Why a logo at all?
We could argue endlessly over what constitutes a good or bad logo. Nevertheless, a logo is (almost) always integral to building communication for a company, product or project.
This is quite simply because a good, and above all functional, logo design – if used properly – can convey the name and values of a company, project or product in a nutshell. It can make the company or product clearly distinguishable from others at first sight. This makes a logo in most cases a very important element in the communication of a company.
But does a local yoga studio or plumber always need a logo? The only solicitor in a small town does not have to stand out from the competition. In bigger cities, you need to be different in the way that you present your company.
LOGO, CLAIM, TAGLINE, CORPORATE DESIGN – What is what?
Here is a brief overview of the most common terms relating to logo design.
Logo: The sign for your company / product / project. A logo can be simple lettering, a signet, or a combination of both (“word-image mark” is a term often used for this).
Claim / Tagline: Often a logo is accompanied by a claim / tagline: a short sentence that supports and emotionalizes the core of the brand (“I love it,” “Experience what connects”, etc.).
Corporate Design: A corporate design describes the interplay of all the visual elements of a corporate message: the logo and the claim, fonts, colors, imagery, illustrations, infographics, texts (“wording”) etc. The corporate design is part of the corporate identity, which includes the achievements, self-image, and internal and public appearance of a company at all levels – this includes, for example, the jingle of a telecommunications provider or publicized social commitment.
Branding: Branding increasingly replaces the term corporate design or is often used interchangeably. Overall, it is about using the means of design (and others) to make a corporate brand – this can also mean the company itself – visible, desirable, and an independent and positive experience, whereby branding is not limited to visual elements.
Logo Design: What is important?
The challenge of logo design is that such an image should represent your (brand) values as much as possible – while still being functional. Functional means, among other things, that the logo is in most cases no more than a few square millimeters or pixels in size. This requires that designers often have to abstract heavily in logo design, distilling a good idea so that the essence remains and a character is created that looks as good as possible in any size. And the longer such an image is in use, the better it can develop a recognition effect and achieve a certain kind of timelessness.
We have compiled a few of our experiences, which have shaped our understanding of what makes a winning logo.
Logo Design: The four basic aspects
1. STATEMENT OF FORCE
Your logo should represent your project; for example, it should reflect an idea, values, a product or a service – or maybe just put your name under a spotlight. It often makes use of empirical values; for example, the symbol to which your industry is anchored in the public consciousness, and how it is picked up and re-vamped or further developed (if at all).
It’s best to concentrate on one main message – primarily customer benefits and the unique selling point – and the main target audience when it comes to a shape, a symbol, lettering and colors.
A small hint: certain shapes can have ambiguity or unintentional symbolism in different cultures. You should try to avoid this ambiguity where possible.
Simplicity or minimalism is important in a logo for two reasons. On the one hand: A simple form imprints better and draws the eye to the essentials. A multitude of fonts or colors can dilute that. On the other hand, a simple logo can also be used in a variety of ways, for example in different sizes or on different materials – in this case it is all about what you want (or need) to do with the logo. Should it be on a business card? A neon sign on a building? On pens or T-shirts? Can you stamp it?
Simplicity in design means that filigree details of a logo must remain recognizable even in small sizes and that it does not become illegible even in black and white. Or that a color that looks good on the screen can also be transferred to printed materials and vice versa.
Therefore, the logos of international companies consist almost exclusively of simple shapes and colors – the application of the logo in different areas is thus much less complicated (and cheaper – the revision of the logo of the Deutsche Bahn saved millions of stitches for the embroidered logos on the clothing of the staff).
Of course, the purpose of the logo is to create a recognition effect. This means that your company, or your project, is unique. Nobody will see that if your logo looks like many others.
This means, on the one hand, that one looks around at the competition, so as not to advertise with a similar logo (also for trademark reasons), and, on the other hand, that certain prefabricated symbols, such as stock image archives, are less suitable because the characters shown there can be used by dozens of other companies as well.
Of course, it sometimes makes sense to use a familiar symbol. It takes some skill to be able to generate a unique sign that corresponds to the name.
The logo should be graphically and technically perfectly implemented to allow a wide range of applications. This includes the following points:
File format: A logo should be in a so-called vector format. Vector files can be enlarged or reduced as desired, without having to compromise on quality – there is no pixelation. Vector files are for example .eps and .svg.
Colors: When coloring, care must be taken when deciding on which backgrounds – white, black, colored or patterned color areas, or photos – the logo should be placed. Pale colors can only be used to a limited extent here. It may be useful to have two different versions of the logo, one for a light background and one for a dark one. It must be ensured that the selected colors can be printed on paper, especially if the logo is also to be used for printed products. A logo file should also have a transparent background if it is not used only on white surfaces.
Proportions: A few points are also important when it comes to the proportions. For example, a portrait logo may be difficult to integrate into the header of a website. Surfaces, contours, spacing and letter thicknesses should give a well-balanced overall picture and be chosen so that details in small sizes do not disappear or the name does not become illegible. Maybe it makes sense to create different logo variations (one has to make sure that these are used stringently and not arbitrarily or modified, so that the recognition does not flute).
Communication is the key to logo design
In logo design, there is your project and maybe even your idea and the work of the designer – and willingness to talk on both sides. A designer can not read your mind, so a detailed dialogue about the company’s expectations, ideas and goals and logo design is important.
Only with your input can the logo meaningfully represent your project. On the other hand, designers should be able to consider a range of different corporate and product ideas.
Together, you need to find out what the company represents and who the target audience for the design is. As described above, there are many things to keep in mind: What works as a loose idea in your head may be really great, but in practice it might not look good at all. Here you should be able to rely on the experience of the designer.
What is the procedure for a logo design?
In order to get a professional logo, the design process ideally follows a pattern that optimally matches your requirements and input.
Professional logo design – the process
Joint development of the goals of the logo design.
2. BRAINSTORMING & RESEARCH
Brainstorming – every designer has their own methods. It is important to lay out the requirements for the logo (website, products, business labeling, etc.). It may also be useful to do a competitor analysis – with which logo is yours in competition?
The creation of the first drafts.
4. EDITING & PRESENTATION
The preliminary draft will be presented to you, then you decide how you would like to improve it in a consultation. Depending on the agreements, additional designs may also be made.
5. FINAL DRAWING
The final logo design may be refined and made available to you in various common files and color formats.
Logo design and prices: how much costs a logo?
The process takes some time and more than a little brainstorming from the designers, but for a high-quality result, these elements are indispensable. Therefore, it is also clear that the prices for a good logo are not negligible. There are cheap low-budget logos you can get; however, with these, important steps are usually omitted, such as the development of design goals and research.