When a brand is under attack from threatening forces within a hostile marketplace, its best defense is a formidable brand identity. A brand has been defined as the name, logo, that distinguish a product or a service form others. Logo design has become quite an art and skill over the years and it takes a lot of good techniques to master it. Let me share some 10 tips and tricks on how to kick start your logo design.
1. Back to basics.
Obvious I know, but you'd be surprise how many young designers neglect their sketchbook. Ideas can flow much faster between a pen and paper than they can a mouse and monitor. Doodle, scribble and jotting down key ideas relating to the identity you want to create. You don’t need to be an artist to realize the benefits of logo sketching.
2. Work from ground up.
You will be able to focus on the idea by leaving colour to the end of the process. No amount of gradient or colour will rescue a poorly designed mark. Try to imagine it being seen on a postage stamp and a huge bustop ad, - it needs to work in every possible situation. On the contrary, have a read at Ben Terrett's opinions about a black and white logo.
3. Don’t use more than 2 fonts.
There are many nice fonts out there and we would all love to use as many as we can. Unfortunately using too many fonts will most of the time result in a loss of coherence and it will make the viewer feel multiple emotions that fight against one another. Using two different(not too different, preferably under the same theme) fonts can be good to create a contrast, catching the eye.
4. Leave trends to the fashion industry.
Where brand identity is concerned, longevity is key. If you are passionate and love to look at logo and design sites for inspiration, it's quite hard to escape trends. Try to avoid the web 1.0 swoosh or the web 2.0 reflection, because your logo has to work on the long run.
Don’t follow the pack.
5. Get specific feedback.
Brainstorm a handful of ideas and get feedback from people who are involved in the logo creation as well as a stranger. Asking people’s opinion is worthless if you don’t know what informations you want to get, so when getting feedback, try asking specific questions.
What industry would you think of when you look at this logo?
Does the logo expresses the industry of the company?
6. Consider your shapes carefully. Be appropriate.
Figure out your audience and the message you're trying to send out. Rounded edges versus sharp corners can mean the difference between aggressive and passive messages. If the company you are designing the logo for wish to convey action and excitement then using smooth, curving shapes may not be the proper solution. Designing for a lawyer? Ditch the fun approach. Designing for a kid’s TV show? Nothing too serious. Research your angle and the sort of design that it will require. I could go on, but you get the picture.
7. Photos are a BIG NO NO.
Photos are not vectors.They also don’t scale, have no branding value and are hard to adapt for any use.
Rulers and guides are your best friends while working on the logo. It may look perfect and spot-on to your eye, but when it's blown up to the size of a billboard, any millimeter out of line will be magnified.
9. Work with vectors.
Vectors are the secret to a good logo. Creating your logo in vectors are the best because it can be used and exported into pretty much any format, blown up to any size and still not grind your email to a halt.
10. Keep variations of the logo.
Keep all the various stages of your logo. During the design process, you duplicate and duplicate again, making changes to a fresh copy of your logo. You'd be surprise the evolution of your logo. This also helps you to justify yourself to clients when they suggest an idea you know doesn't quite work.
Sites for Logo Inspiration and Logo News and Opinions
Logo Pond - Identity inspiration. A place to fish for ideas, Brand and Identity showcase.
Logo Sauce - Provides logo design services via a competition format. Clients can host a design competition and receive logo concepts from numerous designers.
Logo of the Day - Logo Of The Day is a place to come for logo design inspiration daily. It is also a place to discuss, share & rate logo design.
Logo Design Works Blog - Blog containing latest tips and news about logos.
Logolog - Logo design blog by Denis Radenkovic
Identity and Logo Design Books Worth Reading
Logo Design Workbook focuses on creating powerful logo designs and answers the question, "What makes a logo work?" A step-by-step through the entire logo-development process. Topics include developing a concept that communicates the right message and is appropriate for both the client and the market; defining how the client's long-term goals might affect the look and needs of the mark; choosing colors and typefaces; avoiding common mistakes; and deciphering why some logos are successful whereas others are not.
The logo bible, this book provides graphic designers with an indispensable reference source for contemporary logo design. More than 1300 logos are grouped according to their focal form, symbol, and graphic associations into 75 categories such as crosses, stars, crowns, animals, people, handwritten, illustrative type, etc. To emphasize the visual form of the logos, they are shown predominantly in black and white.
Designing Brand Identity helps companies create stronger brands by offering real substance. With an easy-to-follow style, step-by-step considerations, and a proven, universal five-phase process for creating and implementing effective brand identity, the book offers the tools you need, whether a brand manager, marketer, or designer, when creating or managing a brand. This edition includes a wealth of full-color examples and updated case studies for world-class brands such as BP, Unilever, Citi, Tazo Tea, and Mini Cooper.
Do you have any more recommendations of books/sites/tips to share? Please feel free to send them to us.