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