Designing a logo for your financial firm is no small feat. It requires careful thought.
After all, this will become the defining visual marker for your financial brand in the years to come. The rest of your branding will “hang off” of it, acting as a rallying point for your imagery, colour scheme and styling.
How can you design a great financial logo? As a creative agency working for many years in the financial sector, we wanted to offer our thoughts on this subject, below. We hope you find this helpful for your own branding project.
If you’d like to discuss your own goals, strategy or logo design project with us, please contact us and we’d love to start a conversation.
Answer the “why” question
It’s important to understand the reasons for undertaking a logo design project. Why does your financial firm need one? Why does it need to be professionally done, and not quickly thrown together “on the cheap” (or by yourself) using free design software?
A good starting point is to reflect on the great logos you already know. Think of Coca Cola, for instance, or Apple. The images should spring quickly and clearly to your mind. These put a “face” to these brand names, allowing us to connect more easily with them.
Without a “face” for your financial firm (i.e. a logo) your clients and prospects will struggle to find a focal-point for their thoughts, memories and impressions of your brand. Moreover, just like you want to put on your best “face” when going on a date (or other event where you want to make a good first impression), it’s wise to make sure your logo is the best it can be.
If you cut corners with your logo or do it cheaply, then people will normally notice when they see it. This sends the message that you are not serious about making a strong impression. If you invest in a great financial logo, however, then this typically impresses the audience.
Consider your brand identity
Your financial logo is not the same thing as your financial brand. The latter refers to the experience and feelings you give to clients, staff and prospects when they come across your business.
Financial branding might include the smell of your office, for instance, or the appearance and comfort level of the chairs. It includes the feelings and thoughts conjured by your office signage and artwork on the walls.
It includes how your team speak and interact with each other, and with clients. It refers to the user experience on your website, the impact and impression of your colour scheme and more.
Your logo is a key part in this wider picture of your financial brand, and is often the first visual piece that is noticed first. Since it does not sit on its own, your financial logo needs to “fit” appropriately within this context.
If your logo feels like it does not “belong” in your wider financial brand (e.g. due to colour/style differences) then it will feel disjointed and inauthentic. However, if it can capture and represent some of the core values, ideas and feelings of your wider brand, it is very powerful.
For instance, suppose your financial brand uses a lot of “circular” imagery and your copy talks a lot about “holistic financial planning”. Here, the ideas can fit together nicely since circular imagery and styling represents completeness.
Using a “block” financial logo design may feel awkward and clunky here. Yet a “smooth” logo design could bring these ideas to the core, quickly, when people see it on your website or other brand collateral (e.g. a flyer or on social media).
With these broader frameworks in mind, how can you start creating ideas for your financial logo design?
Here, it can help to think about the core “theme(s)” in your financial brand. For instance, does your visual identity use a lot of “sailing” imagery – e.g. boats, surfboarding, seaside views etc? If so, think about the ideas and feelings that these trigger in our minds:
- Peace (in nature)
- Finding yourself
- And much more.
With words and phrases like these now down on the page, you can start to think about fonts which might tie into this nicely. As a basic point, Times New Roman is unlikely to convey “adventure”. First of all, it is likely too “formal” or academic. Also, it is too commonly-used to help make your financial brand distinctive. A more “wavy” or “ballpoint pen” approach might sit better.
You may also want to think about whether your financial logo should feature an “icon” of some sort, or not. This is typically a small image that sits above, under or next to the wording in the logo. In some cases, the icon an be the entire logo (e.g. Nike).
Here, icon ideas may come naturally depending on factors such as your company name. A company like Apple, for instance, likely had a clear idea early on about what their logo design icon should be! However, for financial firms, the abstract/service-based nature of their work can make this aspect of the design process harder.
Again, it can help to refer to some of the words you wrote down early when thinking about your brand themes. For instance, what kinds of images represent “peace”? Perhaps a dove or a floral image of some kind might work.
As you come up with ideas, you will likely find that some of them seem to sit more comfortably than others. For instance, perhaps a floral images does, indeed, communicate the idea of “peace” that is core to your financial brand – but it still does not seem right. Maybe it is too “gentle” an image to balance with the other ideas of “adventure” and “exploration”, mentioned above.
Going through this process multiple times can help you come up with some ideas that you start to hone in on.