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The Importance of Your Cannabis Brand Logo

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Your logo is only one part of the overall brand, but it’s the foundation around which you’ll build the story of your business.

A swoosh. An apple with a bite out of it. Golden arches. A white letter “f” in a blue square. We see these logos and we can name the respective companies they represent. Actually, we can do more: We see the logos and we can tell what those companies represent.

That’s the power of a logo. People don’t see the apple with a bite out of it and think of computers or mobile devices, they think about MacBook Pros and iPhones. It’s not just any hamburger the comes to mind when we see those golden arches, it’s a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder with cheese.

Those are some of the biggest companies in the world, but you don’t need to be part of a huge company with a massive marketing budget to have a great logo. Think about what happens when people see the logo representing your cannabis brand? Does it visually communicate your identity and make them think about specific products you offer? Or, do they just think about cannabis in general?

What your logo can and cannot do

The word “Logo” is an abbreviation. Most emblems representing organizations either consist of letters (think IBM) — in which case it’s a logotype — or a symbol or an icon (think Apple) — in which case it’s a logomark design.

Your cannabis brand is how customers will perceive as a whole, and it’s competing against a fast-growing number of cannabis brands looking for ways to differentiate themselves.

Before a logo can do the heavy lifting of representing a brand, the organization behind it must identify and demonstrate what it stands for, what it believes, and why it exists.

Take Apple, for example, its logo could be anything. No matter what the logo was, we would know it represents a human-centric company that believes in aesthetic design and simplicity. Products with that logo are meant to amplify our creativity and make us happy.

It’s the company and the products that do this — not the logo. But those symbols or words can be powerful reminders that reinforce the brand’s meaning.

Focus on creating a logo that’s memorable, that looks unique so you can own it, and that conveys trust and professionalism. Once you have that image, invest brand capital into it. Make sure your logo appears consistently across all media channels (print, digital, packaging, signage, etc.) and use it in all of them. You don’t need to pump a huge marketing budget into your logo to make it great, but you do need to invest the media time you do have into growing the ideals your logo represents.

Colors matter

Your marketing tells the story of your business, and your logo needs to sum that up. Color can be a persuasive ally in that mission.

  • Blue conveys trust, dependability, and strength. IBM, American Express, Dell, and AT&T use blue.
  • Gray conveys balance, calmness, and neutrality. Mercedes, Apple, and Honda use gray.
  • Green conveys peace, health, and growth. Besides a lot of cannabis companies, Whole Foods, Animal Planet, and Starbucks use green.
  • Orange conveys friendliness, confidence, and cheerfulness. Amazon’s orange arrow is an example.
  • Purple conveys creativity, wisdom, and imagination. Hallmark, the Syfy channel, and Yahoo! use purple.
  • Red conveys excitement, boldness, and youthfulness. Virgin and Target use red.
  • Yellow conveys optimism, warmth, and clarity. National Geographic, Shell, and McDonald’s use yellow.

How are you trying to position your cannabis brand? Look at some of the frontrunner brands. Many recently attended the Hall of Flowers cannabis trade show, and their colors have already begun to tell their respective stories.

Color is one of the most important elements of a logo. One study found that 92.6 percent of people surveyed said color was the most important contributor to their purchasing decision. It can have an immediate impact, as well. Research suggests that we make a subconscious judgment about a product within the first 90 seconds of seeing it.

Shape your image

It’s your choice whether to integrate the shape of a cannabis leaf into your logo design. What else does your brand communicate? The shape of your logo can help.

  • Circular logos convey a positive emotional message of organization and stability, as well as community, unity, or protection. Target, Audi, and Starbucks use circles.
  • Curves convey rhythm, motion, and productivity. Intel and Coca-Cola are curved.
  • Spirals convey evolution and creativity. Hilton’s logo is a spiral.
  • Arrows convey direction and expedience. FedEx and Amazon use arrows.
  • Triangles convey power, science, purpose, and stability. Chevron, Delta, and Caterpillar are triangular.
  • Squares convey familiarity, trust, and order. American Express and Microsoft use them.
  • Vertical lines convey courage, masculinity, and strength. Soundcloud and Cisco use this.
  • Horizontal lines convey order, calmness, and tranquility. AT&T and IBM use them.

Logos in 2019 work harder than ever

Once upon a time, your logo only had to worry about looking good if it was enlarged to the size of a highway billboard or put on a store sign. Today’s logos must withstand being shrunk to the size of an icon that can be covered by a fingertip. The Apple logo Steve Jobs commissioned graphic designer Rob Janoff to design in 1976 would never work on his iPhones.

But Apple’s logo transformation is the perfect representation of what should happen to any logo over time. It’s a visual summation, an instant reminder of how we feel when we use Apple products. It doesn’t make us think about the computer and personal entertainment industry. It makes us think about iPhones or MacBook Pros or AirPods.

That’s a pretty big accomplishment for a little monochrome apple symbol with a bite out of it. Even though your company may not feel like it can compare to Apple now, your logo has the same opportunity to represent a great brand. Take it beyond the cannabis industry and make it a visual summation of what you stand for — an instant reminder of what makes your company unique.

Read more about the right way to market your cannabis brand on the Bacon Bits blog.

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