HVAC Logos: A Step-by-Step Guide for Designing Memorable Brandmarks
Your HVAC logo is more than just a pretty picture: It’s a cornerstone for your entire brand, a visual representation of who you are.
A good HVAC logo should:
- Help you stand out from your competition.
- Draw in new customers.
- Be memorable to your current customers.
So, how exactly can you accomplish those goals in such a small image?
To find the answer, I sat down with Preston, Rocket Media’s lead designer. Here’s what he recommends clients do to get a memorable HVAC logo:
- Find your positioning
- Evaluate competitor logos
- Audit your current logo
- Hire a professional
Let’s go into each step in detail.
Step 1) Find your positioning
Although it might feel right to start with logo colors and fonts, you need to start with business strategy. There’s a lot that goes into creating an HVAC logo and, without strategy, you’ll go into the process blindly without an objective criteria for creating your logo.
The best way to pinpoint your strategy is with a positioning statement, which is essentially where you want to be in the mind of your customers.
Your positioning statement might look something like this:
For [your target customer] who/that [need/want], [your company] is the brand that/which [point of difference] because [fact/reason to believe].
Here’s an example of one Rocket Media created for our client, Binsky Home Services:
For [New Jersey Homeowners] who [want a tech they know won’t rip them off], Binsky Home is the brand that [has the most trustworthy techs] because [we don’t pay them based on commission].
Learn more about positioning your HVAC company in this article: 3 Steps to Creating Your HVAC Digital Marketing Plan
Once you have your strategy, it’s time to look at your competitors’ logos.
Step 2) Evaluate competitor logos
Now that you know what makes you unique strategically, it’s time to execute tactically. You need to do a competitive brand analysis, evaluating the visual brand aspects of your competitors. You’ll find out what your competitors are doing in terms of design, colors, font styles and so on.
This will help you think about how to design your logo to make it unique. The more you know, the better chance you have of truly differentiating your brand’s logo.
You’ll also make sure you don’t copy anything your competitors are doing, which could lead to some legal trouble (think: copyright infringement).
Step 3) Audit your current logo
A logo audit will help you determine if you should just modify your current logo or start from scratch. The audit includes looking at:
- Number of logo elements
- Logo versatility
- Font styles
- Your audience
Here’s what to look for in each factor.
Don’t have too many elements
“Elements” are the individual pieces that make up your logo: text, icons, colors, images and so on. There’s no magic number of elements to have in an HVAC logo, but when it comes to good design—less is more.
Logos are often asked to carry more weight than they should. Your logo should only be an identifier for your brand, not the legs it stands on. It doesn’t need to communicate everything. Plus, your logo should be memorable and relatable to your audience, which means it can’t be too complex.
While it depends on your positioning and your personality, there are a some logo design elements that don’t work well across the board:
- Illustrations that are too realistic often have too much detail to be readable on small mediums (mobile, business cards, etc.).
- Drop shadows won’t look good on any kind of company shirts.
- Gradients don’t work well when a black or white logo is needed. The variety of colors also raises printing costs.
- Heavy outlining works well for sports logos, but makes a logo hard to read if not done properly.
- Brand characters are a great way to differentiate your brand, but they usually have too much detail for a logo. Keep them as a supporting brand element.
Here are a few examples of logos that have too many elements:
Source: Gartner Heating & Cooling
Keep versatility in mind
Keeping logo design simple is especially important for the HVAC industry because your logo needs to scale to both small and large mediums.
Imagine putting your logo as your Facebook profile picture. Would you be able to read it? With such small real estate, simplicity is necessary. Now imagine your logo on a service van. Would it look as good as it does on your website?
See how Carleton’s logo below becomes unreadable when it’s scaled down?
Instead of having one logo that can run the gamut of mediums, you could style your logo in different ways, so you have an option for any medium.
For smaller mediums, logo styles that work well include:
- Symbol: What probably comes to mind when you think “logo.” A symbol is the icon or graphic-based image associated with a brand.
- Monogram: A letter design using two or more letters to form one symbol.
For larger mediums, logo styles that work well include:
- Wordmark (or logotype): The text-only treatment of a company name.
- Signature (or link-up): The combination of a wordmark and a symbol.
Consider color choice
Color communicates a lot about your company, so make sure you’re communicating the right thing.
When auditing your current logo colors, consider your:
- Color pairings
Just like your brand, colors have personality. People associate moods and feelings with colors, so you want logo colors that fit your brand personality and what you want your customers to think about your company.
To pick colors that fit your brand personality, start with your personality traits.
Is you brand calm and professional? If so, cool colors that inspire calmness and serenity—like green, blue and purple—might work best. If your brand is more lively and exciting, you might want to go with warm colors—red, orange, yellow and so on—which convey happier and more energetic feelings.
Basic color theory maintains that some colors look good together and some don’t. The wrong color pairing will make your logo hard to read, which looks unprofessional and can cause your customers to associate unprofessionalism with your brand.
See how the yellow-on-red and red-on-turquoise combinations are hard on the eyes?
Source: Elite Heating & Air Conditioning
Color can be a way to differentiate your brand from the competition. Preston, our lead designer, shared a chart he made showing one of our client’s competitors in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
As you can see below, most of the competitor logos are blue and red—which creates a great opportunity for our client to differentiate themselves by color.
Think about font style
When it comes to choosing fonts for your HVAC logo, there are two major things to think about:
- Font style choices
- Font number and pairings
Font style choices
Just like colors, fonts have a personality and feelings associated with them.
For example, a font like Times New Roman is seen as traditional, while something like Century Gothic is considered modern and chic. Choosing the wrong font for your logo might communicate something different than what you intend.
Source: The Daily Egg
Font number and pairings
Having too many fonts in your logo can be another issue. A good rule of thumb is to use only one font, but two could work well if you can justify it.
Use caution with multiple fonts because—also like colors—some fonts pair well together and some don’t. The wrong pairing will not only make your logo hard to read, but also make it look unprofessional.
Here you can see that the Snow Canyon logo has too many fonts going on, while Jewell Mechanical chose fonts with different, contrasting personalities:
Source: Jewell Mechanical
Don’t forget about your audience
You should have done an audience analysis when you worked through your positioning; keep this in mind when designing your logo. You need to consider your target market—their age, gender, needs, wants, interests and so on—in order to design a logo that will appeal to them.
This is especially important when it comes to cultural differences, since different cultures will associate different things with your logo elements. Take the color green, for example. In Western cultures, green represents luck, wealth and nature—while in China, wearing a green hat is the symbol of a cuckold.
Understanding your customers will prevent you from designing a logo that doesn’t appeal or is offensive to them.
One sure way to get this right is to hire a professional designer.
Step 4) Hire a professional
There’s a lot to consider when designing an HVAC logo—and the designer you hire really makes a difference. An amateur will design a logo for you, but a great designer will help you create a foundation on which to build your brand.
Not only does a professional understand fundamental elements of design, but a professional will design based on strategy—rather than personal preferences—to give your brand the personalized work it deserves.
To speed up the logo process, give your designer a creative brief, which details your findings from the rest of this article.
A good logo creative brief includes:
- Your positioning statement.
- A competitor list.
- Your logo audit findings.
The brief will give your designer the direction they need to make smart decisions and design a logo that effectively represents your company.
Dont have time to audit your logo?
If you’re swamped for time, just send your logo and any relevant information to firstname.lastname@example.org. He’ll run it through his process outlined above and get back to you with some high-level recommendations.