The recipe for a perfect logo design 3/6

24 August 2010 by Lisa Hughes  
Filed under News and views

method_girlPart 3 – Applying the method

To ensure a successful logo the design must be simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, and appropriate. Be mindful that an elaborate, overworked logo is probably not going to be a pretty sight. The most memorable logos are also the most simple. Here are some things to remember when you are considering a variety of concepts provided by your designer.

1.    Consider differing mediums
You will more than likely want to use your logo on a variety of marketing materials, whether it’s online or in print. Bearing this in mind, your logo will need to be reproduced in varying sizes and to span various mediums. When you are considering creative concepts, try scaling the designs at down to 10-20%. Viewing logos at their smallest is a good indication of whether or not your logo will work across many platforms, whether it be a favicon on your website or a small advert on newspaper print, to a sign on the side of your building or a poster on a hoarding’s board.
Whilst okay in larger formats, designs with too much embellishment: thin lines, small shapes and light and fanciful typography should be avoided as these qualities will be lost and may even disappear when used at a smaller scale. For some great visual comparisons view this useful article written by iStockphoto,  it’s worth bookmarking!

2.    Preparing a logo catalogue

Okay, so you’re already thinking about different mediums where your logos may be used, but sometimes you may come up against technical questions that you’re not quite sure how to answer. For instance, you’re booking a black and white advert space in a newspaper and the sales person is asking you to provide a 1-colour version of your logo for a mono newspaper advert. Your designer only provided you with an all-singing-all-dancing full colour logo that looks great on your website and business cards, but once the colour has been striped to gray-scale by the production team at the newspaper, will look more like someone’s lent on your advert while the ink was still wet  –  just one big, unrecognisable smudge! In cases like this you really need to have several versions of your logo that work in any environment.

  • 1 colour – usually black on white although potentially it could be blue on white or any colour of your choice.
  • Reversed-out – in some instances your logo may work better white on black or on another colour. The term ‘reversed’ just means white.
  • 2 colour – If your logo already looks like its uses just 2 colours, chances are they are made up out of a 4-colour process. This can cause some colours (greens and oranges) to look lack-lustre and may be better off printed as a 2 colour Pantone. Your designer should be able to produce a Pantone swatch book for you to choose an exact colour. As with the 1 colour version, these options may be requested for newspaper printing or screen printing onto a tee-shirt.
  • 4 colour (also referred to as ‘full colour’) In printed materials a full colour range is usually made-up by the following 4 colours: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK), however on screen, these colours are defined by Red, Green, Blue (RGB).

Full colour logos can also be very expensive or difficult to reproduce. To keep costs to a minimum keeping your design to a couple of colours, then use tints of those colours. Reducing your colour palette can also work to keep logos from looking too busy.

When considering your corporate colours, be mindful of obvious references. For instance, a financial advisor should avoid red as this colour can be associated with ‘being in the red’ or red ‘final-demand’ letters. Eco-friendly companies would want to adopt earthy tones as opposed to garish, loud colours that are not naturally found in such environments.

Different horses for different courses. You will need your final logo provided in a variety of formats. Here’s a rough guide to their general usage:

  • AI and EPS – Vector graphics that preserve the quality of lines and curves etc. when resized larger and smaller. Used for print.
  • JPEG, BMP and TIFF (.jpg or .jpeg) — pixel image formats widely used to display photographic images. Resizing is limited. Images are okay when used 100%, but will distort and pixelate if made larger. Used for print and web.
  • GIF and PNG – pixel image formats that have transparency qualities. Images are okay when used 100% or less, but will distort and pixelate if made larger. Used for web.

If your logo is to be used by staff members or work associates for internal documents or for a dual-affinity branded piece, I’d strongly advise creating a ‘standards’ document allowing you to distribute a guideline of do’s and don’ts to relevant individuals. In brief, this should include: corporate colours, rescaling, clearance zones, fonts, etc. This will help to project a consistent ‘tone-of-voice’ in all your correspondence with customers and fellow businesses alike. Not only protecting your brands integrity, but incrementally building and promoting a professional company presence.

Missed Part 1 and Part 2?

Next time – Part 4 – Using the correct utensils

The recipe for a perfect logo design 2/6

8 July 2010 by Lisa Hughes  
Filed under News and views


Part 2 – Weighing and measuring

If you want to go one step further with your design brief, why not consider using a mind-map to help your designer process all the information you’ve set out for them? It’s always great to introduce such a tool as an aid to avoiding creative mind-blocks. Every designer has, at one point or another, stared mindlessly at a blank sheet of paper in the hope that an idea will fly in though the window and present itself. Sometimes this actually happens, although this is usually when the designer has been provided first-hand with a clear cut design brief. Most of the time, a designer will more than likely look to the web or a selection of design journals for their inspiration, however, when perusing such a broad-sweep of the market, this could potentially cloud their judgement and start them off on the wrong path.

Using a diagram to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea can generate ‘out of the box’ inspiration and help visualise, structure, and classify ideas. This method can be adopted as an aid in study, organisation, decision making, creative writing, etc., in this case – problem solving.

Rather than producing your own drafted mind map, this tool may be more productive used during the initial briefing process, involving the designer in a collaborative ‘blue-sky thinking’ session.  After all, two heads are better than one!

Missed Part 1 – Gathering key ingredients ?  Read it here.

Next time – Part 3 – Applying the method

The recipe for a perfect logo design 1/6

24 June 2010 by Lisa Hughes  
Filed under News and views

recipe_bigYou get out exactly what you put in!

One of the single most important visual elements of your business -
is your logo.

I don’t know why, but I’ve always likened the creative process to that of
baking a cake. It may sound odd, but if you read on, the visualisation should all become clear.

You begin by collecting the ingredients, carefully weighing the quantities, then, by applying the method laid out in the recipe and using the correct utensils, before you know it you’re setting the timer – et voila! …a perfect result, created solely to delight and satisfy any appetite.

However – this desired result can only be achieved by properly preparing the ingredients and following the recipe step-by-step. Otherwise, you’re likely to end up with a disastrous result, leaving a bad taste in your mouth and only good enough for the dustbin!

Over the next 6 installments, I’ll be directing you through each stage of the logo development process and enlightening you with some valuable tips, tricks and interesting facts, along with some worthy points of consideration:

  • Part 1 Gathering key ingredients
  • Part 2  Weighing and measuring
  • Part 3  Applying the method
  • Part 4  Using the correct utensils
  • Part 5  Setting the timer
  • Part 6  Proofing the pudding

Now’s the time to pre-heat the oven, tie-up your apron strings and roll up those sleeves…

ingredients_bigPart 1 – Gathering key ingredients

From a designer’s perspective, there are 6 key questions I always ask my clients in preparation of any initial creative briefing meeting. Regardless of whether the briefing is for a logo, a website or a corporate brochure, the questions are always the same:

  1. (If an established business) Can I see what you have produced
    in the past?
  2. Can you provide me with a mission statement or a list of your company’s core values?
  3. Do you have a detailed customer profile or an example of your target market?
  4. Is there anything you like/dislike about your competitors’ brands?
  5. Do you have any preference to: colour, shapes, typeface, iconography, photography, illustration etc.?
  6. Can you provide me with visual examples of things that inspire you?

Valuable time dedicated to research and planning prior to putting pencil to paper will equip any skilled designer with the clarity and understanding to adopt the mindset of a typical customer, therefore understanding the need for your business’s products and/or services and able to produce work perfectly positioned for that market. In my opinion, this is half the battle of arriving at a successful outcome.

Next time… Part 2 – Weighing and measuring