What makes a great real estate logo?
I can’t tell you how many real estate logos I’ve seen that have a house with a swooshie roofline, or a key with cursive font. Hundreds? Thousands? Your logo does not have to have a house on it. Or a key.
What should it be? It should be distinctive, attractive, simple, and reflect who you are. It does not have to reflect what you do, ergo have a house with a swooshie roof. Think about this. Does the Apple logo have a mac in it? Does Nike’s logo have a shoe? The FedEx logo doesn’t have a box, CocaCola doesn’t have a bottle, etc. The purpose of a logo is not to show the world what you do. It’s to show them who you are.
Differentiating Where There's Equal Utilitarian Value
Logos and branding are important to differentiate what may otherwise seem to be equivalent alternatives. The utilitarian value is the same. They’re both laptops, both powerful, both have features that the other does not, but essentially they serve the same purpose. Ditto with Coke and Pepsi, Nike and Adidas, UPS and FedEx.
If you didn’t know Apple’s brand at all, and just looked at a Mac vs a Surface, you would be evaluating based on product only, and not making a gut decision to buy a Mac because, well, because it’s a Mac. The goal for building a brand for your real estate business, and for the logo as a part of that brand, is to set your business apart from the hundreds or thousands of other choices that a consumer has for their real estate needs.
What A Logo Does For You
It’s not just about making a logo that looks nice. You have to shift your thinking to what it needs to do. The hardest part of choosing a logo for your real estate business is to step back and think objectively. What is the consumer going to see when they look at it? Is it memorable? Is it unique in your market? Will it appeal to the audience that you want to reach?
Before I start talking about colors and fonts with a client, I want to get to know who they are, where they work, what their niche is, and who their ideal clients are. Your logo is one piece of your overall brand, but it’s a critical one. To create the right logo, we have to talk about what your brand is. If you’re not sure, we need to figure that out first. We could create a logo without it, but it would be a waste of money.
Understanding the Tanglibles
Logos are made up of a combination of visual elements of your brand. Colors, typography, color scheme, and sometimes images (a great logo can be just text and doesn’t have to include a graphic).
I use color theory and color psychology to guide color choice. Colors evoke emotions, they place a business in time as more modern or more old-fashioned, and they denote whether your style is more fun loving, more serious, or more engaging. Have you ever noticed that American Express, Chase Bank, Dell, and Ford all use almost the exact same blue? Blue denotes trust, logic, and stability. Unlike two womenshowing up to a party wearing the exact same dress, this is not an accident. They’ve chosen it for the message it conveys
The typeface (or font) that we use for your logo needs to be carefully chosen, too. Yes, it should look good, but it should also be easy to read, and the style should match your brand image. Serif fonts (where the letters have little “feet”), san-serif (where they don’t), script, and decorative typefaces each have a different impact on the message that your logo sends. A lot of newspapers use serif fonts because they are serious, while startups use sans serif because it looks modern. Like all the blue serious companies, this is also intentional.
The image or the graphic, like the colors and font, should be carefully thought through. A graphical element in a logo can a pattern, a custom drawing, an icon, or framing. We talked about Apple and Nike earlier. Both use an icon in their logo and often no text at all. My logo is all typography, but with just a frame and a couple of small lines as a graphical elements. We also talked about FedEx. Their logo is text only, without any graphic. Whether or not you need an image and, if so, what that image should be is a part of the brand strategy.
Where to Start?
I always recommend that the branding process starts with discovery. It helps to define what your brand should look like. Every branding or design expert will do things their own way. For me, I start with a conversation where we just talk, I ask a lot of questions to get a framework in my mind, then I use a questionaire to help nail down some of the nuances and aesthetics. Next I do quick mockups of differnent ideas, and we work inward from there, with each review looking at what works, what doesn’t work, what you like, what you don’t like, until we land on a brand image that works.