“Any chance you could knock me up a logo? I only want something simple”
We have lost track of the amount of times we have heard that phrase!. Would you ask a bricklayer to just knock you up a supporting wall for your house or ask a mechanic if he can make your cars brakes just about work? Of course you wouldn’t…but we all know someone who will!
Our first question to you is “Do you know what’s in a logo?”
Any graphic designer who takes on a new logo project will spend time to understand both the company/individual and their audience. They will need to understand what your logo needs to say and who it needs to say it too, but first off what makes a good logo?
Most logos follow these basic principles at some level in their design
Is the design simple and clean enough to be flexible and easily recognizable?
Like a good whiskey, distilling the essence of your message down into something clean and simple yet complex with lots of content takes a long time and is fraught with failure on it’s journey. A good designer will spend a long time discovering what works and what doesn’t. With good research and a wealth of experience, those layouts you are supplied, no matter how many options, contain some considerable amount of thought. Most designers never swith off as inspiration can come from the strangest of places. Watching a film, reading an article, inspiration from other designs or just eating way too much cheese before bedtime!
Does it scale? Will it work across various social media, stationery, workwear, vehicle signage and within different contexts?
When we say does it scale, what we are asking is about the file format. Again, too many times we see logos being provided that were maybe pulled from a free site or only cost a fiver to produce and the format was never correclty supplied. A .jpeg or .png file may look great on your social media and email signature but it will never work on the side of a van, shopfront or workwear. A good design service will supply you a bank of files in various formats as part of your media pack or brand guidlines. Explaining how to use the logo is just as important as the logo itself.
Is it quickly recognizable?
Can you connect with the logo from the top deck of a bus at 100m and doing 30mph? Some of the best logos are so iconic because they work in the blink of an eye but making a logo that memorable takes time. Not just in the design but also in the application and usage. Like any advertising, it is about consistant usage and a consitant message. If your customers consitantly see your logo in areas they expect to see you then you will contantly build loyalty and memorability.
Does it connect?
We all have an idea of what we like but that may be a long way away from what your customers expect and are comfortable with. Make your logo unique but also make sure it aligns with your industry. Not all plumbers need a tap as a logo but a rabbit in a hat is also probably not the most appropriate to make that instant connection.
Will it still be a great logo in 10, 20, or even 50 years? Let’s hope so!
Working on logos is one of the most rewarding for any designer as this part of a business will hopefully be in the public conciousness for a long time. Constantly connecting to a specific group or defining an era is what keeps designing exciting.
Thinking about all these basic principles we hope you have a clearer idea now of what it takes to create a unique logo and what you need to discuss with your designer.
As a final signoff you should also discuss ownership of the logo. Although you have paid for the designers time to come up with a new logo, it is ultimately still the designers copyright.
The Nike Swoosh corporate trademark was created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson while she was a graphic design student at Indian Institute of Art and Design. For her services, the company paid her $35, citing that she worked 17.5 hours on creating the Swoosh, although Davidson said that she is certain she worked more hours on the design.
Davidson continued working for Blue Ribbon Sports (it officially became Nike, Inc. in 1972) until the design demands of the growing company exceeded one person’s capacity. In September 1983, NIKE CEO Phil Knight gave Davidson a golden Swoosh ring with an embedded diamond and 500 shares of Nike stock (which have since split into 32,000 shares) to express his gratitude.
We are not all after a diamond ring but remember, even the big companies understand the value of copyright.