Logo Testing: A Framework for Analyzing Your Survey Results, Part 2

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Posted Aug 04, 2011
Kathryn Korostoff

In our previous article, Logo Testing: Your Target Market Can Help You Pick a Winner, Part 1, we covered the basics of logo testing, but what about when you get the results? Now we're ready for the fun part: actually putting the data you have collected to work.

Don’t Get Drunk on Logo Testing

Reading logo testing survey results can be intoxicating. One logo may have done unexpectedly well, another unexpectedly poorly. Looking at how opinions vary by gender or age may reveal fascinating differences. But you have to use this data wisely. It’s not the magic 8 ball of logo selection.

In the real world, your logo will appear in print, online, and both with and without text. It may appear in larger and smaller formats, sometimes in black and white and other times in color. While logo testing can be a great way to prioritize logo ideas and weed out the really weak ones, it’s not — and cannot be — 100 percent comprehensive.

Another challenge with logo testing is that it tends to be a very emotional topic. People in your organization, whether it’s your executive staff, marketing team or other colleagues will have strong opinions about which logo design they like, and consensus is rare. Likewise, you are unlikely to have consensus from your survey respondents. Different people will prefer different logos.

As you read through your logo testing survey data, keep these 4 principles in mind:

#1 It is Not a Popularity Contest

Just because one logo design “wins” does not mean you should use it.

Wait, isn’t that the purpose of the logo survey?


AYTM’s CEO Lev Mazin explains, “When you ask consumers to choose between logo variants, you can get their weighted reactions on presented variants but that doesn't mean they'll pick the BEST logo. In fact in most cases they will choose an average variant, not the worst, not the best. It takes a leap of faith to launch a great brand, logo or corporate identity without knowing WHAT it will eventually mean to people, but it has no chance to be great if you totally trust consumers to make this decision for you.”

# 2 Brand Building Takes Time

Yes, a great logo is, well, great. But as Lev explains, a great logo can take time—it’s not like instant coffee. Lev explains, “As an example, Apple's emblem is a great design. It's clean and elegant, it has several layers of meaning and it’s very professionally done. However if no one had ever heard of the Apple brand and you tested this logo among other variants for a technology company, chances are this logo wouldn't be picked by the majority of respondents. They would rather vote for something like "DELL" because it's more in line with what they think a technology logo should look like.”

#3 Weeding Out Is Progress

The most common benefit of a logo testing project is that you will effectively weed out the weakest ideas — the ones with clearly negative associations, mismatched value propositions, or brand confusing elements. Anyone who has done a logo design project knows that you and your colleagues can easily waste weeks debating the merits and flaws of each design. A quick online survey is a great way to take a list of, say, six potential designs and narrow it down to the two finalists without wasting a lot of internal time. As CEO Lev Mazin explains, “In most cases a logo survey will help you weed out unreadable, confusing, really ugly or nonsense logos. If respondents are engaged enough to take the time to think about your industry/product in conjunction with the logo, they'll give you a pretty good idea whether or not they EXPECT your logo variant to be associated with it (again, based on their experience).”

#4 Logos Convey Messages

In the best case, your survey results will clearly indicate which logo options the target market finds distinctive and memorable, and which convey your intended message or brand personality. Did survey takers see one of the logo designs as more modern? Another as more conventional? Did one seem to convey more fun, while another was more serious? Images do trigger reactions, and while some of these can be molded over time–understand gut responses will help you narrow your options.

Logo Testing Bottom Line

Whatever your results, the benefits of testing your logo ideas within your target market are clearly evident. With careful analysis, you’ll be well on your way to selecting a truly effective logo and, ultimately, a brand. What’s in a name? Truly, everything!

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