November 6th, 2011
by Jennie Jacobs
As a graphic designer and more specifically the Visual Communications Connoisseur for Web Marketing Therapy, I do a lot of identity and brand work for clients. A brand is an important aspect to any organization because it helps establish credibility and communicate the who, what and whom of an organization: who you are, what you do and whom you serve.
I spend time paying attention to the identities of organizations because of what I do at the agency. From my observations and research I know that at the core of every great identity is an ingenious logo. Part of what makes a logo great it’s ability to communicate to the viewer, but that doesn’t come as easy as most people think. You and your designer must put a great deal of thought into the purpose of the logo before pen is even put to paper. I have gathered some great tips to work as guidelines to our readers when it comes time to develop your organization’s logo.
Think it through: When I meet with a client for the first time regarding a logo I am usually given a list of imagery that the person would like to have used in the logo. I like to counter that with a question of “Why?” I want to know why these particular images represent their company or organization. Sure, your organization is in the Santa Barbara area, but does that mean you have to incorporate the obligatory mountains, palm trees and ocean? Probably not. Come up with a list of adjectives that describe your company and how you want to be perceived.
Example: Katie’s Botanical Design; fresh, beautiful, well designed, modern, sophisticated.
What will your logo be used for?: I always advise my clients to go with a more simple logo, but what you plan on using it for is another great thing to think about before you start. Are you developing a logo for a clothing line? Think about all of the ways the logo can and will be used now and in the future. Tiny enough to fit on zipper pull and yet bold enough to make a statement on the web…. that image of a California landscape probably isn’t going to work.
Example: Lululemon Athletica A logo that translates well from website to zippers.
KISS (Keep it simple stupid): Think about the most memorable logos that come to mind…ready, set, go!… I wouldn’t be surprised if a few that popped into your head were Nike, Apple, Coca Cola, IBM, FEDEX etc.
The common denominator of all of these logos: simplicity. Each logo is simple enough to be represented by one or two colors which mean they can be used in a multitude of ways. Chances are you may have to print your logo in one color during its lifetime (classic examples: black and white newspaper ad or 1 color screen printed shirt for that race your organization sponsored) and as such it is important to keep that in mind when designing your logo right from the beginning.
A great blog post on some memorable simple logo designs at Logo Design Love
Do some research: Part of my job is to educate clients about what they don’t know, like what makes a good logo, but it is always refreshing and nice to encounter someone who has taken five minutes to find one or two examples of what they like. Take a minute and notice some logos around you (trust me they are everywhere) and think about why they get noticed. It helps get your vision across without any design lingo getting in the way.
There are really no rules when it comes to designing a great logo, but you will find these guidelines as the perfect jumping off point to creating a brand that is perfect for your organization.
Tags: brand, brand building, branding, Branding Strategies, identity design, Jennie Jacobs, logo, logo design, Marketing Inspiration, Marketing Therapy Hierarchy of Brand Needs, online identity, personal branding, web marketing advice, web marketing therapy, website design