I recently came across the above logo example, and it was a perfect complement to a post I’ve been writing in my head for a while. Above is a logo designed by Malcolm Grear Designers, for their client, Veterans Memorial Auditorium.
For you design geeks out there, I’m certainly not telling you anything you don’t know. But if you’re even thinking about starting a business and, like most shoestring budget entrepreneurs, are thinking of designing yourself a logo, let me give you a couple of tips to build maximum strength and impact into your company’s visual signature. After all, you want to come up with something you love now and will love for many years to come as you build your brand, and you want it to work for you and reach your customers, even when you aren’t there.
There are many out there who can speak volumes more about this than I can, but to me, in my own experience, a logo should be two things:
#1. A logo should be CLEAN. (Note: This does NOT mean boring.)
A logo is just that – a logo. Not a whole brochure of everything about you and what you do. It doesn’t have to say and show everything that you might mention in your company’s elevator pitch. Use an image that relates to your industry, or a totally abstract one that is unique and all your own, but keep it simple, include the name, or the first letter of the company – whatever works for you. Even include a tagline that you can use in certain applications, and leave off on others. For example, a wordy tagline like, “Showing you how much we care” might look great under the logo on your letterhead, or better yet, on a billboard where space and scope is abundant. But try and wrap all that text AND the logo image around a skinny Bic pen, and it will be wayyyy too much (not to mention the type won’t be legible). So, if you do have a logo with more than one or two elements, make yourself a couple of versions so you have options for various applications.
#2. A logo should be VERSATILE.
Aside from having elements you can take or leave depending on where you’re using it, your logo should work no matter “how” you use it. Everyone (including me) originally wants to design a logo on a huge blank canvas and in full color. In most cases, this is how you’ll use your logo – in color and on a reasonably sized space.
But let’s say your company sponsors an event and the event wants to put your logo in a pamphlet as a thank you gesture…and the pamphlet is in black/white printing only…and your logo will be next to zillions of others, so it will only have about one square inch of space on the page. Get my drift?
A solid logo needs to be sizable and look just as sexy as a thumbnail as it does on the big four-foot sign in front of your store. Furthermore, that flashy color version needs to have enough contrast that the design still translates when printed in greyscale on a crappy black and white copier. We can’t always control how and where our brand identity is reproduced, so taking these steps with your logo is the best way to protect your brand.
So there’s my little two cent ditty on logo creation. And speaking of…I’ve been finalizing one myself this week. Will be back soon with a post to share the process and, of course, the final product!