Why a stock logo design doesn’t cut it
by Kelly Hobkirk
People love the idea of a stock logo design or an instant logo generator, a point-and-click logo-making dream solution. The problem is, the very nature of a logo is personal, which is inherently not point-and-click, not instant. An effective logo is all about personal investment in deep-rooted meaning.
Oh sure, eyes are rolling, because I am, after all, a logo designer. Surely I am biased, right? Not so, friend. I love making connections, and as you can see in perusing our portfolio, logo design is but one of our many ways of making connections for clients. Thing is, the logo in particular is the single most effective way of connecting. But only when it embodies deep, thought-provoking meaning.
If your logo has no unique character, it is an inert non-factor. If you have no personal thought or emotional investment in it, you won’t relate to it. And if you don’t, few others will either.
Selecting items from a pool of existing art is inherently not personal. Although you can apply meaning to nearly anything, if it’s not original, the application is not universal. In other words, people won’t be able to relate to it in precisely the way you need them to.
Logos designed to embody specific meaning help people connect just as you need them to, and just as they need in order to forge valuable connection. Your logo is the hub connecting you and your customers.
How do we instill unique character into a logo design?
It’s different for each client, for each logo. Why? Because each company, each product, each person, is different. Each has their own ideas about which parts of their character are valuable and meaningful. And meaning is personal, developed on a one-by-one basis, just like in life.
We all search for meaning during our lives. Imagine your logo design as a mini version of the search for life’s meaning. That is literally what a logo design is.
A good logo design explores your innermost dreams, beliefs, passions, and desires. It runs naked through the obscure, the rich, the powerful, and the past and present, to find and express the deepest meaning that exists about any one entity.
The ownable idiosyncrasies and personal traits designed into the logo make it yours. Those traits also make it theirs—your customers, clients, [fans]. Without those aspects, the logo fails to do its job.
This applies to corporate and personal brands alike. It applies to product and service brands. If your logo is generic, people will decide your company is generic, that it is not important or noteworthy. If your logo has deep meaning, people will connect with what is important about you.
Leaving the most powerful brand component in your marketing arsenal – your logo – to an algorithm or point-and-click tool is well and truly the best way to shoot your company in its proverbial foot.
It’s also a poor way to start for several reasons. Notably, the ability to form meaningful connections is reduced both internally and externally. Also, every other marketing effort will be less effective because the primary takeaway, the goal, in many marketing initiatives is the viewer remembering your logo. From your website and identity to advertising, direct mail, and social media, if your logo isn’t memorable, all of those efforts will yield lesser returns.
Designing a custom logo, on the other hand, will ensure you have a long-lasting, personal, meaningful, thought-provoking, connection-making core identity element. All in one compact icon. Imagine that. Now connect with it.