A few weeks ago, I hired a branding agency out of Omaha, Nebraska to design my logo.
For all intents and purposes, I’m a writer – not Nike, Starbucks, Apple, or Google. I’m just Emily Belden, author of Eightysixed. So why would I need to commission a third-party design expert to create a visual for me; a girl who is all about words?
To be honest, I didn’t even know. But it became clear to me after I was presented the first round of creative ideas and listened to the thought behind the look.
Let me start from the beginning on this one. When the agency interviewed me to find out what I wanted, all I could describe was the functionality. I want my logo to do this. I want it to do that. I want it to be my home button on my website. I want it to be my insignia on my letterhead. But how it should look, how it should feel, and what it should say about me was a mystery.
To find out the answer to those things, the agency dug deep. They asked me what kind of car I would be (flat black Range Rover – simply because it would increase the odds that I’d be living in a famous person’s garage), what the typical person reading my book looks like, what I like to drink, how often I cuss, the name of my first crush (Chris), and so on, and so forth.
I wasn’t sure how any of that could possibly be helpful, but I trusted the experts and let them do their thing. A few days later when they circled back with me, I knew right away they had done the impossible. They had translated my ambiguity into something tangible and something rationale. It was my initials morphed into the bulb of a stemless wine glass with my name handwritten in cursive below.
The design they gave me spoke to me and my audience, and I heard its message loud and clear. It said, “Emily Belden is a party in a glass; a classy broad. She pairs well with things. She’s someone you can turn to when you want to have a good time or when you’re nursing a break up. She’s palatable. She’s attainable. Perhaps better suited for the 21-and-over crowd, but speaks your language nonetheless.”
In essence, my logo was the 10-second round-up of who I am, what I’m about, and who I’m geared toward. And as someone who has just gone through the branding process, I can vouch that those are three questions you must ask yourself about your current logo, or any future design. Can it tell your story in just a few seconds? Because that’s all you have in the eyes of your audience.
I also learned that from color choices, to font selection, to size and shape – you need to be able to provide a rationale behind each aspect of your logo. All of those things matter if you want your logo to really do its job – to evoke an emotion and incite action from everyone who sees it.
So circling back to my original question – why did I, Emily Belden the writer, need a professional logo? Because the moment I uploaded it to my website as the “home” button, I started getting texts and emails from friends and fans. One said she felt like she had stumbled into a boutique hotel when they landed on my website. I never realized, but that is how I want people to feel – comfortable, excited to put their things down and stay awhile. Another said it made her want to grab a bottle of wine and dive into my book. Another said it was smart, and classy.
And just like that, I was defining exactly how I wanted my target market to feel about me.
It’s easy to lose yourself in your work, especially if you are in charge of your own business. Having a sound logo with true lasting power doubles as a place you can always circle back to and know just who you are. So do yourself a favor, and make sure it says the right thing.