb’s 2014 logo refresh effort is a great example of effective differentiation.

Airbnb logo concept
Source: The Branding Journal

The short-term rentals company followed the widespread abstract logo trend. However, whereas many travel companies opt for cooler color palettes, Airbnb chose to implement warmth into their new logo. That gave the company a more personable feel than its competitors.

Since homestays make up a large portion of their business, this decision allowed Airbnb to highlight the differentiation in their offerings and stand out from others in their industry.

Like Airbnb, you can generate logo ideas that enhance your brand identity by considering “blue ocean” areas within industry design trends.

Strong Logo Concepts Require A Thoughtful Planning Process

The logo design process can be challenging, but your design team can take on the project if you follow a thorough planning process. Companies can take the following steps to begin defining their logo concepts:

  • Evaluate your current brand
  • Determine where the logo will be shown
  • Research logo design trends in your industry
  • Identify design gaps in your industry

By going through this planning process, companies will be able to navigate the challenges of developing logo concepts.


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