Your Logo Isn’t Sexy

The faster you can communicate an idea, the more impactful it will be.
Shorter hits harder.
But not at the cost of clarity.
Clarity supersedes brevity.
Which means if no one knows what you’re talking about, then it doesn’t matter how fast you can say it.
Logos are perfect examples of this at work.
For example, what company is this logo for?

It’s a simple logo. Gets straight to the point. Shorter hits harder. But to the point of what?

Based on only the logo, can you tell me who this company is or what they do?

Nope and no. (It’s Uber’s logo from 2016, if you were curious.) In this case, shorter did not hit harder.

How about this one?

Or this one?

Or this one?

And this one?

You know all these logos. You know who they are and what they do. In these instances, shorter does hit harder.

But here’s an interesting tidbit. Look at this progression of Starbucks Logos.

They didn’t start out “shorter,” did they? And for good reason. If they had used their current logo in 1971 no one would have known who they were or what they did.

There would have been no clarity.

What’s this mean for you?

Don’t fall into the trap of going after “sexy” minimalist logos unless you’ve been around for decades, all the while spending hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising.

It probably won’t work. You’re not that famous. You don’t get a sexy logo.

On the national scale, you’re an unknown brand. Take a play from Starbucks’ earlier logos. For 40 years they told us who they are and what they do. The logo had their name and the word “coffee,” which is all we needed to know.

It wasn’t “sexy” but it did work.

If you’re in the process of designing or redesigning your logo, ask yourself; can someone tell who you are and what you do from a quick glance at your logo?

If they can, then you’ve got a hard-working logo that’ll serve you well.

And as a small business nothing could be sexier than that.

– Zac Smith, VC