Have you ever turned up at an event inappropriately dressed, maybe too casual, too formal, you wore 2 different coloured socks? How about waking up for one of the most important events of your life with a huge zit on your forehead? I’m sure you’ve had that experience where someone tells you they’re sure they’ve seen you somewhere before or that you have a familiar face, or you’ve met someone before but just can’t remember what they look like.
Make sure your company looks the part
These little life experiences teach us alot about appearances, how we value them and the impact they have on the decisions we make. Your company or organisation is no different. Ever attend a corporate function or business meeting and all you had were those cheaply printed business cards without a logo and just your companies name written in comic sans font? Every company has its zit moment, the moment when it is not dressed appropriately, when it’s presentation is less than what it should be or gives the wrong impression. Many companies are forgotten because they have not made a memorable impact on those they interact with. It’s like those great television commercials who’s brands you just can’t remember.
What does a logo communicate?
To a company or organisation the logo is a key defining element. The logo isn’t necessarily needed to fullfill any other function than to give the company a face. It tells people who you are, what industry you’re in, the size of your company, the quality of your business, it gives people a sense of your company’s personality and gives them something to remember you by, a way to tell the difference between you and your competitors. Now one logo does not necessarily do this by combining images of elements which directly explain all these things, but neither does the face of a human have written on it every single personality trait, though by looking at someone we get a sense of who they are and what they are about, especially when we look at their expressions, their clothing and the like.
THE ELEMENTS OF LOGO DESIGN
Colour is an important aspect of any logo. Colours carry with them many meanings and emotions. Some colours are subdued and relaxed like soft pastel tones, some are natural and organic while others seem artificially produced, some convey mood or personality. Choosing the right colour for your logo or company brand is very important as it will play a role in the way people respond to and perceive the brand. the colour green for example
Logos come in many different forms. Some are stand alone symbols which carry meaning and are immediately recognized internationally, others only consist of the companies name, some are a combination of words and graphical elements, still others use photographic imagery or detailed illustrative imagery. The choice of which direction to go in depends entirely on the nature of what is being represented. Who is the logo being designed for, what is the product or service, where in the world is it going to be used, who is the target audience, the companies clients and potential clients even who your competitors are.
This is very important as it conveys something kind of intangible but gives people a sense of the feel of your organisation. It conveys personality, quality, approach and can even create an image in people’s minds of what it might be like to deal with you. My personal logo needed to have a little freehand texture of some sort in it as it represented a little of that raw creativity which comes with what I do. If it consisted of smooth perfectly aligned & crafted shapes with soft smooth gradients it would convey a whole different message. An engineering company for example would be better suited with precision lines showing accuracy and technicality, though if the flavour of engineering company was one which focusses for example on community building it might have a different texture and feel to convey something other than the mere technical expertise of the company. This is why certain techie firms stick with the type of logos which suite techies, somethign slick, smooth edged, geometrical shapes, gradients, maybe something glossy as is the trend online at the moment. Texture conveys alot and is a very important aspect to consider when making design decisions for logos or any other brand elements for that matter.
Then comes the textual aspect of your logo. What typeface would you use. The same set of factors comes into play in defining which typeface is best though legibility is another factor to consider especially if the logo will be used in very small sizes like on a web banner for instance, the choice of font will determine how easy it is to read. The way the graphic elements and textual elements interact with each other is equally important and in many cases if the graphical elements are designed before a font is chosen it will affect which fonts are best to use. The better the fit between the font and the graphical elements the more cohesive your logos design will be.
Now comes the fun part, throwing it all together, colour, graphics & fonts. In many cases this is the true test for a match. Some ideas may seem excellent in the mind or in sketch form but once they are put together they fall apart or just make no visual sense. This is one of the most difficult phases of the logo design, getting all the elements to play nicely with each other. Layout is crucial. The logo should have good balance and alignment and even if the balance is off it should be done for effect and not as a standard. The same applies to alignment of the elements. Elements should be placed on some kind of base axis and either aligned center, left or right, top or bottom but they should not just be hap hazardly smacked together.
Using your logo in the right wayÂ
Once you have a logo you’re happy with your responsibilities don’t end there. A logo is a very vulnerable and delicate creature who needs to be protected, cared for and maintained in the right way. Your logo was designed to be best viewed on certain background colours, in combination with certain elements. Your logo has it’s own personal space you should not invade. It can be seriously offended and never recover if you violate its rights. Having a style guide developed along with your logo is very important, especially so if it is going to be used by people outside of your company or possibly those who do not have such a great eye for branding and design.
This will ensure that when you send it away to be included in some publication or advertising or on someones website the fonts will not be changed, it will be placed on the best background colour and possibly the correct version of your logo if you have had versions developed for different usages will be used. Having a few versions of your logo is a good idea. They should not be changed drastically so as to look like a different logo altogether and should mantain their essential presence, but having for example a black & white version for faxing, a darker background version, a version for the web where it might be used very small, a vector version for those times you need to stretch the size to the limit. Flexibility is sometimes important as well though it should be used very intelligently. Make sure you prepare for as many eventualities as possible so you’ll always ensure your logo is looking and behaving in the best way possible.
This post is in progress, but I just couldn’t wait any longer to post it. I hope to add image examples soon and to extend it and clean it up. Let me know what you think so far and if there’s anything further you’d like me to discuss with respect to logo design. If you have any questions about logo design you’d like answered head on over to the Logo Design Q & A page.