Logos. Iconic, legendary, people will gladly wear them on their clothes and accessories, proudly announcing their allegiance to a brand or sports team. Carolina Panthers jerseys. Starbucks cups. Lululemon anything!
Most business owners want to achieve this kind of status with their company and brand as quickly as possible. If the logo is perfect, if the font is just so, if if if. Unfortunately, logos and brands don’t achieve overnight superstar status without a lot of marketing effort, outstanding customer service, and an excellent product.
That’s not to say that a logo isn’t important and that it’s a throwaway part of your brand, because it’s definitely an integral part of any business. So how do you make sure you have a solid design that will serve you well?
1. Simplicity. Let me say that again. Simplicity. Don’t clutter the logo with all kinds of special effects (Photoshop filters, THE HORROR!). What may look bland on a white page can have quite the opposite effect when placed on t-shirts or other marketing materials. The opposite is true as well. A logo might look cool on a page, but when embroidered on a polo shirt it’ll look messy.
2. Legibility. You like super script-y fonts. They’re pretty and girly and make you feel dreamy. Or you like the graffiti look, oooh so edgy. Although those kinds of fonts have a very specific personality, you have to make sure that if they get scaled down to business card size (or even smaller), that they’ll be legible. Otherwise, what’s the point of having a super-cool-fantastic logo if no one can read your name? Logo fail.
3. Uniqueness. Does your logo stand out from the crowd? Specifically, your industry crowd. Interior designer, handyman, car dealer. What makes you, your company, and your brand unique? Do you have a special story that can be incorporated into the design? The logo does NOT have to have a car, furniture, or tools to stand out. If anything, those symbols are not unique and most likely will blend in the crowd. Your story and your product is what will make the logo memorable and stick in people’s minds, and people will start to attach meaning to your logo. Example: BMW. Their symbol has nothing to do with cars, but airplanes or the Bavarian flag, depending on which story you believe (http://www.car-brand-names.com/bmw-logo/).
4. Scalability. I’ve already mentioned that your logo should look clean and legible when scaled down, but what if you wanted to advertise on a billboard? Will the logo still look crisp? That’s where you have to make sure that you have the final logo file in a vector format (.ai, .eps), and not a pixel format (.psd, .jpg, .gif, .tiff). Mention this to your designer at the beginning of the design process, there may be extra fees associated with handing over the original file.
These four points are all things an experienced graphic designer will know and watch out for, but it’s also good for a client to understand why certain design decisions are made. The design process is fraught with emotions and it can often feel random and chaotic. However, open communication of expectations and fears should make it less tense and more fun!