The recipe for a perfect logo 4/6

13 September 2010 by Lisa Hughes  
Filed under News and views

utensils_girl_bigPart 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.

Typography

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!

Iconography

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.

Missed Part 1 , Part 2 or Part 3 ?

Next time – Part 5 – Setting the timer

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