What Is A Logo?
To understand what a logo is, we first must understand what the main purpose of logos is. The design process must aim to make the logo immediately recognizable, inspiring trust, admiration, loyalty and an implied superiority. The logo is one aspect of a company’s commercial brand or economic entity, and its shapes, colors, fonts, and images usually are strikingly different from other logos in the same market niche. Logos are used to identify.
Paul Rand, one of the world’s greatest designers states that “a logo is a flag, a signature, an escutcheon, a street sign. A logo does not sell (directly), it identifies. A logo is rarely a description of a business. A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around. A logo is less important than the product it signifies; what it represents is more important than what it looks like. The subject matter of a logo can be almost anything.”
For more on Paul Rand, consider reading the book Design, Form & Chaos.
What Makes A Good Logo?
A good logo is distinctive, appropriate, practical, graphic and simple in form, and it conveys the owner’s intended message. A concept or “meaning” is usually behind an effective logo, and it communicates the intended message. A logo should be able to be printed at any size and, in most cases, be effective without color. A great logo essentially boils down to two things: great concept and great execution.
Logo Design Process
“Some wonder what’s so difficult about creating a good logo. They’re small, they look easy to do, so no problem, right? When you only see the result of a designer’s efforts, the logo creation can look like it was a simple task. But it’s not. A logo takes thought and creativity, and many elements combine to make a good one.” (via Harrison Mcleod)
When creating a logo, follow a process that ensures the final design meets the needs of the clients. Below, we have listed the typical process that professional logo designers follow. With practice, you will no doubt develop your own.
Design brief. Conduct a questionnaire or interview with the client to get the design brief.
Research. Conduct research on the industry itself, its history and competitors. Problem-solve first, design later.
Reference. Conduct research on logo designs that have been successful and on current styles and trends that may relate to the design brief. Follow trends not for their own sake but rather to be aware of them: longevity in logo design is key.
Sketching and conceptualizing. Develop the logo design concept(s) around the brief and your research. This is the single most important part of the design process. Get creative and be inspired. As Dainis Graveris has written once, “sketching isn’t time-consuming and is a really good way to put ideas in your head right on paper. After that, it’s always easier to actually design it on the computer. Sketching helps to evolve your imagination: once you understand it, you will always start from just white paper.
Reflection. Take breaks throughout the design process. This helps your ideas mature, renews your enthusiasm and allows you to solicit feedback. It also gives you a fresh perspective on your work.Revisions and positioning. Whether you position yourself as a contractor (i.e. getting instructions from the client) or build a long-lasting relationship (i.e. guiding the client to the best solution), revise and improve the logo as required.Presentation. Present only your best logo designs to your client. PDF format usually works best. You may also wish to show the logo in context, which will help the client more clearly visualize the brand identity. Preparing a high-quality presentation is the single most effective way to get your clients to approve your designs.”Canned presentations have the ring of emptiness. The meaningful presentation is custom designed—for a particular purpose, for a particular person. How to present a new idea is, perhaps, one of the designer’s most difficult tasks. This how is not only a design problem, it also pleads for something novel.Everything a designer does involves a presentation of some kind—not only how to explain (present) a particular design to an interested listener (client, reader, spectator), but how the design may explain itself in the marketplace… A presentation is the musical accompaniment of design. A presentation that lacks an idea cannot hide behind glamorous photos, pizazz, or ballyhoo. If it is full of gibberish, it may fall on deaf ears; if too laid back, it may land a prospect in the arms of Morpheus.” (Paul Rand)Delivery and support. Deliver the appropriate files to the client and give all support that is needed. Remember to under-promise and over-deliver. After you’ve finished, have a beer, eat some chocolate and then start your next project.