Branding – Are you doing it right?

Oct 9, 2013


By Lyndsey Hall 

If you have a Smartphone (and, let’s face it, nowadays, who doesn’t?) you may have played a little game called Guess the Brand (or Logo Quiz, depending on your operating system of choice). The aim of the game is to correctly guess as many famous, and some not-so-well-known, logos as you can by naming the company that is associated with them. A fun way to kill some time during your daily commute, you may think. But the simple fact that the majority of these brands are recognisable within milliseconds of spotting their logo means that they are doing something right.

Many of the most memorable logos are simplistic designs that have remained the same over the years, perhaps with a few tweaks or updates. Some are even so basic that they are not directly connected to the company name or product, yet we recognise them at a glance. For example, the Apple logo is, of course, a big apple. The McDonald’s logo is a giant, yellow ‘M’. Red Bull’s logo, you guessed it, is a red bull. But, at the other end of the spectrum, we have Nike, whose logo is a simple tick (or ‘swoosh’ as they call it), often without the company name to shed any light for the uninitiated. Car manufacturers in particular tend to employ very simple and bold designs that are immediately recognisable as soon as you glimpse them on a bonnet or rear bumper. Think of Mercedes, Citroen, Audi or Honda and you’ll see what I mean.

So, how do you go about designing a logo that speaks for itself, when you are perhaps lacking the space to include your company’s name as well? It isn’t easy, and there are no sure-fire methods to creating an iconic logo worthy of Guess the Brand. You could take a leaf out of eBay or Volvo’s book and incorporate your business’s name into the design; this is how many of the biggest international brands started out, only daring to remove the name after years of market presence and having built a large, loyal customer base. You could take inspiration from Microsoft Windows or Shell and design your logo to represent the name of your company or product, hopefully rendering the name unnecessary. Easily done when your business is called ‘Purple Elephant in a Top Hat Interior Design’; not so easy when you own a law firm with all five Partners’ names in the title.

All of the biggest, most well-known brands have gradually changed their logos since their inception, and some have even undergone a complete rebranding at one point or another in order to keep up with today’s changing economy. It takes time to build a brand that people will instantly recognise, so don’t worry if your company logo could do with bringing into the 21st Century. Now could be the perfect time to start building the brand that your business deserves!

For a little inspiration, check out Entrepreneur Online’s slideshow of how ten of the most iconic logos have evolved since their original designs into the current incarnation.

If the idea of building a personal brand appeals to you, but you don’t know where to start, Jennifer Holloway, Personal Branding for Business expert, spoke at Knowles Warwick’s 2nd annual conference on 27th March 2014, and is definitely worth a phone call or email for advice. She has worked with internationally known companies (where language can be an issue and therefore the logo needs to be even more self-explanatory) like Microsoft and KPMG.

We’d love to hear about your company’s logo and how you came to choose the design; our own logo uses each coloured triangle to represent the four distinct sides of the business:

  • Red – Tax
  • Blue – Accounts
  • Green – Financial Services
  • Yellow – Corporate Finance 

We offer our clients a lot more than just these four services, but they are the core of our business and form the basis of our pinwheel logo design. Let us know what your logo represents in the Comments, or on Facebook and Twitter.

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