You are approached to design a logo for a single taco stand.
Picture it. Its curves, colors, the way passerby look at it. How it’s the first thing they see before being enticed into shop…
Now you’re approached to do one for a multi-store franchise.
Is there a difference?….
Check out these two taco logo designs. On the left is a logo for a single stand, and on the right is the one for famed burrito franchise Freebirds.
If you swapped both logos on to each other’s storefronts, would they still make sense?
Company Size and the Logo
One would not necessarily benefit the other.
In the above example, you see a drawing of a taco with a chili pepper for the single store logo, while you get an abstract backwards “F” logo for the large franchise. Let’s go through several reasons why these designs should stick with their respective stores.
- Big companies can afford abstract logos
- Smaller businesses need their logo to market them
- New customers don’t know what is sold inside a store
- Abstract logos have come to signal size and power
- The variety of products you sell affects the level of abstraction
Companies big and small have different logo and branding needs. Since the logo is going to be rolled out at different magnitudes, you have to wonder what is appropriate for different size companies. What brand value does the multiple store taco franchise get out of their logo, versus the single taco stand?
Big companies and abstract logos
Are you a large enough corporation that people already know what you sell? If so, thank you for stumbling upon my humble article! But really, if people already know you, your logo can be almost as abstract as you want.
Big businesses have always had the money to push an abstract logo into the customer consciousness. They inform us over time about what exactly they sell through advertising. Then once advertising has dissipated enough into the public, people take care of the rest with word of mouth. Think of our biggest companies, like Sony or Coca Cola. Does Sony’s logo look like a TV, or is Coke’s logotype bottle shaped? They don’t need to. Their logos just need to maintain a cool and memorable look. When people already are very clear about what you sell, they can begin to associate with your brand and the feeling your company gives them.
When you are a smaller business without a major advertising budget, your logo may very well need to advertise for you
In other words, when people don’t know your company already, they are spending a few seconds to determine what you are and if they’re investing any more time into browsing your product selection.
What will be the face of your company they likely encounter for those seconds? Your logo, which is like an icon to enable instantaneous recognition, or curiosity. There are people out there who will check you out just based on your logo being cool. But most people will want to decide if you’re worth their time, and move on with their day, As a smaller business, if you don’t have the budget to push out a wide reaching advertising campaign, the weight of describing what you sell may fall on your logo. Hence why a single taco store may need a literal taco design as their logo. And they can consider it a benefit with the save on ad money!
Fresh customers may not know what is inside your store
Another reason why a smaller business may want to indicate their products directly on their storefront.
When passerby stroll by your small unknown store, if they can’t immediately look and tell whats being sold inside, they will very likely walk right past. Going inside a store is an investment for customers, of time and a potential pressure to buy. Unless you are dealing with a very open minded customer with plenty of free time, that’s just the way the customer works. Granted, a store can get so popular locally that even new customers know what’s sold inside before going in. But this wont account for newcomers or short term visitors to the locale.
In turn, abstract logos have come to symbolize power and spread
Like a self fulfilling prophecy, because very large corporations initially started the use in using abstract logos, companies that want to be huge use abstract logos.
And so to the average customer, abstract logos have come to signal size and market spread. It is therefore however beneficial for a bigger business to not overcommunicate what they are in their logo. Customers know this behavior like the back of their hand. If you’re a multi store franchise but use the highly communicative logo you’d find on a taco shack, customers will treat you as such.
Of course, if you want customers to think you’re big when you’re not, you can fake it til you make it beginning with an abstract logo. If you can’t eventually back it up however, you will look foolish
How many products do you sell?
It can also be reasonable to use an abstract logo if you horizontally brand with more than one major product. You can’t keep adding images of every product you sell to your logo. An abstract design wont limit your brand to one product.
The multi-store franchise may in turn want to signal that they are a force to be reckoned with, with an abstract design. They want to have scope in the customer mind, that they are not limited to one product.
Ultimately, this dynamic benefits both players. The big franchise will not want to overcommunicate their purpose with a descriptive design of their product, and the smaller store can save ad expenses and maximize the utility of their small customer pool.
And of course, there is always opportunity to change your image. Companies have consistently over time upgraded their logo as they grew.
For the designer
The needs of the single store versus the multi store are different, and what they can offer you the designer are different as well….
The designer needs to consider their resources, needs, and offer as well, when deciding what projects to take and how to design them
You may have a decade of training and practice, and logos of the highest quality to sell. However, one truth any logo aficionado knows is the quality of a logo has little effect on its impact. We’ve all seen large companies with amateurishly designed logos, as well as huge corporations with logos an 11 year old could make in Photoshop they’re so simple.
HR Block, with white letters in a light green box is a famous example
So what do you base your price on? The quality of the colors and lines you can design, or the potential impact these logos will have?…
You can never truly know the eventual consumer response a logo will get, and how much revenue you brought the company in because of your brand and design success. You really just have your record and success rate alone to speak for you when you promise a company an impactful logo in return for a high price.
However, one thing you can be certain of is a company’s size and revenue. Almost every company has it available on their websites, so go click some links and investigate. When it comes to pricing, we’d recommend that If a company has multiple stores and a large ownership of their market perhaps it would be smart to price accordingly. And likewise if it’s just one store front with small revenue, or even a small e-commerce business.
In other words, if you know a firm is larger with more resources, ask for a higher price, $5000 for instance. If you know it’s a smaller business just getting started with not too much profit to spare for design, give them a lower estimate, $500 for instance. Perhaps you even put less effort into the logo for the multi-business firm than you did the small store. That doesn’t necessarily equal a lower price.
Because after all, when a big business wears your logo in multiple locales, and puts it across the internet, your creative property is spread out much further than on one corner. The weight is greater on your logo to work. Make sure you design accordingly using your above tips to make it work.
So if the company has the money, and you can get the $5000, ask for it!
Believe it or not there is utility in not being ruthless and uncompromising 24/7 as the lone logo designer trying to scrape out success. You build an honorable reputation in your industry as business with a conscience when you don’t overprice the little guy. And you let more profitable companies know you wont accept just anything, or worse be bullied for a sale.
As a logo designer, you know you are not just providing a design. You are providing longevity and security. This is the visual icon a company will stake its image on, and hopefully feel secure in forever. Nobody wants to sweat wondering all night whether their logo is good enough and getting the marketing results they need.