These days, attracting customers is all about social media: engaging people there and driving them to your website. But how well does your logo, and brand show up on social media?
Visual branding on social media is different from the old days. It may have been fine for the print world. So 1980s! But today it may totally suck for branding you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other major social platforms.
That’s vital because your logo is the face of your brand. To potential customers and other stakeholders, it’s your identity. It’s how not just customers but employees, key suppliers, industry partners, and investors all see you.
Think of how you make snap judgments at a glance. That’s how people form their first impression of you and your business. When people glance at your logo, they see you.
People form this impression in less than the blink of an eye. Literally. It takes less than 3/10ths of a second. And first impressions tend to persist. They die hard. That is why it’s so important to get your logo right.
Getting logo design right can be a real challenge. Lots of visual factors contribute to the overall effect you need to achieve: color, typography (lettering), size, choice of symbol, graphic balance — it adds up.
Major companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their logos. My how-to advice is for people whose budgets are a bit more, uh, modest. Like maybe hovering near zero.
Further, you face the challenge I mentioned at the outset: getting a logo that works well on today’s social media. You need “a logo for the Digital Age.”
Here are some obvious signs that your logo sucks for the Digital Age, and how to improve it.
Suck #1. It’s Not Optimized for Mobile
If your brand’s logo isn’t optimized for mobile, you are in serious trouble. Consider: Users spend 69% of their media time on smartphones (comScore) and average smartphone conversion rates are up 64% compared to average desktop conversion rates (CMS Report). On average, this means potential customers will spend $164 if they discover your brand via mobile, versus $100 among customers who find you on their PC.
That’s not all: people spend 80% of all social media time on mobile devices (comScore). That makes it even more urgent to get your logo right on social platforms.
How do you ensure your logo is optimized for mobile? By making a version that is scaled down, clean and doesn’t include too much text.
Here is an example:
Suck #2. It’s Not Ready for the Small Screen/Social Media
Most people assume, if your logo looks good on PC screens, it will reduce well and “behave” well on tiny smartphone screens and on social media pages. Wrong, wrong, wrong!
Unless carefully designed, graphics like your logo don’t necessarily reduce well and won’t display well on social media platforms. Worse, smartphone displays are NOT miniature versions of what you see on your laptop or desktop. In fundamental ways, mobile displays behave differently and, depending on the display, may treat graphics differently. Your logo designer needs to take into account this new reality.
For this reason, your logo (and other brand graphics) should be designed for the mobile “small screen” first, then adapted as necessary to the “big screen” (laptop/desktop).
That’s what professionals mean by “mobile first.” It’s what you must demand.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
This logo would work great on a website or printed flyer. But it would totally suck if you were to place it in (say) the space reserved for a Facebook or Twitter profile photo. There’s way too much graphic detail and the proportions (or “aspect ratio”) aren’t right.
That’s why you need additional “brand marks” to optimize your logo for small screens and social media.
Here’s an example of how a professional might adapt the logo graphics to insert in the profile photo space of a Facebook or Twitter page:
Notice: the smaller, simpler, boiled-down image echoes the full logo by retaining a key part of it, as well as the graphic style and color scheme. And now it fits perfectly in the small “accent” spaces on social sites like Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Tip: Whenever you get a logo, always insist on getting matching graphics like this small-space branding mark — what I call a “flashmark”.
Suck #3. Color Choice Doesn’t Fit
Color can be tricky. If you have colors that don’t match or aren’t balanced, they’ll throw your entire logo off-key. Utilize what graphics professionals call RGB or CMYK colors, so that your logo looks equally good in print as it does on the Web.
Also, there’s psychology behind colors. Different colors convey different emotions. Humans are just kind of wired that way. Colors are so powerful, they can even shape our behavior.
For instance, yellow can grab attention and create warmth, happiness and joy. Red is an intense color that can stimulate energy, passion or a sense of danger. Blue — popular in logo design — creates feelings of authority, success and loyalty. Many Fortune 500, government, medical logos are blue.
This chart tells you more about color impacts:
Your logo color (or colors) should reflect, or complement, your type of business.
To look professional, the safest way to improve your logo is by keeping the number of colors to a minimum, or distinguishing your brand perhaps even with clean lines in black and white.
Suck #4. You’ve crammed everything (and the kitchen sink) into one design
Yes, I get it, you love your business and want everyone to know everything about it at a glance. Admirable desire! But your logo makes a confusing, distracting mess.
Tip: don’t overwhelm people. There’s time for detail after you’ve hooked their interest and made a great first impression with a clean, professional-looking logo.
Logo design is about simplicity. People will get the feel of your brand personality, and that’s enough. You’d be amazed how a full brand impression can be conveyed by a clear, concise logo.
If your logo is hard to read, has too much going on in the design, is not easy to see on a white background, then you have done too much. Your logo is competing in a busy marketplace, so a more professional look will mean a stronger chance that potential customers will see you and your business as trustworthy and desirable.
Boil it down. Focus. Simplify. You’ll find yourself with a much more effective logo. It will help with branding and especially with social media.