Want a strong logo? Follow Colorado’s lead
I recently returned from my first trip to Colorado. Denver and the surrounding small towns to be exact. And wowza, this eastern Kentucky girl fell fast and hard for the big brother of our beloved Appalachian Mountains.
The most familiar thing I saw and felt throughout my trip was local pride. Kentucky is full of proud folks too. The Colorado brand of adventure and free-spirit oozed out of everything. The pride was visually displayed everywhere I turned. From T-shirts to tattoos, stickers to billboards, local people proudly adorned themselves with the Colorado flag.
I get it. I love Kentucky as much as these folks love Colorado. What I noticed most was just how easy it was for the state to gather behind one symbol of their identity — how perfect the Colorado flag lent itself to others and how so many people took that symbol and made it their own. All the while it kept its true form.
To be honest, at first I didn’t connect the graphics I saw everywhere with the Colorado flag. But, once I made the connection, I wondered: How did Colorado get this new, modern flag? I knew it had to be a recent redesign. Wrong. It’s been in place since 1964.
The flag is simple, but full of layered symbolism. Interestingly, there was a government-backed effort to rebrand Colorado in 2012 and create distance from the C symbol in the flag, because it is in the public domain and can be used by anyone. Six years later, the flag symbol is still everywhere. The new brand has not replaced the beloved state flag with locals.
So, how does the Colorado flag feel so modern after 50-plus years? It follows the same tried-and-true design rules that help guide a strong logo.
If you want a longstanding, relevant logo that people love so much they claim it as a personal symbol, follow Colorado’s lead and make sure it is:
A logo should be relatively simple – without too many small parts, pieces or words. Remember, an organization’s logo is only one aspect of the overarching brand and visual identity. The logo should not (and cannot) carry the weight of explaining every aspect of an organization.
A logo will be used to represent an organization in various places — from full-color brochures, business cards and social media profiles, to one-color giveaway items and embroidered apparel. Ideally, your logo will be as strong when used small in white or a single-color as it is when used large and in full color.
It can be easy to get caught up in the latest trendy color or cool design style that seems to be popping up everywhere. It’s possible that the sway of current trends isn’t even conscious. But when it comes to logo design, simple, timeless logos are the way to go despite how cool or trendy the marks may be. Will the logo still be effective in 10 years, or 20?
Timeless logo examples include Apple, Audi and Coca-Cola. Trendy logo examples are difficult to find among large corporations because these organizations understand it is a temporary solution. For reference, logolounge.com lists logo design trends every year and it can be a good list to avoid.
Your organization’s mission, vision and goals are unique. The logo that represents them should also be unique. It could seem easy to use a well-known industry symbol as a leading element in your logo design. However, if that symbol is widely used by many organizations, your logo stands the chance of being generic and unmemorable.
A logo’s design and color choices should be appropriate for the intended audience and purpose. If one is designing a logo to represent a teenage clothing store, most likely the color and design will be much different than a logo representing a healthcare facility.
Does your organization’s logo measure up? Let’s put it to the test. P&P can walk your organization through a brand audit to determine what your needs may be. Ready to get started? Just holla!