Part 4 – Using the correct utensils
When using both type and symbols, we must consider how our choice of font will work positioned near the symbol.
These days there is an endless selection of fonts available. It’s possible to categorise them into genres such a script, serif, sans serif, slab serif, gothic etc.
The old faith-full’s: Helvetica, Arial, Gill Sans, Times New Roman and Garamond are timeless and are always a good place to start. More modern typeface such as: Frutiger, Futura, Myriad Sans, Calibri and Trebuchet also have qualities that would lend themselves very well to logo legibility as they are clean and un-fussy.
However, you need to choose a typeface that is reflective of your business and matches the style of your design. It’s very easy to go down the wrong path and choose a typeface that you like, rather than a typeface that works best for your brand.
Unless suited to your type of business, for instance – a nursery; a family holiday company; a sandwich bar etc., try to avoid fonts that are too playful or elaborate as they can impair the legibility of your logo.
You can find examples of typefaces from a selection of genres here at dafont.com – but remain mindful of your own business genre, whilst you explore!
For us mere mortals our use of iconography dates as far back as the Greeks and Etruscans, not forgetting the Egyptian script.
These visual elements were the prologue to the story of the alphabet and consequently the written language. In brief, an icon is a symbolism for something instantly recognisable that replaces the necessity for a lengthy explanation.
These days, following in the footsteps the modern masters of the last century, such as Picasso and Matisse, our icons can be more abstract, and don’t necessarily have to have a cognitive connection to a particular object. We attempt at symbolising an action or movement, like a swoosh or swirl. We use graphical elements that suggest textures and emotions. We use light-casting to emphasis shadows and highlights to give our designs a sense of dimension and depth.
I strongly advise checking out what’s out there in today’s market with regards to logo design as there are some fairly common trends. There’s an abundance of logo design books on the market today, you only have to surf through Amazon to peruse at your leisure (check out ‘Logo design – volume 2′ by Taschen [pg.249], we’re in it !). However, I did discover an interesting blog article recently by logolounge. They have reviewed thousands upon thousands of logos over the year thus far and identified some quite common trends. Worth a look if you’re after some inspiration!
Once a brand has gained high level recognition, (nationally or globally) it may be possible to remove the text and use the icon as a stand-alone logotype. Using examples such as the Nike tick and the golden arches of McDonalds, this kind of manoeuvre really does seem to work for the big players who have a need for a logo refresh in order to remain ‘current’ in these ever-changing times.
Confidently dropping the text from their logos allows their companies to develop and evolve without losing the intrinsic essence of the brand that they have previously invested an enormous amount of time, effort and dedication to.
Don’t forget, the combination of text and icon is generally the preferred option for new businesses start-ups as it helps to build brand recognition.
Next time – Part 5 – Setting the timer
Continuing on from my original Jargon buster, I have had some requests to keep going and explain some more. So here we go:
PageRank is a Google term, but all Search Engines use something similar.
The Official Google Definition:
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important”.
PageRank can fall between 0 and 10, with 10 being the best. Not even Google itself has a PR of 10 and each step up the scale is incrementally more difficult to achieve, so it is much harder to get from a PR of 4 to 5 than it is from 0 to 1 for example.
When calculating your PageRank other things can also be taken into consideration such as quality of your site, age of your site etc. You can find out your PageRank here: http://www.prchecker.info/
The Alexa Rank of a website is a calculation of how popular and important a site is on the web. The lower your Alexa Rank, the better. Broadly speaking, if your Alexa Rank is 10,000,000, then you are the 10,000,000th most popular website on the internet.
In order to increase your website’s PageRank you will need to engage in some inbound link building. This means that you will have to get other websites to link to you. You can do this by submitting your site to relevant internet directories or by asking other webmasters in your “industry community” to link to your site from their site.
The trick with link building is to firstly ensure that the people linking to you are relevant to your industry so if you are in the bicycle business, you are not that bothered with getting book sellers to link to you, but to get a link from the Tour de France site would be brilliant! Secondly you want sites with a good PageRank to link to you (normally 4 or above) because you want them to pass on a little of their PR to you.
Anchor text is the text you use to make a link. Most people use the web address as the link e.g. www.kenthouse.com but if you are trying to optimise your website for a particular keyword you should use the keyword(s) as the anchor text so Web design Staffordshire would be a better way to link to our website than simply using the URL.
Meta tags and tags are tags (or labels) used to describe the various parts of a web page. Meta data is the information contained within the tags. The tags most people in the SEO business are concerned with are:
- The Title tag
- The Keyword tag
- The Description tag
- Alt tags
- Heading tags
Content is the information on your website. It is most frequently used to refer to the words on your site. In SEO “content is king” – the more rich content your site has the better it should perform. Where content is concerned it is also important to constantly review and update it so that the search engine robots have something new to interest them each time they visit your site. The more new content you give them, the more likely they are to visit your website.
CMS Content Management System
A CMS is a way of managing your website’s content from how the information is structured, to updating and adding pages, to inserting downloadable documents etc. If you are serious about doing your own SEO you need to be able to control your own content. That might mean having access to your FTP server and being able to edit the HTML or investing in an SEO friendly CMS.
As you get more and more into SEO you are going to be making changes to your site at least once a week and this could get pricey if you have to send every change to your web developers to make!
Number of pages indexed
This is the number of pages on your site that Google, Yahoo! and Bing can find and then display in their search results. You can find this out by typing ‘site:www.yourwebsiteaddress.com’ into the search box in each of the search engines. Your aim is to get all your webpages indexed and you can do this with the help of an xml sitemap.