Thanks to some awesome friends I’ve been able to challenge myself with a a brand identity project for a spanking new start-up. I’m doing it because I want to understand as many pieces of the XD process and following customer journey mapping as I can.
Because I’m working with an awesome client I’m seeing the need for education as prep work along the way. With design it can sometimes be a mistake to dwell to long on what others are doing. However, when it’s great to stop and admire great work – and there several solid examples here.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT LOGO?
A logo needs to stand the test of time. It’s the visual expression of a positive and forward facing future for the company. Design ideas that are too focused on current trends and styles will be dated within 16-24 mths. Take a step back and make sure your judgement is not being too heavily influenced by the slickest logo or color ideas during the design process.
This is the skin your brands dresses in every day. It sets you apart from competitors and everyone else.
It needs to fit the company as it encounters staff, customers, new challenges and innovations. Be aware of styles. For example: Many startups have what I would describe as a startup style for their identity and style. My critique with that approach is that the branding and design process probably didn’t focus on the eventual consumer proposition that the company is ultimately hoping to conquer.
The logo has an invisible outer glow of personality that surrounds the objects it resides in. It evokes the brand values and mission to the people that view it. Employees want to wear company T-shirts and customers feel a unique connection and brand affinity with it. Make sure you can see the invisible glow around your final logo candidate.
Simplicity is a standard rule across all aspects of identity development. The reality being that your brand can and will show up in every possible scenario you can imagine. Simplicity can be dialed up/down depending on who you are. Design options should not get lost in subtle details that obscure clarity. Every logo should be instantly recognizable – at a variety of different sizes and distances.
This is an over exaggeration to emphasize a point. The use of soft edges and lighter color tones in a logo design are often considered as design characteristics that women or younger audiences gravitate toward. If your business is men’s shoes you’re probably not going to go with lighter color tones, etc. Understanding the vibes around logo ideas is key during the design process and requires people who are trained to critique these abstract considerations. Testing with customers will inform your perspective and help you measure the vibe of your logo against your brand.
Social, app icons, avatars, billboards – your identity needs to ‘fit’ them all (literally). You’ll also need multiple lockups (versions) of the logo so you have greater levels of versatility. For example: Having a standalone logo mark is a very useful component for the world of mobile.
Logo design is about creating a visual ID for your company name and who you are. The greatest modern day test for a new visual ID: Does it stand apart when amongst the sea of other app icons on your phone? Remember it’s a visual communication and customers interpret and remember it differently than text based communications.
A logo is often the leading graphical language that sets the style for the other graphical elements, photography and colors used across other tactical executions. For example: Your app/web UI, and business cards. The other key elements are the colors and typefaces being used. A great test to work through during the design process is reviewing logo ideas only in black and white – is the graphical language working?
Scale is not about a logo being larger or smaller. The design elements (shapes, icons, visual metaphors, etc.) of the logo details or elements of the design will get lost at smaller sizes, or will have a different impact at larger sizes.