At An.X we’re often tasked with creating visual identities, or logos, for clients. So it’s a subject matter we spend a lot of time considering. It’s easy to design a logo with little thought and there are a lot of businesses out there offering lower and lower fees to do so. In fact there’s a US-based portal where you can have a logo designed for as little as $5. However, the quality of these designs matches the cost. There’s no easy route to a great logo and you get what you pay for. It’s by some degree more difficult to design a logo that will stand the test of time, help provide distinction for your brand and be the memorable icon you want it to be.
Your visual identity should be part of the story that your brand tells and so, there’s a whole host of questions that any competent branding agency should be asking you when you brief them to create or redesign the logo. But that’s another blog for another day. In the meantime, here’s a quick list of questions we constantly ask ourselves when working on logo design. This particular list* succinctly encapsulates the process we’ve been using for 20 years:
- Keep it simple
- Make it relevant
- Design for ever
- Aim for distinction
- Make it memorable
- Work small
- Stay focussed
Many of these are self-explanatory but I’ll expand on a few. Relevancy is important for many reasons not least that there’s little point in designing a humourous logo for a funeral director. Every visual identity must stand the test of time so you and your agency should really avoid incorporating design styles that are trend led. Instead aiming for a design that will still be relevant, possibly with some small tweaks, a decade from now.
Being memorable is somewhat a function of being distinct. Often, a consumer will only have a moment to see your logo, perhaps as they pass by an advert in the street or scan through a Twitter feed. So, the design needs to work in that moment. Its shape may be the only element that the consumer sees. Does it communicate what you do? Focus is part of this question too. It’s better for a logo to do one thing well rather than trying to incorporate lots of ‘distinctive’ features. Finally, your logo needs to work at all sizes. We’re fully into the digital age now and logos are used across a huge range of traditional and digital media, often at very small sizes. Think Twitter or Facebook icon.
Take a look at your own logo(s) and ask these questions. Does it pass the test?
* The list is borrowed from a fantastic book on brand design by David Airey – Logo Design Love. Available here at Amazon