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Why Are We So Obsessed With Logos?

As you may have noticed, Church House Westminster recently went through a rebranding. Whilst agreeing on our new font, colour scheme, name and website was a fairly straightforward process, there was fierce debate when it came to figuring out what our new logo would look like. We sent out a number of surveys, polls and even went as far to harass some commuters at Victoria tube station in order to come up with the 'perfect design'.

Whilst the quest became a major obsession for all of us in the office, I found some comfort in the fact that Church House Westminster wasn’t the only company to go 'logo-crazy'. Indeed, big household brands such as Google, Airbnb and, of course, the Olympics have had their own 'logo-mania'. So why are we all so obsessed? How can a small graphic stir up so much emotion? Is there such a thing as a perfect logo?

Some of the world’s biggest companies spend a fortune on their insignia. The most expensive logos include BP, who in 2000 spent £136 million rolling out its now iconic sunflower design, Pepsi, which had a budget of over £600,000, and the London 2012 Olympic Games, the committee of which splashed £400,000 on their (somewhat peculiar) design.

A logo acts as instant recognition for your customers, an identifying marker for a company. Consumers can become emotionally attached to a brand's logo meaning that designers are not only tasked with creating the face of a company but also something that consumers may ultimately cherish dearly (think of how much money people are willing to spend to have an apple plastered on their mobile phone!). Brand loyalty is the Holy Grail in business as it facilitates a constant revenue stream and means that clients are more willing to try new things. A logo is a fundamental part of this.

Whilst creating the right logo can make a business hit the jackpot, a small creative hiccup can be just as destructive. Indeed, some re-designs have caused controversy. In 2007, when the UK Olympics emblem was revealed, a petition was set up to have it changed as it was deemed an embarrassment. Some even went as far to say that it portrayed Britain "in the worst possible way”.

Another recent example is Airbnb, the website for people to list, find, and rent lodging. It had a recent creative misfire when it launched its new logo last year, with some accusing it of plagiarism and others thinking it looked too much like 'a lady’s privates'!

So how do you create the perfect logo? There are hundreds of courses and guidelines out there, but nothing can really assure that following these will make your clients love it. People will always have different tastes and (based on my recent experience at Church House!) I’m sure there will always be something that looks very similar to your creation elsewhere.

Take, for example, our new logo. We decided to go with a letter 'C' which is obviously not a unique concept - Cancer Research UK and Centrewaves are some examples of companies who have also gone down this route. What makes ours special however is that the logo pattern we’ve used is based on the same design that decorates the domed ceiling of our Assembly Hall, one of our strongest unique selling points.

Marketing Managers spend a lot of time trying to figure out what their customers want, but what we have to accept is not everyone is the same – pleasing everyone is impossible. The amount of money spent on a logo will not necessarily determine its success long-term neither. Take, for example, Nike, who positioned a $35 design into one of the world’s most recognisable brands, or Coca-Cola and Google, who both haven’t spent a penny on the creation of their emblem.

Personally, I believe that to be ethical a logo should aim to stay truthful to the company that it represents. For us at Church House Westminster, the most helpful exercise came during a focus group session with our operations team. These guys are key to our success and act as the first ambassadors of the venue, which is why it was important for us to create something that they could connect with and be proud of – hopefully our clients will feel the same way!

For more information please do get in touch via our contact form or give us a call on 02073 901590 to discuss your event

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