How to Design a Logo That Best Represents Your Brand

Let’s get a popular myth out of the way first — a logo is NOT the foundation of creating a brand itself. However, a logo IS an important part of any brand development project, as it is the visual representation of a brand and everything an organization represents.

With all this weight a logo carries, how do you go about creating one that is just right? As a leading brand development and marketing communications firm, we’ll use ourselves to explore this idea further.


Three Rules to Set Your Brand Apart

When I sat down to create our marketing agency, I followed three simple rules. Our brand needed to:

• Stand out from the competition

• Promote the actual benefit we offer

• Be an entity of its own


And voilà! Alpha Dog Advertising was born, complete with the original logo drawn on a napkin. Yes, it is a dog created from two letter A’s. While I must say the original logo was creative and represented my individual personality — fun, whimsical, and fairly casual — I’m not sure it portrayed our brand the way I wanted potential clients to see it.

Understanding your audience and what they might want or expect from you is an extremely important aspect of developing a solid logo (and successful marketing in general). So, I scrapped my “fun” logo and started working on one that was more professional and worthy of the name Alpha Dog Advertising.


Think About What Your Brand Stands For

I wanted the logo to instantly convey what Alpha Dog stands for. With a strong brand name, we needed a strong brand logo. Think about it. Though they are loveable, a Chihuahua or a dachshund wouldn’t necessarily signal strength. And on the flip side, you wouldn’t want to use a breed that could appear too aggressive, like a pit bull or Doberman pinscher.

So, we set out to identify strong breeds that represented what we wanted to portray as an organization: trustworthiness, a strong work ethic, and a dependable partner. Once we identified these breeds, we assembled focus groups to gauge our audience’s perceptions.


See What Your Audience Thinks

Focus groups and carefully crafted questions paved the way to a clear decision as to the breed that best represented us. We split these groups by gender to see if different breeds appealed to specific audiences, and also to establish where any crossover was, thus providing the best opportunity to appeal to the majority.

We had our focus groups answer questions about which words came to mind when seeing varying dog silhouettes. After compiling that data, we came away with a clear direction for our logo — the one we use today and have used since day one.

The winning breed? The black Labrador retriever. And, interestingly, the black Lab scored higher in these attributes than the yellow and chocolate Labs.

Comparing the original “fun” logo idea against the more professional option, I would say we made the right choice. It’s a logo that represents who we are, what we stand for, and what we offer.


Make Sure the Meaning is Clear

The best logos aren’t just based on good design; they are based on much more, speaking to what you stand for as an organization. They help to elevate your overall brand and convey a positive vibe to your target audience. One thing to keep in mind: although there should always be a solid strategy and meaning behind your visual brand identity, it shouldn’t be so deep and opaque that it is lost on your audience.


If you’re building a new brand, or maybe just need to breathe some new life into an existing one, let us know how we can help! From brand ideation to logo design and so much more, sometimes an outside perspective is just what you need to effectively communicate your organization’s point of difference.