A Logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition. Logos are either purely graphic (symbols/icons) or are composed of the name of the organization. Effective Logo Design must be simple, memorable, timeless, versatile and appropriate– think Coke, AT&T, Shell, NBC, Target. You identify the icon as the brand. Your Logo is part of your brand, but a logo, by itself, is not branding. It is the consistent look and feel in everything that has to do with your product or company.
Ever played the game "Logo"? Most kids know most of them. That is not by coincidence. These companies have "invested" in their branding. It is the most important faction of a business. recognized companies have strict guidelines for every use of their logo. You can't just take it and use it anywhere.
What's in a Logo Package?
Whether you need a new logo design from scratch or if you already have a design, but it's low resolution jpeg, consider having a logo package done with it built in a vector file as the source file.
Your logo package would include the original vector source file created in Adobe Illustrator (AI), a PDF that's also vector, as well as raster JPEGs and/or PNGs that you can place in Word Docs, emails, website listings, etc.. They would come in 3 folders... CMYK (for print), RGB (for web or TV), and flat black/white for things like a 1 color imprints on specialty items. You may also want a two-color version using the Pantone Matching System that all printers go by for color matching (also known as spot colors) in case you ever need it reproduced in just two colors rather than all of them.
The original vector file can be modified and enlarged to any size (without loosing quality) for different uses. All the other formats can be created from it.
You'll never be strapped for a logo again, and printers will love having this package, as well as sign companies, banner companies, publications, t-shirt companies, specialty item printers, ad designers, publishers, etc. Just give them the AI vector file if you're not sure which format they need. They'll love it & it will look great!
Once you have your vector document, it can be saved out to any other format. Vector files are fully editable to fit any vendor specifications. (ie. Full color CMYK, RGB, spot colors, or solid black/white as needed.)
Vector files are built in lines instead of pixels. This allows them to be enlarged and manipulated all you want without losing any quality. While a raster image, such as a jpg, can only be reduced and will lose quality the more you manipulate it.The industry standard software for working with vectors is Adobe Illustrator.
Here are some helpful tips on getting a logo:
Determine What You Need.
Make a list of descriptive attributes that embody your company. Ask the important questions:
Who is your client?
What are you selling?
Is it romantic or bold in nature?
Is it fun or serious?
Color carries a lot of emotional weight. Is your brand edgy and young or relaxing and prestigious. What colors connect to your target market (your clients)? There are countless sources of color psychology. All of it applies to your company's identity. Safe, insurance blue is not what you want to use for kid's toy. If you are targeting kids make it fun and colorful.
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
We can't stress this enough. We all know the KISS method, (keep it simple, stupid). Remember that consumers will be doing everything from quickly glancing at your logo to staring at it while stopped at a red light–make sure that it's simple enough to remember and decipher. A logo needs to work in a business card, Website or Billboard. It should transfer from one to the other without loosing it’s strength. A photograph is not logo material. Logos need to be developed as vector art. And all text is a title, not a logo, unless the font has been manipulated in some way.
How is this logo going to be used?
Letterhead, business cards, Website, brochures, signage, flyers, banners, billboards, e-newsletter, etc. This logo has to stand up through all this collateral. If has to pass the billboard to business card test, and the black and white/color test.
Abstraction or portrayal
Just because you sell shoes doesn't mean you have to have shoes in your logo. An abstraction suggests the nature of your business. A portrayal creates an image that literally communicates the brand.
Abstraction gives a brand a better shot at uniqueness and offers the possibility of brand growth. Wrestle with this issue, make a decision and stick with it.
Look at the Nike "swoosh." It's not a literal representation of anything. It started with a wing but became a timeless swoosh. The meaning is created by a simple, distinguishable shape that embodies movement and speed.... go power... and reinforced by a consistent branding and marketing message tied to the abstract image. The swoosh gained meaning with that combined branding effort and it’s resulting credibility.
Who's makes the decisions?
The more people involved, the messier the process.
- Figure out who really needs a say in the process based upon expertise and responsibility. Those are two separate areas. Expertise means people with professional experience in marketing (and maybe production). Responsibility means the key stakeholders must be involved so you don’t go down your merry path only to be vetoed at the end of the yellow brick road.
- Keep the group small.
- If the CEO gets final say, have that person on the committee. Don’t allow a bunch of surrogates to imagine what the boss will think. It has been my experience that this usually leads to more work and redos.
- Design by committee never works… trust me. The worst possible process is a free-for-all where a committee tries to make everyone happy by combining elements from different designs - the “one from column A and two from column B” approach. This almost never yields a happy result (or a strong design). And it is the fastest way to make your designers run for the door.
- Get everyone to vote thumbs up or down, narrow the choices and keep voting until you have one favorite. And don't ask the guy in the mail room if he likes it unless he owns the company.
Following these guidelines will help in making an easier design process and save you money in the end.