I’ve made a lot of mistakes during my time as a designer. To save you from doing likewise, here are ten quick tips.
1. A logo doesn’t need to say what a company does
Restaurant logos don’t need to show food, dentist logos don’t need to show teeth, furniture store logos don’t need to show furniture. Just because it’s relevant, doesn’t mean you can’t do better.
The Mercedes logo isn’t a car. The Virgin Atlantic logo isn’t an aeroplane. The Apple logo isn’t a computer.
2. Not every logo needs a symbol
Sometimes a client just needs a professional wordmark to identify their business. Don’t be afraid to ask what they think.
3. Two-way process
Remember, things might not always pan out as you hope. Your client might request something you disagree with. If that happens, try giving them what they want, then show them what you believe is an improvement, and why. They’re less likely to be so resistant if they already see how their thoughts pan out.
4. Picasso started somewhere
You don’t need to be an artist to realise the benefits of sketching. Ideas can flow much faster between a pen and paper than they can a mouse and monitor.
5. Under-promise, over-deliver
If you’re unsure how long a task will take to complete, estimate longer. Design projects are like construction work — you piece lots of little elements together to form a greater whole, and setbacks can crop up at any time.
6. Leave trends to the fashion industry
Trends come and go, and when you’re talking about changing a pair of jeans, or buying a new dress, that’s fine, but where your brand identity is concerned, longevity is key.
Don’t follow the pack.
7. Work in black first
By leaving colour to the end of the process, you focus on the idea. No amount of gradient or colour will rescue a poorly designed mark.
8. Keep it appropriate
Designing for a lawyer? Ditch the fun approach. Designing for a kid’s TV show? Nothing too serious. I could go on, but you get the picture.
9. A simple logo aids recognition
Keeping the design simple allows for flexibility in size. Ideally, your design should work at a minimum of around one inch without loss of detail. Look at the logos of large corporations like Mitsubishi, Samsung, FedEx, BBC, etc. Their logos look simple and are easier to recognise because of it.
10. One thing to remember
That’s it. Leave your client with just one thing to remember about the design. All strong logos have one single feature to help them stand out.
Not two, three, or four.
These tips were excerpted from the first edition of the Logo Design Love book. The updated and expanded second edition is now available.
I love New York image courtesy of Oded Ezer