Don't waste money on design

Here at True North, we often talk about a logo’s equity, and how much it has earned with your employees, vendors and most of all, your customers. Seeing a logo and witnessing how it has managed to remain effective over many years shows that a good design has a timeless return-on-investment. An effective logo design is both important and valuable. Below are five lessons that will help you find an effective logo design.

Lesson 1: Brand Steers Design

In the digital age, finding a decent graphic designer online isn’t a challenge anymore. Online designers, or a friend of a friend’s “artistic” nephew, may often be the less expensive route, and let’s face it, your marketing budget is, well… you don’t really (want to) have one. Dime-a-dozen designers may have the skills to whip together something “fresh, clean and attractive,” but are they really designing from your brand? Or, due to their low rate, are they trying to finish the job as quickly as possible? You see, your logo (or anything designed for your company) should be springing forth from the goals, intentions and values of your brand. Your logo’s objective is to simply be an extension of your brand, and it must connect with your target market. Investing in an experienced designer who can create in a way that properly reflects your brand will best ensure that you can reach your target market. When goals and values are inserted into the process of design, the ‘graphics’ will emerge effortlessly at the hands of an experienced designer. The best way to ensure that your logo represents your brand well is to have a good marketing budget, which can be 5% of your expected sales revenue. If you are a new business or looking to rebrand, a 10% investment will help ensure the most success for your new logo.

Lesson 2: Design with Reason

Let’s face it, a good looking company with bad service or products is dead in the water. That’s true with design as well. Every touchpoint you release from your protective grips must build trust and communication with your target market. A design that is strategically incorporated into your brand will provoke conscious and subconscious actions that your consumer is considering. A strategic design will increase the power of persuasion in your new logo, helping you to reach and attract more customers. Think about your brand. Now, think about how well your brand is communicating what you want from your audience. See some room for improvement? (Hint: there’s always room for improvement.)

Lesson 3: Cheap Design will Cost You

Saving a few hundred bucks on design typically will cost you thousands down the road. This happens because your design may eventually become irrelevant, dated or ineffective and require a redesign. It’s also wise to consider the lost revenue that is a result of a rushed or poorly thought-out design that doesn’t connect well with your customers. We’ve seen it happen a hundred times, a business will spend money on a logo or marketing campaign that failed to meet their expectations. They were unsatisfied with the end result because the previous designer lacked real-world experience, failed to identify their needs or wasn’t skilled enough to provide a good-quality design. They then turn to us for help, with less money then they started out with, and behind schedule. It’s that moment that they realize the value in good design and experience, and learn how much time and money they could have saved by investing wisely in their brand from the beginning.

“Your goal is to stand out from your competition and not blend in with them.”

 Lesson 4: Evolve Your Brand Strategically

Fresh design is important, but there’s an important distinction between fresh and trendy. A trendy design will quickly appear passé once a new trend emerges, which will result in a redesign. The desire to have a relevant and current logo design is good, but in the long-run, having a ‘trendy’ logo may not be the wisest choice.  Your goal is to stand out from your competition and not blend in with them. Having a timeless and classic design is what can best set you apart from your competition and help you better connect with your market. However, having a timeless design does not mean that you have to remain stable and unmovable in your image. Your brand is evolving, and so is your consumer. Strategically refocusing your message periodically in order to continue attracting your target market is a smart way to stay both relevant and in-touch, even as the foundation of your marketing remains mostly unchanged.

“The design, rather than being based on fads or trends, are made to be classic and withstand the test of time.”

Lesson 5: Generate Brand Loyalty

Finally, the Holy Grail to successfully branding yourself for the long-term is to have a consistent brand message, even through tough times. Having a consistent brand works better than having a brand that is constantly changed from time to time, because a consistent brand will help you gain customer loyalty. For example, some of the most recognizable brands on the planet include Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Target. These companies have maintained consistent brands for many years, gaining large brand recognition and brand equity. Maintaining a consistent brand has helped these companies become successful through increasing brand loyalty from their customers. Because customers are more likely to purchase from brands they are loyal to and recognize, investing in a consistent and timeless brand will help make your job of attracting informed and loyal customers (who will become your most valuable source of advertising) all the more easier.

In conclusion, we’re always pleased when someone today mentions how much they like a logo or marketing campaign that we designed five or six years ago. Our work has always been reconized, because when we design, we design it with your brand in mind. The design, rather than being based on fads or trends, are made to be classic and withstand the test of time.