Call it a side effect of social media. There’s a constant stream of people, on Facebook especially, posting up three or four versions of a logo and throwing this question out into the general population: Which logo do you like best?
Don’t raise your hand if you’ve done this – I won’t make you. Just cringe a little inside because I want to tell you why that’s a bad idea and what you should be doing instead.
The Problem With Asking For Opinions
There are a few (bad) reasons why people ask for opinions about their logos in the first place, and this is part of a bigger problem that should be addressed before a single shade of color or slant of font is discussed.
Asking for opinions says, “I’m designing this myself but I don’t really know what to do so… help!”
Asking for opinions says, “I hired a cheap designer and I can’t keep asking for revisions so… help!”
Asking for opinions says, “I hired a designer but I don’t really trust him so… help!”
I’m not saying this to be critical. I’m saying it because I want your logo to be better than that. Because if you feel any one of the above then it’s time to stop and rethink your approach. Nobody’s opinion will help if you find yourself in one of those scenarios. There are better ways to design (and even ask for opinions about) a logo, especially since it’s going to be around representing you for a long time.
I Don’t Matter
Unless I fit your avatar and you fully expect that with just the right green and the perfect symbol I’ll be flinging money at you to buy your thing or your service, then why do you care what I think of your logo?
Why do you care what Fat Aunt Bertha, your old high school buddy, that one chick you dated in junior high but she’s sooo hot so you’re still “friends” with her and the 749 other people you “know” think?
I’d bet my next bowl of ice cream that most of these people are not the people who are in your business demographic.
I’d bet a month’s worth of hot fudge that most of those people have a different opinion, anyway.
Are you just going for a majority vote?
Aunt Bertha likes Version A, two of your high school buddies like B, the hot chick likes C and you’re left… where?
Logo death by committee.
Creating an effective logo for your business should not come down to a popularity contest – especially among people who probably don’t really understand what you do and wouldn’t buy it if they did.
What to do instead: Don’t ask. Or, if you must, put together a strategic focus group of people who do fit your avatar and get their feedback. At least you won’t be basing the future of your business on someone’s Facebook opinion du jour.
“I Like It” Is Not A Helpful Response
Here’s what inevitably happens when someone asks people to “pick a version”: they do.
A little of A plus the green thing from C.
This is helpful in no way whatsoever.
“Liking” a logo is not part of the equation. I like cute little seagulls but that would certainly not make a good logo for my business.
Besides, liking something is 100% subjective. And we’re back to choosing a logo based on a popularity contest.
What to do instead: Don’t ask. But if you must, skip the “Which one do you like?” question and ask people about their perceptions, instead. Which logo makes you feel confident? Which logo says “earth friendly”? Which logo conveys tradition? See if your message is on the mark rather than just pleasing to the hot-chick-from-junior-high.
Marginal Differences Compound The Problem
Sometimes people show three or four versions of a logo that are essentially the same except for a small nuance. One is a darker shade of green. One has an extra swishy line. One has a fatter font.
Now we’re talking really subjective and even subconscious. Maybe Fat Aunt Bertha doesn’t appreciate that skinny little font, but that has nothing to do with the integrity of your logo.
What to do instead: Don’t ask. But if you must, don’t let people off the hook with a multiple choice question. Ask them to explain their answer so you can understand whether they – or your designer – are missing the point. “The skinny font is too hard to read,” is a lot more helpful than, “B.”
People You Should Never, Ever Ask
I mentioned Facebook earlier because this is the most common place I see people asking for opinions. But it’s not the only place by a long shot. Even before social media existed, people were getting logo comps from their designers and doing the same thing.
My company designs logos for clients and we’ve got some seriously talented designers. But that doesn’t mean we’ve never had to go back to the drawing board when Joe from Widgets USA took his logo comps to “ask for an opinion” then came back with twelve conflicting directives.
Few things are as frustrating as watching a client pull apart a logo that works because his wife just isn’t really a purple person.
Which leads to the first person you should never ask… your spouse or significant other, unless you are business partners and making the decision together.
Otherwise you’re falling into all of the same traps as the people who post their logos on Facebook. But worse. Because you probably actually really care what your significant other says, so if she really, really hates purple it probably doesn’t matter how well it works for your business. The purple is going to go.
Other people not to ask: your best friend. Your drinking buddy. Your kid. Your mother. Some guy you know who is a really great artist and totally has an eye for color.
What to do instead: Don’t ask. No, seriously. Just don’t. Even if one of these people were in your business demographic chances are they are either going to be too critical in the name of being helpful or they are going to be too kind in the name of being helpful. Because they really do want to be helpful. So just don’t ask.
“Like” Is A Facebook Action. Not A Reason To Choose A Logo.
Let’s be honest, nobody wants to hate their logo. Nobody wants to feel mildly indifferent toward their logo.
You want something you can enjoy, something that you’re happy with, something you’re proud of.
So when I say that you don’t have to like you logo, I don’t mean that you should give up and do whatever your designer says.
But I do think that the conversation has to start with what works. What are you trying to represent and convey about your business? What colors, fonts, symbols and styles do that? If you focus on the message then you’re not going to find yourself picking colors and other things that you hate.
And somewhere, somehow, no matter how much time, effort and money you put into a logo, there’s probably still someone who isn’t going to like it.
But if you don’t ask…