I’ll be the first to admit that graphic designers have a tendency to romanticise the work they do. They bang on about the psychology of colour and get uncomfortably passionate about fonts. But don’t let them intimidate you into trusting them when it comes to your company’s logo. If you know what to look out for, you’ll be able to lay the foundation for a brand that will stand the test of time.
People love to point out the arrow formed by the negative space between the “E” and “x” in FedEx, or the hidden bear in the Toblerone mountain. We all love a clever logo, but a lot of us don’t necessarily recognise what goes toward making a good one. Here, we’ll go over a few rules of thumb to help you appreciate the nuances of the company crest.
Few creative products are used at such varying scales as the logo. At one moment, it might be exhibited on the side of a high-rise and at the next, the side of a pen. If your logo doesn’t work well in either of these scenarios, it is not a good logo.
Keep an eye out for especially fine text or small gaps between solids. If they are too small in relation to the total size of the logo, there is a good chance they won’t be rendered clearly on the side of a pen. Similarly, large blocks of colour can overwhelm the company name when printed at larger scales.
Imagine you’ve just started your company. You’ve laid out your budget, calculated your margins, and paid for your brand new logo. One of the last items on your list is company uniforms. You send your logo file to the decorator, and when the quote comes back, you realise you’ve made a mistake.
For many print methods, including offset printing, screen printing, and embroidery, most suppliers charge per colour. Something like the Facebook logo, for instance, will be much cheaper to print than, say, the Sydney Olympics logo.
Not only will a many-coloured logo cost you more to maintain in the long run, it will also work against your logo’s ultimate goal: to be easily recognisable. The words “Cadbury purple” instantly evoke an image of a well-established brand, to the extent that it’s difficult to imagine the brand having as much success were Cadbury purple (Pantone 2685C, for those of you playing at home) accompanied or replaced by any other colour.
Another consideration is the use of gradients. Despite being one of the better rebrands of recent times, the Woolworths “apple peel” logo does not lend itself particularly well to embroidery, which prefers solid colours. Shortly after the rebrand, I was involved with the embroidery of some Woolies staff shirts, which unfortunately required a compromise that did not really do the logo justice.
The most exciting part of a logo is the idea behind it, and the efficiency with which that idea is conveyed. A logo can be technically well-designed, and even clever, while simultaneously giving an absolutely wrong impression about the brand it intends to represent.
A bold, heavy typeface does not fit well with the notion of beauty products, nor does an angular typeface fit well with the notion of a retirement village. The same can be said for graphics: traditionally “feminine” forms might more aptly embody the values of a jeweller, while “masculine” forms probably better suit a range of power tools.
- Assume your logo will need to be printed on the side of a building as well as on the side of a pen.
- Stick to 1-3 colours. Every colour you add will lead to an increase in the cost of printing, and a decrease in the strength and recognition of your brand.
- Don’t be wooed by the logo in isolation; remember that it’s meant to tell potential customers something about the products or services your company offers.
This article is provided as advice to those wishing to engage a graphic designer for the design of a logo. Youngblood happens to offer this service, however, so if you’d like to cut to the chase, get in touch with us.