A Lesson on Logos

January 04 2016

Every once in awhile we Google search logos to see what is available to our clients. Then we get distracted and play around with the free logo generators. Then we get angry because 1) there are some really bad logos available for free and for purchase, and 2) people buy these logos and use them for their company's identity. 

Please, please don't do this. 

Hiring a designer, the right designer, to create your logo can be a lot more expensive than lifting an image off the Internet. We get it. 

But you aren't just buying an obligatory symbol to place on your business cards. You're securing an identity in a sea of brands and images.

Consider Nike. 

 A small start up challenged Adidas, the Hercules in the athletic shoe industry, and took the lead in one fell swoosh. Now, designers, entrepreneurs, and marketing experts across the globe hold the Nike swoosh as the prime example of logo genius.

With such a simplistic design, you would think someone just came up with it out of nowhere. Maybe the Nike creators were doodling at the bar on a napkin and it just was. But that's not what happened. 

Nike founder Phil Knight hired art student Carolyn Davidson to create a logo. Davidson logged about 18 hours (not to mention the hours she didn't log) and brought Knight a rounded check mark. 

I'm certain upon seeing this smudge of a design, he thought, "Psh! I could have done that!"

But the swoosh changed everything. Now Nike is the leading athletic wear company in the world, holding almost 50% of the US market.

The design is simplistic, but so is the Adidas stripes logo. The swoosh is just as striking on a shoe as it is on a billboard. The symbol is boldface, yet miraculously encompasses the power white space. 

But it's more than just a great image. It's Nike. 

The goddess from whom Nike got their name is the goddess of Victory. A slanted V for victory. 

Nike shoes enable you to you run fast as the wind and turn on a dime. Just like this line, see? 

Then Nike sliced into the market with a better option. Almost as if the swoosh sliced up the Adidas stripes. 

The Nike swoosh has come to mean so much more as the brand has developed and proven itself. The swoosh marks products known for quality, but the logo itself is something people want plastered on their chests. 

The symbol has been infused with olympic standards, athleticism, refinement, coolness, accomplishment...money.

Like many new companies, the Nike founders had limited funds. They could have skimped on logo design. But they hired an artist. And that investment has paid. Nike has conquered the athletic wear arena.   

We can't promise you will become as big as Nike in 40 years, but we can promise: 

  • Your logo is designed by artists who specialize in branding.
  • Your logo is original.
  • Your logo communicates the values you want your customers to associate with your product or services. 
  • Your logo is as effective in print or pixels, business cards or billboards. 
  • Your logo is your identity. 

We can also promise we will enjoy doing it. Consolidating a company's identity--their products, services, customers, location, employees, values, quality, goals, vision, potential--into a striking image is thrilling. 

When would you like to talk about Midwestern Interactive creating your company's "swoosh"?