Community Marketing Specialists

Tips for Designing Logos for Cities and Destinations

Everyone loves to talk logos when the topic of branding is mentioned. We decided to go straight to an expert to learn the secrets of creating logos for destinations and cities. Kevin Hinson is co-founder and Creative Director for Brainspur, a creative partner of Chandlerthinks. Kevin has quite literally designed more than 50 logos just […]

Everyone loves to talk logos when the topic of branding is mentioned. We decided to go straight to an expert to learn the secrets of creating logos for destinations and cities. Kevin Hinson is co-founder and Creative Director for Brainspur, a creative partner of Chandlerthinks. Kevin has quite literally designed more than 50 logos just for cities and communities, and likely directed another 50. He has designed logos for destinations from Alaska to North Carolina, from Washington to Mississippi, and many places in between. We asked Kevin to give us a few tips on what it takes for a logo to work. He had four insights for making a great logo.

1. Create an ownable idea. Developing a unique creative expression is a steep task. The design idea must be inspired on insights learned from research. You have to not only make a logo look cool, it has a marketing job to accomplish.

2. Time is your friend. People will learn to love what you create but not everyone is going to love it right away (and some will never like it). And that is okay. This is a tough one for most people to accept. If you work towards creating a logo that everyone likes, it is likely going to be pretty safe (dare we say – boring). If you have something interesting to one person, it will likely not appeal to someone else. You’re not creating a logo to make everyone happy. You create it because it has a job to do (as we previously said).

3. Keep it simple. Do not try to say everything about your community in a logo. It can only effectively communicate one big idea. Do not use your logo to tell the entire story of your community. That’s not a fair thing for it to do. Instead make it simple and strong. It’s a piece of the bigger brand story.

4. It must be flexible for various departments. The design of a municipal logo must be capable of being used on park signs, hats, trash cans, vehicles, social media and even masks. Some designs look nice when they are large and on a computer screen but lose their impact when used as a small digital icon or embroidered on a hat.

We also asked Kevin a few rapid fire questions about logos:
Q: What is the most often used color for municipal logos?
A: Blue and green. Everyone likes to give a nod to their water and trees.

Q: What is the most used symbol or graphic image used in municipal logos?
A: Trees, courthouses or water feature.

Like many other topics around place branding, logo development changes depending on the community. No one place is exactly alike, but these tips are a good start for learning a better path towards success. Thanks for your time Kevin.

Interested in talking more about destination branding? Give us a shout at steve@chandlerthinks.com or 615-498-8313.

If you’d like to know more about Kevin Hinson and brainspur find him at kevin@brainspur.net .

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