When is the last time you updated your logo? Chances are you developed your bank’s logo long before really considering your current growth plan, customer targets, use on social media or application to digital advertising. While your logo may work well for your current customer base, banks now turn their attention to the historic wealth transfer that is on the verge of taking place and must decide on best ways to attract a younger demographic.
Most banks rarely update their logo, and with the move towards more mobile and digital applications, now is the time to take another look and see if it is time to redo your logo.
The problem is that most bank logo’s fail the test of being memorable. Most are boring and show little personality. A good bank logo stands out and lays the ground work for the brand identification to follow. In addition, a good bank logo is also:
- Simple – If you can recognize your bank’s logo on a computer screen while standing 10 feet away, chances are it is too complicated.
- Versatile – These days, your logo needs to be a system that works as well in print as it does in a banner ad or on a high-end pen that you want to give away.
- Appealing To Your Target Audience – The same logo that attracts a female high school student is likely not the same logo that attracts a 60-year old business owner.
Further, if you want to attract technology businesses, which is also a different logo than what it takes to appeal to churches. Figure out your customer objectives and your brand identity and all else will follow.
The other concept that banks need to realize in relationship to their logo is that while everyone wants the next Nike Swoosh, Coca-Cola signature or Apple icon, that status of the perfect logo really only comes by spending multiple millions (or billions) of dollars on brand. Don’t expect too much in a logo design. Without the proper support, even the best logos will fall flat.
The other item that we warn banks on logo design is don’t let a committee make the decision. Here, when it comes to marketing, many bankers have an inferiority complex and so feel more comfortable with a committee decision. We have seen great logos get passed up all because a few on the committee didn’t like something about the design. We once helped a financial institution on a logo and after being deadlocked in a committee for 2 weeks, the CEO had the solid idea to ask the company’s customers. After spending all the time in polling more than 1,000 customers, the results came back where almost 20% of the respondents like one of the five logos. Not only did the deadlock ensue, but now different bank factions were divided up to support their customers. Picking the right logo takes leadership, confidence and risk. Use the smallest group you can, get input from whoever you want, but be prepared to make a decision based largely on instinct. Analytics and data hurt, almost as much as they help when it comes to art.
Here are some additional tips we have on how to improve your current logo:
- Pay attention to your fonts – typography has radically changed in the last 10 years. While it used to be the internet was limited to font, now there are thousands of choices.
- Consider tone as well as color – just like fonts, online and mobile tones have come a long way. Banks now have more choices than they did when they first designed their logo.
- Make it active – Banking has changed over the last 5 years and it is no longer a place to go, but something you do. Twitter could have used a bird sitting around, but part of their brilliance is that they chose a bird in motion. Motion creates energy and banking needs more energy.
- Think versatility including space and negative space – In the static world of brochures and print, you could always know exactly how your logo would appear. Now, with multiple devices, resolutions, backgrounds and formats, you need a simple logo that renders well in a variety of mediums. This likely means the space around your logo and the negative space within your logo are well thought out. Make full use of it and make sure your logo will work both electronically, in black and white, in low resolution and on an embroidered shirt. Also, banks need to consider social media, in particular, as many properties have restrictions that hurt current bank logos.
- Make sure your logo works for you – Don’t confuse your logo with your brand. A logo is just one element and while it must appeal to your target customer, it doesn’t have to do all the work. Develop the logo in conjunction with a brand and marketing plan and you will get more out of the effort.
Finally, pay attention to your use of colors (see our infographic below) and the psychological meaning of shapes. Asymmetric logos catch people’s attention, but also turn many off, as do points and sharp edges. It is also advisable to look at your logo and ask “what can go wrong?” One company failed to do this and when they released their new logo “weightwatchers” there was a word in the middle that caused the logo to go viral for all the wrong reasons.
If you are thinking of a new logo, be sure to check out our infographic and download a logo design flowchart HERE.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on August 18, 2014