Let’s play a game. Have a look at the images below and try to come up with three or four words that sum up what you see. For example, the first image might inspire the words fun, global, charitable, greasy.
Then consider this. How can these images bring all those thoughts to mind, when some of them have no words, and some aren’t even logos? It’s because your thoughts are conjured by your whole experience of the brand.
Let’s flip it over though. Most of us don’t have global recognition and a brand that doesn’t need a logo to send a message. Here is a set of images you might not be familiar with. Without knowing the product, the reputation and the background, all you’ve got to go on is what you see. The logo. It is most people’s first impression of a brand and it has the capacity to evoke the emotion that will attract or repel you. Which words would you choose for them? Perhaps sophisticated, urban, feminine, minimal, elegant, artistic, glamorous…
So, one final flip. Can you sum up your own brand in three or four words? Do any of the words above feature on your list? If finding your words is proving tricky, think about how you work and what your product is. Is it handmade? Then your word could be crafted. What materials do you use? Wood, fabric or paper would be natural and metal might be industrial or precious. Are you operating from your kitchen table or small studio? Then artisan might sum you up, or do you have a lot of staff? Then you are professional. Take a look at the people you are targeting. Are they children? How about fun, warm, quirky? Are you selling to young men? Perhaps youthful, minimal or slick might work. If your offering is food or drink, is it exotic, fresh, innovative, rustic?
I’m guessing that most of you now have a list that’s too long. Refine it. Turn it into a mantra that really gets to the bottom of you, your product and the feeling you’re creating. Then you have a great base to work from.
Callie & Co Design has the words fresh, friendly, versatile and creative. If I’m any kind of designer, I have put these four words into my logo. The colour is fresh, but also trustworthy. The circles are playful, but also precise, showing my attention to detail. The capital letters are bold, but contrast with the circles and the imagined “g”, making it versatile. The name provides the friendly element. It’s me, Caroline, but you can call me Callie, and my “&Co” is the lovely group of people I work with to deliver brands. If the word “design” doesn’t make it creative, the combination of all these elements demonstrates the creativity I want to present. When you first see it, my logo may not mean all those things to you, but if I have put this much thought into the visual representation of my brand, it’s at least going to create somewhere near the right impression.
Step one in branding yourself then, is defining who you are by choosing words that represent you. Step two is pouring those words into your brand, starting with your business name and logo. There’ll be more on naming yourself and laying the groundwork for your logo next time.