New Series: Fundamentals Of Logo Design

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Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing a series on the fundamentals of Logo Design. The series is NOT so much about how to design logos but more about what logos are for, why they are important and the three main categories of logo design. If you’re new to design, or new to logo design I hope you’ll find these posts useful.

What is a logo?

On a daily basis we’re bombarded by logos. They’re on our clothes, our cars, our phones, our streets, pretty much everywhere we look. So what exactly is a logo?

A logo is a symbol, name or trademark of a company. Logos are used by companies because they represent a concise image of the company. A picture, as they say, can tell a thousand words. People generally find it easier to remember a simple image over words alone. Our eyes are drawn to visual objects and well designed logos add visual appeal to printed documents and web pages.

Logo design must certainly be one of the most challenging areas of graphic design and often one that is sorely undervalued. From a personal point of view, I find it to be demanding but very satisfying when the process is finished and the customer leaves with a logo they’re happy with. The challenge of logo design is to take an idea or concept and compress it down into a symbol or piece of typography.

A logo is just one part of an overall brand or corporate identity, but obviously a very important part. The perception of a company is never going to be based on a logo alone, it’s products, employees and service is all part of that branding, but a logo can help form a picture in the customer’s head. Here’s a couple of examples of logos from brands with some very loyal fans.

apple_logo Harley-Davidson_logo

What makes a good logo?

The very best logos all have the following qualities

1. They are simple. Logos need to work in black and white as well as the colors you may choose. They need to work at different sizes. You may need to place a small logo on a baseball cap and use that same logo on the side of a bus. The logo might be required for use on a web site as well as a newspaper or on TV. To achieve all of this simplicity is required.

london-underground-logo

2. They are aesthetically pleasing. A logo can be a typographic treatment or a symbol (or both) but it needs to be eye catching and appealing to the viewer. The classic World Wildlife Fund logo is beautiful.

wwf_logo

3. They communicate an idea, a principle or a description. Companies use logos for brand recognition. Had you noticed how the orange arrow on the Amazon logo points from A to Z?  Amazon does sell all kinds of books, don’t they?

amazon_logo

So all of those qualities have to fit into a little logo. As already mentioned, it’s quite a challenge. Next week we’ll continue by looking at the first of three main categories that logo designs fit into, the typographic logo. Hope you can join me.

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  • John Ivanoff

    Amazon’s yellow arrow also looks like a smile.

  • Marco

    The third point is overrated I think. I think a logo ist timeless, but an idea, a principle or a description will change sometimes; logs shouldn’t change, because people will have to learn them again.

    Regards,
    Marco

  • geektea

    Just out of curiosity: should that be ‘Amazon does sell…’ rather than ‘do’?

    Heh…I probably just need to re-read Elements of Style. :D

    • http://www.laughingliondesign.net Jennifer Farley

      Geektea, I think you caught me in action with some Irish colloquialism. Thanks : )

  • cyberwhiz

    Wow! A great one here, the article itself is a logo. short, simple and interesting.

  • Daniel Berumen

    The first two points are right on target.

    Something about the third though; I’m not opposed to the idea, but I want to clarify something.

    A logo serves to represent the company, not summarize it. If you think about it the Apple logo doesn’t have anything to do with computers, or the Chrysler logo anything to do with cars.

    Adding to this a logo must also be memorable and timeless.

    CoreXero

  • http://www.iraqtimeline.com/maxdesign Black Max

    The 007 logo is just about perfect. It’s timeless, clear in its statement, and appeals to its target audience. It’s been in use since appearing on the 1962 “Dr. No” movie poster, almost without alteration.

  • angel

    I like this blog this blog is a short siscription of log