With all my latest pattern design posts and exciting Spoonflower news, you might wonder if I have left logos in the dust. No way, José! (or Josef, Yosif, Yussef, or Joey – depending on what part of the world you hail from)
Logos rock my design world. The challenge of distilling a brand into one image both terrifies and excites me. Do what scares you, right?!
I recently had the pleasure of working with a local realtor named Kelly Hall. Kelly wants to produce a booklet to place in area rental homes to help visitors become residents. I helped write the copy for that booklet (another story for another time), but I also created her logo.
I’m thrilled to share Kelly’s logo creation story with you today.
Simplify Your Brand
Kelly dabbles in a lot of different businesses and activities. She sells real estate, she flips homes, she invests in properties, she travels, she serves the homeless, she cooks – she’s into a little bit of a lot of things.
Sure, Kelly could hire me to make a logo for each of her enterprises. But would that really be in her best interest?
I believe that when it comes to logos and branding, less is more. Trying to remember which logo should be used in which situation can be really confusing and frustrating for a busy professional. Kelly needs to spend her time making a profit, not searching for the correct brand mark to put on her new business cards.
When I met with Kelly, we decided on a simplified approach – ONE logo that would fit ALL her businesses.
P.s. – FedEx does this sub-branding really well.
One Logo to Fit ALL Your Business Ventures
During my first discussion with all my clients, I ask loads of questions to get a feel for their ideas and the look they would like to achieve in the finished piece of artwork. In Kelly’s case, she wanted to try and incorporate a bit of her handwriting in the logo.
Kelly signs her last name with an H that flips back to the left, and she asked me to try and include that character in the design. She also decided to use her initials, KRH, instead of her name or an icon. This approach allows Kelly to appropriately use her brand across multiple products.
She grouped her businesses into two categories: KRH, Realtor® and KRH Ventures. Kelly also uses a tagline in her marketing: “Make Your First Call Kelly Hall.” These requests all had to be incorporated into the final logo package.
Drawing Kelly’s Logo
As a designer, I wear many hats. One of those hats is that of educator. What is a good design? What works best within the constraints of the assignment?
Sometimes what the client thinks he wants is not what he actually wants. Ultimately, the design the client chooses becomes the final logo; but often clients can benefit from seeing alternative designs that work much better visually.
That’s what happened in this case. What Kelly wanted wasn’t bad, ugly, terrible or wrong. It just didn’t work within the principles of design. Here’s Kelly’s “H.”
I see a few problems with using this H. First, it slants backwards. A logo, especially for a financial venture like real estate or investing, should communicate a solid foundation which isn’t the case with a left-leaning H.
Second, the H sports a super swirl. As a hand lettering artist, I love swirls and flourishes. But, I also know that there must be balance in a good design. In order to use this big loop on the H, I must have a similar loop somewhere else on the left side of the design, preferably on the K.
Yes, I could draw a beautiful KRH full of flourishes, but Kelly’s customers probably won’t appreciate a super swirly design…
Consider Your Target Customer
While Kelly sells real estate to all kind of people, a large chunk of her business focuses on investing – and those investors are men.
The old saying might be, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” but the reality is that’s exactly what happens most of the time. A company will be judged on its brand mark. For that reason, a loopy KRH won’t cut it.
I drew this set of initials for Kelly, but I didn’t love it. My job is to deliver at least one option to the client that is precisely what they want. This option isn’t too feminine, it’s hand-written, and it incorporates a flipped H – but it just doesn’t feel right.
The other options can be riffs on the original or alternate ideas of my own, but I will not ignore the clients original wishes. For my second and third options, I gave Kelly two more handwriting-type choices, one in lower case and one in all caps.
Surprise, surprise – she chose the strongest design.
This KRH doesn’t neglect Kelly’s desire to have a hand-written look, but it feels much more cohesive, more stable, and more professional.
P.s. – Yes, I know my mockup is girly, but I promise I won’t use it to market anything to Kelly’s customers.
With the initial design approved, I moved on to color. Kelly’s two favorite colors are orange and purple. I cautioned her that the purple we picked must lean toward the masculine in order not to scare off her target customers.
She selected the following two color palettes, each with orange and purple.
From there, I pulled a sophisticated dark purple – nothing too pastel or girly – and a cheery orange.
One Logo – Three Versions
With the color scheme finalized, I set up the three versions of her logo. Luckily, Realtor® and Ventures are of similar length, so not much time was needed to tweak the supporting type. I added her marketing tagline to the third version, and voila! One logo – three ways.
After reading Kelly’s logo creation story, perhaps you feel inspired to have your own logo that encompasses multiple brands and ventures. I would love to help you create a brand mark that tells YOUR story and is versatile to use in all your business adventures. Contact me to get started today!
What other examples have you seen of great logos that work for multiple products and businesses? I would love to add them to my Logo Love Pinterest board, so leave a link below with your favorites!