Morning coffee is always better with a colorful wall of creamers to choose from. Should I go with Irish Creme, French Vanilla, or Southern butter pecan? More importantly, why do all these flavors come from exotic locales? Isn’t vanilla just plain vanilla? More places should offer free cofee condiments. One gas station I got my morning coffee from even had large glass bottles of different flavors you could add – good stuff.
Color is not the answer. When designing your logo dont get hung up on color. While color is important, a good logo starts in black and white. The test of a good logo is stripping it of all its embellishments and color and resulting with a logo that is just as recognizable as before. Before you start trying Pantone after Pantone looking for the magic color that will “look right”, try reducing your logo to just black and white.
Forcing yourself to work with this pallete will help you create a logotype or symbol that is strong enough on its own, that color then serves to strengthen logo recognition. Take McDonalds golden arches, for instance. The arches, a clean symbol, are further recognizable when given the famous yellow, or “golden” color. Look at the variety of things McDonald’s can now do with their logo. From a simple, black set of arches and the word McDonald’s, to a colored reverse, to a full-on 3D logo – a strong foundation allows McDonalds this freedom.
Larger corporations have already taken into account that their logo will undergo faxing, emailing, scanning and reproduction by many authors and using a plethora of tools to do so. How often do you think about how well your logo reproduces when faxed to someone in black and white? Does it turn into a duotone splotchy mess? If so, back to the black and white drawing board.
The big companies also incur larger advertising costs and are always on the lookout for ways to cut down on these costs. This plays into logo design more than most people realize, or give credence to. A two-color logo is far easier to print and reproduce than a 4 color job. Increasing the number of colors used ramps up printing costs exponentially and can inhibit you from creating certain promotional products. Glows, fades and other transparency based color tricks dont reproduce well when it comes to putting this logo on shirts and hats. Multi-color print jobs might also force you to find a printer than can accomodate your needs. The local printers in my area are pretty chimpy and many cannot even handle 4-color jobs!
Throw away that color wheel, burn that pantone chart and most importantly, have fun with your logo!
Logos are seen everywhere. Everyone’s got a logo. A company logo is the first line of communication with potential clients and peers, yet many logos just plain suck. This begs to ask: How do the popular brands everyone is familiar with come up with their logos? What makes a logo eye-pleasing? How can a logo created in the 1800’s still stand for a carbonated, delicious and refreshing soda? This is the first installment in this “5 tips for good logos” series.
First lets transplant our brains. As designers we can get caught up in the “coolness” of our own personal taste. Just because we “get it” doesn’t mean others will. So before we continue, lets take our brains and place them into the heads of your average consumer. This is now the point of view we should be looking at our logo from. I find it relaxing to imagine my brain floating away landing with a slight “plop” into someone else’s head. Anytime you critically look at your work, do it from this perspective – the mind of an average consumer.
Now that you are in the right frame of mind its important to understand the value of a proper logo/identity. I include the term “identity” because your logo is integral, if not the focal point, of your corporate identity. Primarily your logo acts as a communicator, your first salesperson. Its presence on your business cards, letterhead, website etc, means your logo will speak to more pepole than any form of communication you do business with. Your company identity is already defined, it is up to the graphical representation of your identity (your logo) to properly convey what your identity is to the masses. Your logo is your company.
Read that again, Your Logo = Your Company. This simplistic view allows you to realize that the masses equate your company, with your logo. They become one. Synonymous. Interchangeable.
Tip #1.) Font First
The font you choose is probably the most important decision you will make when designing your logo. You want your company name to stand out in that consumer’s mind, right? Well, when Joe Sixpack looks at your logo, the first thing he does is scan it from left to right and read it. Your company name needs to be legible! I don’t know how many logos I see that commit the fatal mistake of using some overly curly script font that is not instantly recognizable. Take a look at some of the prominent brands we all know so well. Sony, Times, Ford all use the way that their name is displayed, as the logo. Do you see some odd shape next to Sony’s name? Not all logos have a shape or symbol. In fact, more popular logos do not have a symbol or icon next to the company name.
A potential client should be able to quickly look at your logo and read it. The second he or she has to pause and try to read it – you’ve lost them. Legibility applies to color and script fonts, too. The Ford logo above might look a little light in the loafers with dark text on a light background – but the reverse adds legiblity to a typically harder to read script font. If your logo has a strong emphatic font, but is lightly colored, it too will be hard to read. Sony opted for no color. Contrastingly, Time goes with the most eye catching color, red. Color is up to you – as long as it does not affect how easy to read your logo is.