This is part of our on-going series of primer articles for current and potential clients. Their aim is to help the client understand a little bit of what goes into logo design and branding so that both client and designer start the project on the same page.
Wait... What's a Logo?
Before getting in to the basics of good logo design, first we have to understand what a logo actually is. At a very fundamental level, a logo is a graphic mark which identifies a company, product or service. When the designer takes on your logo job there are four or five key aspects of the design to consider.
Probably the most important aspect of designing a good logo- is it legible? Can a potential customer of yours actually read the logo or understand the shapes they're looking at? For example, a plain logotype in Helvetica font that reads 'McDonald Plumbing' is far more effective than an overly designed plumber's spanner that's been squashed, bent and forced into the lettering. Maybe the plain text isn't as 'clever' but at least it serves a function. The SONY logo below doesn't need any fancy gimmicks to get the job done, does it?
There's no point in following current design trends if they're likely to fall out of fashion in five years time. You want value for your money- a logo that will last at least a decade and continue on beyond that. Of course, there is some wiggle room in this category, as the logo needs to look fresh from the outset. Lasting 50 years would be ideal, but realistically, the logo should stand the test of time with a small refresh every 10-15 years, to make sure it still feels relevant. The Coca-Cola logo has largely remained unchanged since the 1900s. It's a great example of a timeless design.
Another absolutely crucial aspect of the design is to do with the versatility of your logo. It should be able to work in 1 colour, having its colours reversed, scaled right down no bigger than a penny, or blown up the size of a billboard. Its bounding box should also be of a regular shape, so that it's not too tall and thin or short and wide. One reason for this is that it's quite common (depending on your industry) for your logo to be grouped alongside other logos. This can happen in a multitude of scenarios, for example, if you're sponsoring an event with other companies. All of the different logos will be limited to a specific height or width and if your logo has an abnormal form, it'll be far less prominent than the others.
In order for your customers to remember your logo, it helps if the design is in some way identifyingly unique. This can be achieved in a number of different ways, for example, using an unusual colour, or bringing two seperate items together into 1 smart design, or employing a finishing style that isn't often used. Who can forget the iconic 2012 London Olympic Games logo? Did they push too hard trying to make it unique? Definitely not, it was a one-off event that only lasted a few weeks, it got people talking and it soon became apparent that the logo itself played a very small part in the overall brand. A job well done!
Your logo also needs to be appropriate to your market. The style needs to reflect and suit your service or product. It would be completing wrong, for example, to use a comic-book style font for a traditional financial institute. Here's an example of a logo nailing the kiddy look. Toys R Us uses bright primary colouring, bubble letters and a back-to-front 'R'. Which on reflection looks cute to some but perhaps a little patronising to others.
Let's Get Started...
Hopefully this short primer on logo design basics has helped with some of the key points to consider. You can continue reading our other articles for more information, and feel free to get in touch to start your project. We look forward to working with you!