Logo Testing: Your Target Market Can Help You Pick a Winner, Part 1

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Posted Aug 02, 2011
Kathryn Korostoff

One of the hardest challenges facing any marketing professional is picking a logo design to represent your brand. Whether you’re rebranding an existing company or launching a new one, picking a logo is a challenge. Very often, we expect our logo to do several things:

  • Convey brand personality
  • Align with value propositions
  • Reflect what your organization does or the market it serves
  • Be distinctive and memorable

That’s a tall order for a small graphic.

Getting Feedback

With online surveys, we can include images so that you can actually get feedback on different logo concepts. This can be approached in a couple of ways:

  • Approach 1: Test one logo option at a time. Design one survey, and then use AYTM’s cloning feature to create that survey three or four times. This will allow you to show each group of respondents a different version of the logo, and then compare the results. This has the advantage of creating a nice short survey design.
  • Approach 2: Test multiple logo options at once. Create a single survey showing each respondent three or four logo options to get their feedback. A disadvantage with this approach is that by offering all of the choices to each person, they tend to want to pick one, even if they don’t like any of them. With this method, you’re really getting a relative measure of the logos you’ve presented, rather than an absolute measure by testing one at a time.
Logo Testing: Opinion Fire

Why test logos with your target market?

Very often, you have several logos and want some input to help make the final choice. A logo testing survey can give you valuable input from your target market.The real benefit is in the sanity check. As AYTM CEO Lev Mazin points out, “It often happens that company founders or junior designers over-think logo design, making a charade out of it. The process is so engaging that once designed you may have a hard time accepting that on examination it just doesn't make sense. Running a survey might help keep you from falling victim to your own "creative glue".”

What can you ask?

A logo testing survey often captures the following reactions to the design(s):









The survey can also be used to determine if the target market thinks the logo is consistent with the brand personality, product category or value proportion. After all, a logo could be very attractive, but simply not seem relevant to the audience. That said, logos aren’t magical—we can’t expect a logo design by itself to convey specific information.

Tip: Make a balanced presentation

Logo Testing: Logos

It's important how you present the logo options. As Lev points out from his experience, “The worst logo design might win just by being PRESENTED BIGGER or in a greater contrast (black/white for example). People tend to react better to something they can see well. Make sure that all logo files in the survey have the same size and proportions (for example, all square images or 2x3). And be sure they’re presented on the same background and with similar margins.”

Logo Testing Sizing
Logo Testing Contrasts

Target Precisely

Logo Testing Virgin Antarctic

Getting logo feedback is hard enough, but it’s also critical that you get your feedback from people who understand your company’s value proposition or product category — they must have relevant context. You don’t want to reject an excellent logo idea because people who aren’t even in your target market don’t understand it, find it unappealing, or find it irrelevant. It’s very important to be sure you are reaching your target market for any logo testing research.

Proceed with Caution

Logo testing is great, but think about what you really want to learn. The goal is not to get a consensus. Lev describes the challenge; “Usually the process is the following: You hire a designer, get a few logo variants and then, to make sure you're choosing the best one for your audience, you launch a survey with all variants… When you're done you'll get an average logo variant out of the presented ones and if they all were poorly designed in the first place you don't have a chance of ending up with something decent after conducting market research.”

What’s in a name?

As Juliet said of Romeo, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. The choice of one logo or another doesn’t change your product or service, nor does it change the fundamental purpose of your company. But your logo is part of building what your target market thinks of your brand. When you choose a logo, you need to be sure that the thoughts it brings to mind are good thoughts and online surveys can help you do just that.

Coming Soon! Logo Testing Part 2: Analyzing & Using Survey Results. In part 2, I’ll be sharing some important tips for using logo testing results—including how to avoid common analysis mistakes.

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