Here’s a question for you: when you’re getting a new logo designed, should you go with the option that you love, or the one that other people love?
This can actually apply to any piece of design, whether it’s a logo, a website, or a brochure. But it seems to be a harder decision when it comes to logos. Perhaps because you’re choosing the keystone of your branding and that can be such a personal and, in some cases, such a big decision.
During the design process most designers will present you with 2-4 logo concepts. They may cover a variety of ideas and styles. Some you’ll like, others you may be less keen on, and hopefully there will be one stand-out concept that you absolutely love. That’s the one you choose, right?
It’s not always that simple. The ideal outcome of any branding project is to create something that you, the client, adores, and that your customers will also love.
That’s an easy-peasy choice when you and your target market share similar tastes.
But what happens when your taste and the taste of your target market are two completely different things?
Do you pick the logo your customers will love and just live with having a logo that you’re not keen on? Or do you pick the one you love most and sod the customers; it’s your logo, they’ll just have to accept it?
There are pros and cons to both options, so let’s take a look:
Choosing the option you love
The most obvious benefit is that you’ll love your branding! You’ll be proud to show it off and promote your business – yay!
But if your customers don’t love it, it becomes a little harder to sell them on choosing your business.
If you sell something they really need, or you have very little competition, the design becomes a bit less important. For example, I don’t love the logos of any of the banks I’m with, but their products fit my needs. So a bit of bland branding there doesn’t matter to me.
However, if you sell something widely available or that is more of a luxury item (ie, your customers want it rather than need it) the design becomes more important. Humans are very visual creatures. We respond to things we find visually appealing and look more favourably on them.
For example, you’re walking down the street trying to decide where to have lunch. There are a few cafes, pretty much all offering the sandwich, coffee and cake type meal you’re in the mood for. One has a logo that you think is crap, and looks like it would be more of a greasy spoon, while another has a lovely logo and looks like a cosy tearoom. You’ve never been to either before, and know nothing about the quality of food or service – which do you choose?
I’m headed for the cosy tearoom, how about you?
Choosing the option other people love
If you go with the logo option that other people love but you’re not that keen on, it affects the way you feel about your business.
For freelancers or a small businesses, that’s super important. If you’re not sold on your own branding, it can affect the way you promote your business. You might even hesitate to put yourself out there and if you’re not doing enough marketing, that can affect your profitability.
On the other hand, if your logo and branding totally speaks to your ideal customers, attracting them to you just became easier. Convincing them to buy from you, and turning them into loyal fans and repeat buyers, should be easier too.
If you do choose the logo that other people love, it’s vital that you know who the ‘other people’ are.
During the design process, it’s common to get a second opinion from the people around you – friends, colleagues, your spouse, even random people in Facebook groups. But if these people aren’t your target market, then their feedback isn’t relevant. Harsh, but true.
So make sure that if you’re getting feedback from other people, and choosing the option they like, that these people are your ideal customers.
Also be aware of why you’re not that keen on the design. Is it because it doesn’t fit with your personal style or taste?
Imagine you love all things unicorn, with liberal splashes of baby pink and glitter, but your customers have more serious, traditional tastes. Any logo that appeals to your glittery fabulousness will be off-putting to your customers. And a design that caters to your customers could be too conservative, or even boring to you.
You might also like: What happens when the client doesn’t like your design?
So what’s the solution?
If you find yourself in the position of having to choose between a logo that you love or one that other people love, I’m afraid there’s no absolute rule about which you should pick. Ideally you’d find a solution that works for both you and your customers, and that may mean balancing your personal taste with a style that appeals to them.
The good news is that your logo is just one part of your overall branding. A logo isn’t often seen in isolation, apart from other branded materials. It’s usually part of a larger design, like a website, building or shop signage and decor, an advert, and so on.
So that means that how you use your logo makes all the difference. You may end up with a logo that on its own you think is just ok, but your branding as a whole, you and your customers absolutely adore.
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