It’s time to get real. Not all logos are equal, and your logo could be costing you a LOT of business.
I get it… you love your logo. It’s your baby, and it’s hard to imagine how everyone doesn’t love it the same way you do.
Fortunately, your logo ISN’T your baby. The purpose of your logo is to be an easy graphical way for people to remember your name. If it’s not easy to remember, then it’s failing you. And like anything else in your business – if it isn’t helping you, it needs to be fixed.
Logo usefulness is measured in 5 different areas – Readability, Simplicity, Cohesiveness, Memorability, and Versatility. Your logo needs to perform in all 5 areas in order to actually be helping do it’s job of representing your business.
Here’s 20 questions you can ask yourself about your logo. Or better yet, have a friend, a gym member or complete stranger answer it FOR you.
Start with 100 points, and subtract 3 points for every question you answer “Yes” to:
- Does it include more than 3 words?
The more words you have, the more time someone has to spend reading your logo. However, we’re designed to look for shortcuts (the purpose of the logo), so a logo that has more than a couple words will often get glossed over completely. Which would you rather remember, “Chase” or “Transcontinental Banking Systems Incorporated”?
- Does it include a cursive font?
WIth a growing population that doesn’t use cursive font, the ability for the general population to comprehend cursive at-a-glance is diminishing.
- Does it include vertical text?
We naturally read left-to-right, so although we can understand vertically written text, it does take extra effort.
- Does it include circular text?
While not as bad as vertical text, circular text (text that is wrapped around a circle) does take extra effort for many people to read.
- Does it have letter spacing that exceeds the width of the letters?
Excessive kerning (the space between letters) often destroys readability… making the word look more like a bunch of random letters instead of the recognizable group of letters (aka, word) it was intended to represent.
- Is it still fully readable when slightly blurred?
Not everyone has great eyesight. If you use thin fonts, or your letters are too close together, then a slight blur could make your logo completely unreadable for many people.
- Is it still fully readable when shrunk to 100px tall?
There are many times when we have to shrink a logo down to be used (and many other times we don’t have control over the size of the logo). If you can’t easily read your logo when it’s small, there will be times when your logo will just look like a blob.
- Does it include letters that aren’t part of a font?
In the case of “clear vs. clever”, clear will ALWAYS win. Look at the Glock logo, you’d be surprised that most people don’t even know that the G is the artwork. That means people see the logo as “lock”… not quite helpful.
- Does it use more than 2 colors?
There are plenty of large companies breaking this rule (ahem, Google), but I’d rather err on the side of caution since most of us don’t have their marketing budget.
- Does it need more than 1 color to show clarity?
There are times when you’ll want to take your logo down to a single color (and let’s not forget about the complications of color blindness). When you drop it down to single color is it readable? Did it lose any clarity?
- Does it include gradients?
If you ever have to print your logo on a tshirt or other apparel, you’ll likely wish you didn’t have to make the tough choice – do I modify my logo just for tshirts, or do I pay a lot more for these to be printed?
- Does it include more than 2 font types?
Realistically, we’d want to stick with 1 font type… but as long as the font styles are complementary, having a 2nd font type won’t change much. However, any more than 2 and it quickly starts to look hodge-podge.
- Does it include an icon/graphic that isn’t relevant to the business name (or industry)?
The icon is meant to help enforce the name relationship. If it doesn’t enforce that relationship, then it leaves people wondering “why?” instead of affirming that the business is what it says it is.
- Does it include more than 1 design style?
This is hard to self-diagnose… but if parts of your logo look like they don’t belong together, then they don’t belong together.
- Does it include an icon/graphic that is a substantially different size than the text?
If your icon is 2-3x the size of your business name, then it’s detracting from the name. Also, when your logo has to be shrunk, the already small text will be shrunk even further.
- Does it use a generic font?
If your logo is using Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman, Trebuchet, or Georgia – then you may want to reconsider. If it looks generic, people may not realize you even have a logo.
- Does it contain any elements (font/graphics) similar to your competitors?
Since the job of the logo is to provide an easy way to remember your business, having it be similar to your competitors won’t enforce your uniqueness.
- Would your logo take longer than 15s to sketch?
This may be the true test for simplicity and memorability. Show someone your logo for a few seconds, and then get them to sketch it. If it takes them a long time, then you’ve probably over-designed your logo. If they can’t consciously remember what it looks like, they won’t be able to subconsciously remember either.
- Does your logo include a supplementary icon/graphic?
In other words, is your logo more than just letters? This helps make your logo unique, as well as allows it to have design elements you can incorporate in other areas of your marketing.
- Can elements of your logo be rearranged and still be recognizable?
Look at Starbucks… they take the same 2-3 elements and re-arrange them over and over and yet we still think of their main logo.
How did you do?
- A [90-100 points] – Great Job!
Congrats! Your logo is working hard for you.
- B [80-90 points] – Good! You could make a couple tweaks.
You’re so close! With a couple tweaks you could really dial in your logo.
- C [70-80 points] – Oh No! In this quiz, C’s don’t get degrees…
Your logo is costing you money… Usually logos in this category has some fundamental issues that need to be addressed.
- D [60-70 points] – Ouch! Back to the drawing board…
Your logo is sending a bad message. Whether we like it or not, your logo is either turning people away, or mainly unreadable. It’s time for a facelift.