Imagine this – an apple with a bite taken off the top right corner, or a giant black tick mark. Did these remind you of some very specific brands? We thought it would. Irrespective of the business, a logo is the keystone of your brand – setting up a unique identity, distinct from its peers. If you’re a new business out on the block trying to figure out what your logo is going to look like, here are some key principles you should keep in mind. 

Your logo is not your brand.

More often than not, brands choose to first design a logo and then start figuring out other aspects of their communication. To this we say a collective NO. 

Most buying decisions today are motivated by the credibility of the brand being purchased from. Unless you yourself are sure about what your values are and what you stand for, your audience will have a hard time resonating. Your brand’s narrative needs to be told in a manner that is associable for your audience and your logo is a symbol of the same, not the source. 

Sepoy and Co.’s logo (which is primarily displayed on their bottle caps) includes an illustration of an elephant – representative of their philanthropic initiatives that are tied to elephant conservation. This wouldn’t have been possible if their logo preceded their brand building.

Your logo needs a design STRATEGIST.

With all due respect – design is a creative output, strategy is a creative solution buttressed by research analysis. So, what you need is a design strategy. A pretty logo is unfortunately not enough. 

Your brand’s identity stems from months of research and careful planning. It shouldn’t just be restricted to the uniqueness and visual efficiency of your logo’s design. To ensure that your brand’s logo is truly a capsule of your brand’s overall narrative, you must first allow a strategist or design strategist to structure your brand’s visual identity before allowing a designer to create the professional design output.

Please note, a designer can also be a strategist.

Disruption is key.

We won’t sugarcoat this – logos are losing relevance. You don’t have to look much beyond your favourite luxury brands for a reality check. Packaging and colour schemes are the new logo. If your brand is less than a decade old, your branding initiatives will push your logo and not the other way round.

But that being said, a logo is also a beautiful square-inch sized opportunity that can become your brand’s MVP. Remember the sea seductress of Starbucks, KFC’s Colonel Sanders and the Bira monkey? These logos don’t do much justice to the brand’s offering but have over time made Pavlov’s dogs out of their respective target markets.

As the market is getting creatively saturated with the birth of more and more brands, it is essential you realise that if your logo is distinctive and clear, your brand has a better chance of being recognized.

Don’t auto-generate, please.

One of the biggest mistakes budding businesses make is that they depend on AI to generate a logo for themselves in 30 seconds (?). What happened to “good things take time”?

Unfortunately, AI is still not at a stage where it can analyze the entirety of your business to formulate a logo that is unique to your brand. What happens instead is that you end up with a logo that is not unique and doesn’t really add value to your brand. Your logo is important in building your identity – try not to take shortcuts while designing the same.

Your logo should be scalable.

There are two aspects to this.

Firstly, your logo is not just going to appear on your website. It is bound to appear in a large number of places – starting from various digital platforms to business cards, posters, billboards, and even clothing and coffee mugs. The manner in which the size of your logo can adapt and change when used in different formats is extremely essential. Therefore, you must test your logo on both small and large scale formats, while creating multiple versions of the logo for different types of usage.

Secondly, you may want to expand your offerings in the future. Your logo shouldn’t be too restrictive. For instance, Paper Boat flaunts a – yes – paper boat. Beautiful brand naming aside, the Paper Boat logo (and overall brand identity) can be adopted almost as is to expand into non-beverage Indian goods, which they incidentally are already working on!

What to expect after you’ve made a “worthy” logo? First, your kith and kin will appreciate it proactively. Then, nobody else will and you’ll find yourself involved in the sweet labour of brand building. Then, years later, you’ll realise your logo can stand on its own now and be recognised without your product or brand name in the vicinity. That, my friend, is when you’ll have reached the growth stage of your product life cycle. Good luck, now.