Are you about to hire the services of a graphic designer? Then you need to know which are the main points a good designer must bear in mind when creating a logo. Thus you will have the control over the design process. We will give you ten pieces of advice to obtain a great logo.
1. Define a clear message.
For starters, the company or organization must clearly define the message it wants to transmit through the logo. This message will give an idea not only of its activities but also of its philosophy. Then the graphic designer must transmit that message through the shapes and colors of the logo. It is important to make the right choice of lines, shapes, typographies and chromatic palettes, and to combine them in the right way, since from it the public will exactly learn the desired message. There should be no room for confusion or misunderstandings. People should completely comprehend the message of the logo through the graphic language. A good designer will know how to combine the different elements to obtain a coherent and meaningful unity, which will express a clear message.
2. Look for simplicity.
To obtain a shocking and an easy-to-remember logo, you should use simple shapes, easily recognizable and distinctive among the existing visual contamination. The designer will look for balanced shapes, which will be able to be employed in different spaces ¾bearing in mind that a logo will be applied in many ways and in various contexts. Even though you may use free shapes, it is generally convenient to use circles, squares and triangles since these shapes are simple, they keep the balance in all the positions and legibility. The designer should take advantage of the cultural meanings of the shapes and lines chosen: for example, circles represent infinite and perfection; straight lines or steep ones are ideal for the technological world or for formal activities; squares show solidity and reliability.
3. Choose consistent images and typographies.
The company’s message must be expressed by the logo through images and/or typographies. When we state that consistent images and typographies must be used, we want to point out that they should represent the products, services and values of the company. Then, the designer will be the one in charge of selecting images that have a literal or metaphorical connection with the area of activities of the company. Literal images are symbols. That is to say, somehow they are directly related to the products and services of a company. Metaphorical images are those which represent a company in an abstract way. An example of a logo based in a symbolic image would be the one of a real estate agency represented by a house. In that way, a square or straight lines could represent the idea of a real estate agency, since they represent stability and solidity.
It is important that in any case the designer elaborates the images in an original way. Choosing a literal image, i.e., directly related to the products and services area appropriate to the company, can be useful, but at the same time it can be counterproductive if it is too common. If that image is not properly treated, it will not stand out and it will lose the distinctive feature that a logo needs to make a company stand out from the rest. In the same way, it is important that the metaphorical images are clear enough so that the public can relate them with the company’s principles. At that point, the designer’s creativity is tested, since he should apply an original usage of lines, colors, shapes and positions to obtain a representative and unique logo. Typographies also need to be treated differently, since the company’s message has to be expressed through their type, size, style, color and slope, while keeping the organization’s legibility.
4. Select the right colors.
The colors of a logo must be selected bearing in mind the criteria of simplicity, usage, catchiness and coherence. Even though you may think a colorful logo is more attractive, actually using one, two or at most three colors is ideal. The simpler and more contrasting the chromatic palette is, the catchier and more memorable the logo will be. Besides, pure colors must be used to shock the public. On the other hand, companies that want original colors may employ Pantone colors. The designer will bear in mind that the logo can be used in different surfaces and that it is legible either in color or in black and white (for photocopies, invoices and faxes).
It is important that colors are coherent to the company’s values. To express the company’s message through the chromatic selection, you should bear in mind that colors have certain cultural meanings and that each one implies different things. Furthermore the target public should be considered, since colors cause different feelings in people according to different variables: age, sex, social class, etc. Therefore, warm colors, for example, represent energy and passion. Red is a very used color, because it connotes strength and vitality. Also yellow, because it implies optimism and joy. On the other hand, cold colors (especially blue) are usually used by financial, technological or health companies since they express seriousness, honesty, reliability and formality. Green connotes freshness and vitality, and therefore it is usually used in the logos of the organizations related to nature. Having these social meanings in mind, the designer will correctly express the company’s philosophy and cause the desired effects on the public.
5. Bear in mind the target public.
Every company is aimed at some public with specific characteristics, a social and cultural state, a range of ages and sex. Therefore, when creating the logo, it is important that the designer bears in mind not only the proper aspects of the company but also those of the target public. By considering the public, the designer will select those shapes, colors and typographies that will attract them, that will make them feel identified with the company and that will make them exactly understand the company’s message. An example of this type of logo is Pepsi, in which the circular shape and curved lines, together with the blue and red, express movement and vitality, appropriate to the brand’s personality and to the young public to whom it is aimed at.
6. Bear in mind competitors.
A good logo is the one which is not mistaken for those of the competitors. Therefore, it is important that the designer makes a deep analysis of the competitor’s graphic aspects, in order to avoid repetition and achieve an absolutely original and creative design with which to highlight the company’s distinctive features. It should be pointed out that the logos that resemble, those of a recognizable company, intentionally or unintentionally, they are only helping it, losing the chance to create their own different identity.
7. Register the logo.
It is important to register the company’s logo, since otherwise other companies could use it directly or indirectly for themselves. Due to the fact that obtaining a quality logo is a hard and complex task, necessary measures must be taken to protect this kind of graphic identity. A logo embodies a company and that is why it should not have other uses.
8. Consider the use a slogan.
In some cases a logo can be accompanied by a slogan, i.e., with a phrase in which the values of a company are synthesized. Usually, these phrases are used when the logo’s meaning must be further explained. Many companies have a wide range of activities that cannot be easily captured in one logo or word, therefore a slogan can be useful to clarify the message that the logo must transmit.
9. Promote the logo.
A successful logo is achieved not only by a professional design but also by its promotion. Different logo diffusion strategies must be defined so as to establish it in the market and stick it in people’s minds. An excellent way to promote it is to include it in any printed company’s material –leaflets, letterheads, envelopes, posters, labels, flags, etc.-, as well as in the Web material and merchandising. Another good diffusion media is advertisements. A logo with a shocking design and strongly promoted will consolidate a brand.
10. Redesign the logo.
As years go by, a company may want to change its image, in accordance with new products, services and perspectives. In such case, the transformations of a company can be transmitted through a logo. However, we recommend that you only do little and gradual changes, in order to keep the company’s identity. An experienced graphic designer can redesign the logo, making the necessary modifications to keep the essence of the company.
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