If we talk about The Golden Arches, there's a good chance you are now craving a McDonald's. That's the power of successful branding. And a fierce logo specifically. Today, McDonald's is the world's largest restaurant chain by revenue, serving and servicing 69 million customers in over 100 countries, at around 38 000 outlets. Not bad for a modest fast-food restaurant that was started in 1940 in California by two brothers.
The point is, the company's success has just as much to do with how it has marketed itself as it does with how much people enjoy its burgers. And it starts with a logo. The right logo. The McDonald's logo has been revamped several times before it landed on its final iteration in 2003. But, those famous arches have remained part of its design since 1968. Today, it is an integral part of the brand identity of McDonald's and takes up the lion's share of its logo design. That's 50 years of life.
A sharp logo is a good place to start when you're building your brand. It's the anchor point for everything else you'll design when it comes to marketing material for your business, and in the long run will be the easiest, quickest identifier for your business. It's your visual ambassador.
Why a logo is essential
So where to start?
Follow the five principles of SMART and you'll stand out from the crowd and form lasting customer connections.
Make it simple. It must be easy to understand and identify.
Make it memorable. A good logo must be distinctive enough that people will remember it.
Think 'ageless'. The best logos survive changing trends.
Make it reliable. It should be flexible and scalable enough that you can use it across different platforms, mediums, and at different sizes (so it should look just as good on a letterhead as it does on your building).
Give it real thought. Consider and hone every detail of your logo to symbolise the quality and usefulness of your brand.
Defining and envisioning your logo
Your design concept for your logo will include the following.
Research and search for inspiration
Open your eyes and see the world. This means looking at the logos of other businesses like your own, but it's also about looking at what you love, and finding ways to include this as your inspiration.
Create a mood board
Mood boards are physical or digital collages that arrange images, materials, text, and other design elements into a format that represents the final design style you've chosen.
Brainstorming your ideas
Now's the time to put your ideas to the page. A great way to start the process of designing your logo is to brainstorm your ideas with others. This will help you capture concepts, and narrow your ideas into the best options.
Designing your logo
Don't worry that you'll suddenly need a crash course in a design program so that you can put together a logo design. For small businesses keen to get their brand identity going, there are many easy-to-use apps that will help you put together a simple but powerful logo – and they're free. Here are a few options to consider.
We hope this has been a useful guide to get started. Remember, we're here to help you in any way we can.