In my last blog post, I talked about the importance of logos for companies. Now I want to dive deeper into the topic of logo development.
As with every design task, the designer needs to ask who, what, why before creating the logo.
- Who is the client? What are the company’s values, attitudes and goals? What does the client want to be in the next year, what in ten years?
- Who is the audience? Women or men? What age?
- Who makes the final decision on the logo? Is it a person the designer doesn’t know and hasn’t seen before presenting the logo?
- What is needed? Does a new logo solve the problem? Or is the problem larger?
These questions are very important. It’s normal to focus on the current needs. The question is if the logo will still fit, if the company will change and expand in the future. Especially when it comes to logo design, the designer needs to think long-term. In order to get to know the company, it’s his job to ask many questions about the client’s positioning, purpose, mission, internal structure, style and manner, goals for the next years, opportunities for growth, promises, audience (current and desired), perception of the brand (current and desired), differentiation from its competitors,…
Identify, don’t explain
A logo is quickly recognizable, memorable and functions as an identifier for the brand. It shouldn’t describe every aspect of the company and not be confusing or forgettable.
A logo is not the solution to everything. It doesn’t automatically mean that people will buy more products of the company, just because you design a new logo.
Make it appealing
Clearly, the message of the brand is most important in the design, but the form catches the viewer’s attention. The most successful logos are simple and dynamic (for example Nike, Mc Donalds, amazon). No matter how complex the structures, products, etc. of the company gets, the logo needs to stay a clear expression of the client. Don’t overdo!
Make it memorizable
To create mnemonic value, the designer needs to consider shapes and colors. People have certain associations when they see certain shapes and colors, whether it’s from cultural origin or something they learned from personal experience. For example, green means go, red means stop.
Raise a question
Don’t give all the facts to the people right away. Logos can leave a little space for interpretation that makes the customer curious and wants to spend more time looking at the logo.
Make it long-lasting
Styles and trends are interesting, but not suitable for logo design. Logos that are designed in the style that is currently „en vogue“ will be outdated really soon and that’s not what the client wants. Additionally, a logo should be able to communicate the intended message over a long period of time and adapt to cultural changes. The ABC logo hasn’t been modified since 1962.
Make it the base of a system
The designer needs to consider that the logo almost never stands alone, it will always be seen in context with other visuals of the company. A logo needs a system including guidelines on how and where to use the logo. For example the color shouldn’t be changed, no new element should be added, etc.
Make the logo suitable for different kinds of media
Consider that the logo needs to be legible and clear on a website, on television, on a newspaper ad, etc. Even if the client only says he wants to use the logo in print at the time of the logo development, it’s the designer’s job to plan ahead. He needs to take the usage of the logo in other kinds of media into consideration and ensure that the logo works.
What came to my mind while writing this blog post was that nowadays, more and more logo making tools are offered on the internet. They encourage the client to make his own logo and therefore, save money and time. In my opinion, these websites could never replace a designer. The designer has much more experience in making concepts, he knows the design principles, the effects of colors, shapes and fonts and is able to see the company with a wider view and a different angle than the client. A logo is so important for a company and is not something that is designed within five minutes. It takes a lot of time to do the research, to brainstorm and to actually design a logo. I also think that logos designed by the clients themselves will not be that long-lasting, because they don’t think further ahead.
Adams, Sean Morioka, Noreen Stone, Terry Lee (2006): Logo design workbook: a hands-on guide to creating logos. Gloucester: MA., Rockport.