Branding Tips

The Anatomy of a Logo

What makes up the actual anatomy of a logo? It's not just a pretty mark you see on restaurant menus, storefronts or letterhead. It's a shortcut to your brand that evokes a certain feeling or memory from your customers. Your logo should convey your brand's values and messaging, so when customers see your mark, they have an emotional reaction (hopefully positive!) or can recall an experience that relates to your brand. Needless to say, your logo is one of the most important elements of your brand and business!

"Should a logo be self-explanatory?" questions legendary logo designer, Paul Rand. "It is only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation that a logo takes on any real meaning.A logo derives its meaning and usefulness from the quality of that which it symbolizes.If a company is second rate, the logo will eventually be perceived as second rate. It is foolhardy to believe that a logo will do its job immediately, before an audience has been properly conditioned."

Designing logos take a lot of foundation work and brand strategy to keep it an organic, healthy, living, breathing aspect of your brand. Below, we breakdown the various components of a logo.

1.) The Heart

Before we start designing any project, we begin with which leads us to finding the heart of your brand. This strategic soul-searching phase helps our team learn as much as possible about your company and the goals you have for your brand. This Brand Discovery phase is crucial, as it provides the foundation for the design process, including the logo development. We spend time researching your brand, industry and really getting to know your target audience. Once the Brand Discovery is complete, we have all the information we need to begin the logo design process.

2.) The Face (Brandmark)

The brandmark is a design element of a logo that is not expressed in words and refers to the brand or its product. Many famous logos have a very identifiable brandmark — Nike's swoosh, Target's red target or Disney's castle. Logos come in many forms, however. Some just use a stand-alone symbol, others use a typeface without any particular brandmark and many utilize a combination of both.

Drei Brüder (German for 3 Brothers) packages homemade, artisanal goods with ingredients straight from the gardens and kitchen of Old Stein Inn, a German restaurant. The owners of Old Stein Inn have three young sons for whom the brand was named. We created a logo combining an illustration or brandmark paired with a typeface. This adorable mark is based on the meaning of the brand name — 3 brothers, and depicting a very literal representation of Drei Brüder. While the brandmark is shown on the packaging tag, it is not actually on the jar itself. Elements of the logo may be used together or separately, as long as they are cohesive and telling the same story.

3.) The Voice (Font)

Pairing the right font with your brandmark is important, because it helps communicate your brand message. There are a million different typefaces, but choosing one that communicates the appropriate feeling and complements the style of illustration, is key in tying the entire logo together.

To communicate both the rustic and German aspect of the Drei Brüder brand, we chose a typeface that was bold, sturdy and in contrast to the whimsical illustrations. If we chose a delicate, curvy, or intricate font, the overall feeling and message communicated would be completely different.

4.) Accessories (Color)

It’s important to see how a logo works in its simplest form, which is why we first design the logo in only black and white. Certain colors have psychological associations, but that should not be the deciding factor when choosing the color(s) for your logo. There were numerous aspects that went into the Drei Brüder color decision — How will it look on a kraft paper tag? Is it readable? Is it inviting? Will it compliment the food items packaged in the jars, such as pickles or cabbage?Alogo needs to be associated with the brand itself, so choosing a color palette that the product is associated with is always a good start.Aside from black and white, only one other color was used in the Drei Brüder logo — the yellow adopted from the German flag. Without being heavy-handed, this gave the logo a bit of German flair.

When designing a logo, it's important to take the entire "body (brand)" into consideration, including its heart and soul. If all components of a logo do not work together, your brand will fail to convey its intended message and experience. When done correctly, however, your logo will properly communicate your brand story and leave a positive lasting impression on your customers!

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