Before designing a logo, a professional marketer has to take a SWOT analysis of your company. A thorough SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis, when combined with a strategic survey of clientele, as well as a sampling of the target audience, will give you some great info on what actually sets your company apart from your competition. For our sample, we’re going to use our own logo and process. That’s right. The JCI logo, deconstructed for your reading pleasure.
So many logos are no good. Even more are downright horrible. Here’s a look into a proper thought process for designing a great logo.
We went through the process mentioned above when setting the foundation for the design of our logo. This was done over 4 years ago, and feedback from clients says we hit the nail on the proverbial head.
What we found was that JCI was different from many of the rest of the agencies out there. How? We’re very confident. However, that confidence is about the results… about THE CLIENT… not about our own company. We celebrate the successes of our clients, because all of our own successes must be rooted in the successes of our clients. This, after all, is why we went with a humble acronym for our corporate name instead of something like “Jet Fuel Turbofire Marketing” or something stupid like “Jellybean Sundae” in an effort to show how modern and trendy we are. So, somehow we needed to make a logo that “wasn’t all about us”. Tall order, right?
When talking with a prospective client, the interview goes two ways: “Do you want to hire us?” and “Do we want to work for you?”
We also have a bit of spice to our company. When talking with a prospective client, the interview goes two ways: “Do you want to hire us?” and “Do we want to work for you?” This might seem arrogant, but it’s not. See, every team member at JCI feels that they are here to make the world a better place. If we do our job well, then each client of ours grows in authority in their community. Since we do indeed have the track record of bringing excellent ROI to our clients, this perspective… this awareness… leaves us with a bit of a responsibility to the towns and cities throughout the U.S. and even globally (we have a LOT of clients outside the U.S.). This two-way interview process stands in stark contrast to the sales pitch that you’ll likely get calling another agency. (Don’t get me wrong. There are some GREAT ones out there that I really appreciate. They’re just rare.)
So somehow, we needed to show confidence, spice, all the while somehow making a logo that isn’t showy, blingy, sparkly or off-point trendy (read: “all about us”).
Here’s what we came up with:
A great logo… deconstructed.
A gloss black, simple rectangle with “JCI MKTG” in it in negative/knockout… set on a matte black background. What could be more humble? You literally have to look at it from an angle to see it at all. BUT, there’s the Tennessee Orange (I’m from Tennessee and transplanted into NorCal) underscore there that beckons the viewer; “LOOK DEEPER”. It literally makes people do a double take. (Trust us, we know. We have a video camera at the door.) That underscore hints that something is there, unseen. It is extremely confident and yet tenaciously humble at the same time. You see the underscore, and then you realize that there’s more on the card, on the sign. The rectangle is but a background for our name… but yet the name has the “MKTG” abbreviation for “Marketing” that anyone that has spent a week in a business school will recognize. This is yet another allusion to excellence.
That underscore hints that something is there, unseen. It is extremely confident and yet tenaciously humble at the same time.
Take a moment and think about what you as a business owner feel when seeing this. Do we seem weak, or do we seem strong? Do we seem like every other place you’ve checked out, or do we seem unique? Boring or… seductive, even? It’s all intentional. It’s a bold move on our part, as is just about any excellent logo. But, as the business owner in this case (me), this has been a great move on our part… not just for our clients, but for our team. Each day they walk up to the door, they know the personality of the company they give their time and brilliance to.
Never, ever forget the impact of your logo on your company culture.
We put this effort into every visual identity we create. Decoding a client’s logo would be a bit more awkward, so we deciphered our own here. But whether or not you hire a professional firm to design your visual identity from the ground up or you try to handle it on your own, I hope this sets the bar for the amount of thought necessarily involved to make something that speaks YOUR truth to anyone who sees it, no matter how simple it is.