How A Good Logo Communicates Your Values

contributed by Catherine Wilson

Sitting in traffic behind a Federal Express truck one day, my then five-year-old son said: “Look, there’s an arrow on the truck, does that mean fast service?”

In a vivid example of how a good logo can communicate your values, a five-year-old child had immediately made the connection. Of course, in order to communicate your values, you must first recognize what they are. This means a bit of soul searching is in order to answer several key questions about your endeavor.

The Key Questions

  1. Why does this company exist?
  2. What do we do to manifest that existence?
  3. How are we different from other organizations engaged in the same endeavor?
  4. Who do we serve?
  5. What is the thing about which we are most concerned?
  6. How do we wish to be seen?

Why Do We Exist?

Every company was founded with some purpose in mind. Yes, making money is part of it, but the way a company makes money is usually driven by some sense of purpose. Having a solid grasp upon that reasoning is key to any effort to communicate what you’re all about. After all, you have to know before you can tell.

What Do We Do?

At first glance, this might seem remarkably similar to the first question. However, there’s an important difference. Companies exist to serve a certain purpose, but there are many different ways to do so. Getting back to Federal Express, it was the first company to offer overnight delivery of parcels and documents. The company existed to make deliveries, yes; but it made those deliveries overnight.

When you work with a logo creator, knowing what your company does is a key piece of information to have at your fingertips.

How Are We Different?

There will always be competition. Within days of surfacing a successful concept, you will find others nipping at your heels with a slightly different twist on your idea. Therefore, to stand out, you have to maintain a unique take what you do. You must provide your customers with an experience they cannot get from your competition. Once you figure out what makes you different, you can use that information to promote yourself over those who would try to take a bite from your plate.

Who Do We Serve?

Every service has a key constituency. Having a clear vision of who they are, positions you to communicate with them more effectively. If you are B2B oriented, your communications will have a different tone than they would if you were consumer-focused. If your target customer is a young adult, you’ll present yourself differently than you would if your ideal shopper is a retiree.

Knowing whom you serve helps you determine how best to attract them.

About What Are We Most Concerned?

This is at the core of your values. Everybody likes to cite Google’s ‘Don’t be evil,” as a succinct value statement, and it is. However, you need to go beyond having an aversion to doing wrong. You need to know what you do right and more importantly, why you do it, to successfully articulate your values. Once you do, it becomes easy to reflect them in your logo.

How Do We Want the World to See Us?

It’s easy to say, “Don’t be evil.” But what are your outward manifestations of that concern? Giving your products or services away for free could be considered the pinnacle of not being evil, but your business wouldn’t last very long. However, within that, there is the opportunity for you to position yourself in the marketplace such that people regard you for a specific set of attributes. Define them and your logo will be complete.

Ultimately, when you’re considering how a good logo communicates your values, these six points will help you visualize what your company is all about. Once you do, you can translate that vision into a symbol even a five-year-old will comprehend.

image attribution Flickr user zbigphotography