PLEASE, NO AUTOGRAPHS

Here is a post I recently wrote on using your signature as your logo. If you are in brand development mode, this post is for you! Many peeps might not agree with me at all, but this is my design story and I'm sticking to it :) What do you think - yes or no or mayyyyybe? (Post is a longer read so grab your coffee for this one).

While your logo is not your brand – it is one component of it – you will always need to begin with a great logo in order to get your fab visual identity rolling.

There is a general consensus out there that since you are the entrepreneur running your own biz, then your logo should be very personal. If you are the brand then you should connect to your logo in a way that makes you say “yes, that is me and that feels right.”

I could not agree more.

However, what I see over and over again is entrepreneurs insisting that their personal signature – or a variation of it – be used as their logo.

This is a boo-boo of epic proportions. In fact, drop the Montblanc right now and step away from the notepad.

Your signature may be beautiful, loopy, organic and unique, but it is going to kill your brand. Ouch.

Using one’s signature as a logo is the ultimate rookie mistake and I see it happen often. And I can see the allure. Clients look at their signature and say “It is sooooo me!” or “It is totally my personality! See the way I cross my Ts on a quirky angle?” I get it. But you need to drop it.

The biggest reason not to use your personal scribe is that 100% of all signatures are not truly legible. Legibility, which is the quality of type that affects word recognition, is the most important factor when creating a logo. Aesthetics, style, colour – all of those qualities should only be considered after legibility is confirmed. If people can’t read your logo then you will be forgotten. And that, my entrepreneurial friends, sends your brand to disasterville.

There is an awesome clothing store in Toronto that I love to shop at, let’s call it ‘Anna’s Boutique’. The truth is, if I hadn’t been told what the store was actually called, I would never have known. Her logo incorporates her signature and it is highly simplified – it kinda resembles a squiggly snake. Walking or driving by, with only a few seconds to read her sign, you cannot figure out what the heck the store is called. Someone might remember the store has a scribble on the awning, but is that really all you want your potential customers to recall? No, you want them to name drop and exclaim, “I just saw this great store on Maple St. called ‘Anna’s Boutique’. You need to go, pronto!”

Anna has undoubtedly looked at her signature a billion times and thinks, of course, it reads as ‘Anna!’ Unfortunately, it is obvious to Anna and Anna alone. This is when you need to think like a businessperson and allow for some personal disconnect.

Danielle Laporte is one of the few to pull off a signature-style logo. In her case, she has only her first name in handwritten script, and balances it with her last name in sans serif cap letters. Likely she had a skilled designer simplify and stylize ‘Danielle’ so it is similar to her signature, but made more clear and legible. I call it an ‘autograph-inspired’ logo, and it works only because it is done properly with care.

I say ditch the loosey-goosey scribbles and go for crisp and clean. Keep it simple – especially in this digital era where people are often seeing your logo for the first time on their smartphone. There are better ways to infuse your awesome personality into your brand, I promise. Don’t make me come over and steal all your fancy schmancy pens in the middle of the night, okay?