This is the fourth article in what I hope will be an indefinite series about the processes involved in developing a brand new community from scratch. I am currently developing a brand new online community and will detail its development on this blog. As I have said before, I think it is far easier to learn by example rather than simply reading another person’s theories and ideas.
An important step that I need to take in order to build a successful new online community is to have a strong, brandable logo. As I have written before in an article entitled ‘Ensure your community has a brand‘, it is important that your website is easily recognisable and memorable – one way of doing this is by having a good logo.
The benefits of a strong logo
A logo is what sets your site apart from the competition. A logo should communicate your brand’s message – it should tell people what your site is about. A logo should be easy to remember and use symbols. Symbols are easier to remember than words, so make sure your logo incorporates them if you want it to be remembered.
A strong logo also reminds someone that they have previously visited your site. Someone may visit your site only to forget about it. If they drop by again, they may give your site a closer look if they remember it from a previous visit. One way people remember a website is through a strong design and a strong logo.
Designing a logo
I have absolutely no design ability whatsoever! Therefore, I once again turned to SitePoint to find a logo for my new online community. By starting a logo design competition in the SitePoint Contests section, I was able to present a brief to a huge number of designers who would then offer me concepts which I could evaluate.
At this stage, I do not have an overall site design in mind – therefore I was able to give the designers a great deal of artistic freedom when it came to the logo. It is still important however, to give the designers as much information as possible. I therefore told them about the site – its aims, its purposes and how it will work. I told them that the logo should convey the site’s purpose and message. I also said that I wanted the logo to appear friendly, approachable and professional and that it should be feminine, but not ridiculously so – I am aiming the site at an adult audience, and want the design to reflect this.
The benefits of using the SitePoint Contests section are huge – I can set my own budget (the prize money) and see ideas and entries from a large number of different designers. If I approached a single design firm, I would have such a wide variety of concepts to choose from.
By the end of the ten day contest, I had over 150 entries to choose from. Of these, about eight or nine ended up being serious contenders. I am still deciding on the winning entry, and have asked the opinions of some individuals that my new site will be targeting, but I can say now that the winning logo will have the following qualities:
1. Include symbols or some form of basic imagery
2. Be simple and easily memorable
3. Convey the attributes of the new website
Once I have decided upon the winner, I will then ensure that both myself and the designer sign a transfer of rights agreement. When this has been done, I will transfer the money and receive the files.
By next week I will have a fantastic new logo for my online community – then I just need to sort out the design for the rest of the site. It is important that your logo ‘fits’ with the rest of your site design. For this reason, I always look to design a site around the logo and not the other way around. The logo should contain the most important messages you wish to convey about your site and its brand. Therefore, it makes sense to extend the rest of your site design from the logo rather than have a logo designed as an after-thought.
Does your website have a strong logo? How did you go about designing it? Did you design it yourself or get someone else to do it for you? What planning stages did you go through? Did you design your logo before or after the rest of your site? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment below.