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30 Sep

What a Logo Is, and What It Isn't

Created by: 
Dan Alton

At BigWheel we create a lot of corporate identities -- a phrase that encompasses logo design but also includes a visual style guide covering stationery, business cards, email signatures, signage, vehicles, uniforms, etc., even writing style and tone. It’s a long process, but we've got some tips to help you make the most of your mark (and everything in between).

DO: Check Your Reputation

The first thing to understand is the difference between a logo and a brand. Clients sometimes tell us their company needs a new brand. The truth is, your company’s brand is a lot more complex than your logo. Replace the word “brand” with “reputation” and you’ll get the point. 

Some clients make the mistake of assuming they are in charge of their own brand --– of how their company is perceived. Your brand grows from a thousand touch points with your customers, from how you answer the phone, to how the lobby looks, to your customer service, to the quality of your product. While you can control those things, you cannot control your brand. It can take years to build a brand and only a second to damage it. 

DON’T: Don’t Rely on Your Logo

While a logo is the most visible representation of your brand, and as such it should be professional, it is not your brand. A great logo can’t help a struggling brand. History is full of failed brands with good logos. Remember Enron? Kodak? Borders? But a strong brand can thrive in spite of a weak logo. Two Men and a Truck and Cracker Barrel come to mind. And sometimes companies that change their logo incur backlash from their fans. JCPenny and Gap ran into this. 

The best approach is to understand what a logo is and isn’t, what it can and cannot do, and be prepared to discuss your brand at very deep level, the first step in a logo design process. 

Other MTYWTK logo topics to come: 

  • The logo design process. 
  • The good, the bad, and the ugly. What makes a good logo?. 
  • Now that I have it, what do I do with it?