Designing The Perfect Logo
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Designing The Perfect Logo

It is impossible to contend the value of a flawlessly designed logo.

If a brand is to be conspicuous amongst dozens of competitors, a memorable logo is vital. You only get a single chance to make a first impression and, more often than not, it is a company logo that a client will first encounter. The logo may be on a webpage, a letterhead, a business card or even a goods-vehicle. The logo is a decisive visual clue to evaluating a company and its products.


With very good reason, a logo is sometimes referred to as an ‘identity’. A logo is the visual representation of a company or organisation and is capable of communicating a message. In some cases the message is subtly hidden.

See: Vaio; FedEx; Amazon

A logo is not simply an attractive graphic printed next to a company’s name. It is an essential brand element and carries recognition value. Consider the following:

70% of the world’s population will not only recognise a ‘Coca-Cola’ or ‘Pepsi’ logo, but also associate the logo with a specific product.

An invoice that flatters through a letterbox will often invoke a groan as soon as the logo on the envelope is recognised.

Hundreds, if not thousands of designers pump out large quantities of poor logos for a wide spectrum of competing organisations, proving that logo design can be a difficult process.

Before the design process can begin, we need to evaluate a client’s objectives and the values they wish to represent with the logo. Target demographics and culture are decisive factors that influence a brand's image. What does an organisation want to communicate? Does it have a distinct personality? Is it serious, or playful? What makes it unique in relation to their competition?

Not only must colours, fonts and images be taken into consideration but also placement and production processes, etc.

1987 Kurt Weidemann redesigned the logo for the Deutsche Bahn [German Railways] — at first glance, all he did was to invert the logo from ‘DB’ in white on a red background to ‘DB’ in red on a white background within a red frame. His fee was €200’000. The fee sounds rather high for the disclosed results. However, consider the fact that the Deutsche Bahn saved hundreds of thousands of Euro every year afterwards – in sieve-printing-inks alone – and you will recognise why the placement and the production process can be so important!

Thanks to the the power of the internet, more logos have escaped into the wild than ever before and this presents us with the challenge of being unique.
Let’s take a look and see what it takes to help your client stand out from the crowd by designing an outstanding, high quality logo.

Keep it Simple
Avoid designs that are too complicated. Gradients, shadows and effects will that look great on your computer monitor are often difficult to print on different materials. Consider the fact that a logo will be copied, perhaps telefaxed or be published in a newspaper. A simple logo design guarantees easy reproduction.

A cluttered logo can affect a business negatively. The most iconic logos are usually the simplest. A simple, memorable design is effortlessly associated with a brand and set it apart from competitors.

See: MacDonalds; Calvin Klein; Nike; WWF

Keep it Competent
Logos should characterise the competence that is expected of your business. A logo transmits the nature of an organisation. Are you designing a logo for a serious business, or one that celebrates their unconventionality? Are you appealing to a conservative or a progressive audience?

A lawyer, for example, requires a logo that is formal enough to be taken seriously. This applies to all serious professions such as councillors, doctors or architects. Businesses that cater to children or adolescents, can be appropriately playful to make products or services notable and unforgettable to their targeted age-group.

See: Corbus Lawyers; Young & Rubicam; Disney; Toys R’ Us; Black & White

Keep it Unique
The aim of a logo is to make an organisation easily identifiable. Market research is essential to ensure that your logo can’t be confused with that of another business. Plagiarism should be avoided at all cost, but parodies or imitation should also be shunned. Your logo must appear unique, particularly when placed side by side with brand competitors.

See: Quark Inc./Acone/Scottish Arts Council/Midas productions; ArtFox/REDFOX

Paying large amounts of money doesn’t necessarily guarantee a unique trademark.

The NBC unveiled new logo in 1976 The design had cost $600,000, an enormous sum in today’s dollars. Immediately after the well-promoted unveiling, the Nebraska Educational Television Network pointed out that they had already been using the same logo for several years. The logo design had cost them $100. Since both companies were broadcasting businesses, NBC was motioned to pay a settlement with the Nebraska ETV Network.

Keep it Classic
Avoid following emerging trends. A well-designed logo will withstand the test of time, Photoshop’s embossed text will not. Ignore current design trends and gimmicks and concentrate on the design itself.
The biggest cliche in logo design is the dreaded “corporate swoosh,” which is nothing more than a parody of the Nike swoosh.

See: Shell; Ford; Canon; Coca-Cola

Keep it Consistent
Choose fonts with care. When designing a logo, fonts are equally as important as colours. An inappropriate font can radically alter the message the logo is supposed to convey.
Use fonts sparingly. Multiple fonts lead to a confused logo that looks anything but unified.
Use equal care when choosing Corporate colours; both fonts and colours will have a ripple effect throughout the corporate appearance and neither should be taken lightly nor put off until the final stages of the design process.
A logo design is just the beginning of building a successful and recognisable brand. Be sure that it stays true to the company's values and intentions by building and following a set of brand guidelines (Corporate Design).

See: Mercedes Benz; Marlborough; Apple

By following the five simple rules above, you'll have a good chance of producing the perfect, timeless logo — now it's all down to your imagination …


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