Marketing professionals may also be able to give advice on the latest color trends or the psychological impact of color and shape, Benson says. "Right now, it's all about greens, tans, browns and oranges -- colors reflecting the earth, whereas 10 years ago, bright colors were popular," she says.
And men and women tend to respond differently to shapes, she adds. For example, studies have shown that triangles yield high retention rates among both men and women, but men associate the triangle with mystery and power, while women associate it with threat and danger. The oval seems to appeal to both sexes.
Gender reactions to colors are more similar, Benson says -- blue scores low for both men and women in terms of reaction and recollection, while red scores high, even though men associate this color with excitement and women associate it with intimacy.
Berry plans to involve users with the final decision on the Oregon transportation department's IT logo. His staff developed the two prototypes, but he plans to get user feedback on the interactive Web portal before making a final choice. Berry does have his own preference, but he says, "I don't want to force that on folks. They have to internalize what we are doing and what we should be doing."
That's a good approach, says Azzarello. "Develop a few samples and ask people, 'If you saw this, what impression would you have?' If you want to be known for responsiveness or always meeting service levels, ask if the logo supports that," she says.
Likewise, if your IT operation is decentralized, it's important to check with the other groups before developing a logo. Bender Consulting's Archibald says that he once worked at a Fortune 20 company where the decentralized IT units each came up with the idea to brand themselves on their own. "It became clear we were not one organization but many," he says. "It showed how fractured we were, and it was confusing to employees throughout the company."
Similarly, developing a logo for a small technology group might alienate it from the larger IT organization. Druby recalls a Web group at his former employer that proposed a logo and a separate name to create its own identity for showcasing its work. "It was a good idea, but I put a stop to the effort because it needed to be done for all of IT, not just a certain group," he says.
On the flip side, Archibald has seen a decentralized IT operation pull together on a branding effort that represented IT as a united front. The logo was in the shape of a triangle bounded by arrows representing the three regions of the company. The arrows suggested that while each IT group reported to an individual region, it was a continuous organization.
After all that work, use it