I’m aware there’s a Logo March going on, and I must confess, I’ve seen loads of awesome logos that blew my mind. Identity designers in Nigeria are really raising the bar. Kudos guys!
However, there are few of us still struggling to get it right. Thankfully, you were not deterred to throw in the towel. You are going all the way to complete the March. That’s commendable.
Now I’m moved to share my tips and tricks with designers who desire to become identity professionals. Hopefully, it will help give some directions as regard topnotch logo design.
This post is a compilation of my Instagram #LogoTrick series. Do enjoy and feel free to ask questions in the comment box.
Flat is functional
I’m sure you wonder why most notable companies are going flat with their logos. The reason is simple: besides the fact that app designs have become ubiquitous, and flat logos tend to work without a hitch; the functionality of flat logos makes them irresistible.
Flat logos are easy to use across various media. It works perfectly for animation and fabrications. It does not lose details when printed in black and white.
Even Tastee had to get rid of unnecessary details for a clean, simple flat identity.
Always have a flat version of any logo you create. If you’re a client, request for a photocopy of your logo. And if it’s too complicated, strip it down to its core.
Although the earth is spherical, we walk on flat surface. And good designers work with flat logos.
Mind the grid
Most designers don’t mind. Have you ever wondered why some logos have sharp, crispy lines? Well, designers of those logos use the grid system as a guide. Yes, the highly overlooked grid.
They pull off super-sharp edges by simply aligning each element to the pixel grid, creating everything with whole values. For example, instead of entering 87.25px by 102.96px, you choose whole values like 100px by 200px.
The grid is made up of series of intersecting straight lines (vertical, horizontal and angular) and used to structure content.
Now, why is this important?
There are logos that will primarily remain on the screen (rgb) and not necessarily printed (cmyk). So, if you want to design icons or logos for apps, grid will help you create pixel perfect artwork for digital devices.
Beyond this, grid helps create balance and organise elements in a logical manner.
Set the tone
Use typefaces. Every individual has a unique speaking style and tone, and so do brands. Some are provocative and aggressive while others can be mild, funny and persuasive. It all depends on the archetype of the brand.
Designers must be mindful of the typeface that goes with a logo. This usually sets the tone for future communication. For example, a serif typeface like Georgia shows seriousness, respectability and professionalism. Brands that use such typefaces tend to speak in that manner.
On the other hand, a script typeface is often casual, creative and playful. This is because they are meant to imitate the fluidity of human handwriting.
When designing a logo, always use your understanding of typefaces to set the tone for optimal communication.
Small is noticeable
Perhaps you’ve also been told by clients to ‘make it bigger’, It’s a trap; don’t fall for it. A logo is more conspicuous when it’s small. Just ensure it stands alone at a corner or centre of a business card.
You don’t have to bully potential clients with your logo. It doesn’t have to be in their faces. Take a cue from the advertising world; no matter the size of a copy on a billboard, the small logo is always seen at the bottom-right corner of the board. It doesn’t vie for attention, yet, it gets it.
A big logo on communication materials screams for attention. And it’s often ignored for looking awkward.
Next time a client tells you to make it bigger, tell them no one likes to be shout at.
Monochrome is cool
Besides saving future costs on printing, a well-designed monochrome logo is often attractive and memorable. I create all my logos in black and white first before applying more colours. This is for clarity sake. I strip it down to a single colour to see if it makes sense on communication materials. Most times, the results are astounding.
Take a cue from Nike and Apple. The beauty and simplicity of a logo is obvious when printed in a single colour, especially if the designer understands the use of negative spaces.
For start-ups with limited budget, it helps communicate in a simple and professional manner. Next time you need to design a logo, start on black and white.
One is enough
The problem usually starts with multiple logo creation for the client. Having too many options overwhelms the client, and he finds it hard to make an intelligent decision.
Do not put clients and yourself in such difficult position, one logo design is often enough.
Here’s what you need to do to get it right the first time:
Request for a brief and ensure you thoroughly understand the content of the brief. If not, ask questions. You can as well come up with well thought-out questions (in a questionnaire) that capture the client’s need. Make sure the client provides sincere answers to the questions.
With this, you can design one unique logo that is loved by all.
Use negative space
I’m sure you have seen the accidental arrow in FedEx wordmark, or the subtle image of peacock in NBC’s multi-coloured droplet logo. Those are brilliant use of negative spaces.
A smart use of negative space reveals how witty and simple a brand can be. It shows the intrinsic characteristic of a brand when carefully traced out of the logo or logomark. Though it’s often hidden within the logo, a discovery by customers raises a smile and exposes the ingenuity of the company. It’s a clever way to be memorable.