It is not uncommon these days to check up business cards and you are impressed by what you see… some other times you ask, ‘what is this?’. Some logos just look awful, at times I am presented with some logos that are so convoluted, I will have loved to ask, “who BUILT this?”. Logos are one of the most fundamental visual representations of your brand fundamentals (your brand vision, mission and essence). It is an embodiment of the core idea and identity of your business. A logo’s design ensures immediate recognition, trust and loyalty. A logo is a physical aspect of your organisation’s brand essence; therefore its shape, colour, elements and images must be significantly deep, unique yet commanding enough to buy attention. Because designers have the ability to use tools and creative effects, we also fall into the danger of evoking undesired emotions from our target audience.
Here are 5 common sins logo designers commit;
Letting the logo talk too much
Trying to cram all the elements and functions of a business is a crime most designers commit. Imagine a design and tailoring outfit with scissors, tape rule, piece of cloth and sewing machine all trying to cram themselves into a logo. Logos are like the recognition of a face. Logos should define your essence or idea behind the business – it is a physical representation of who you are and therefore not an advertisement. I love Jacob Cass’ analogy, he compares a logo with the flag on a ship. ‘The vessel is the corporate identity, the cargo is the message. The flag is part of the vessel, and acts as an ID mark and signature. It needs to be unique and appropriate, but the flag doesn’t get the cargo across the sea. i.e. it is not an illustration depicting every aspect of the organization’. Need I say more?
Yes you may know the tips and tricks of using the logo design software (depending on our country and area; Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw are industry standards) it may be a crime to over stylize your logo. Lots of ‘Snazzy effects’ (i.e. shadows, glossy effects, bevels, emboss, gradients, too much text) may ensure people remember it – but not for good. Great logos have one common feature – they are simple and flexible. Innovative effects on your logos will ensure they are not represented well across different media (print, web, TV, monochrome printing, T shirt).
Not getting feedback or a third eye
Before approving and implementing a design, ensure you get feedback from your clients, peers, and stakeholders – this clients is standard practice. You may have done a great sketch works, established different features to include in your logo and an amazing icon – you still need a third eye. Millions of money may be lost if eventually your logo registers something else in the mind of your clients and customers. Presenting options of your logos to your and therefore serve as a simple way to get feedback from your clients.
Your well designed logos might be offensive to some cultures, check these out;
While looking at other existing logos serve as a great source of inspiration for many, it is important also not to fall into the pit of stealing and transposing logos from other sources. Your clients won’t want logos that remind their clients of some other company or worse still their competitor. Brands that use logos that need to be frequently changing because of various reasons e.g. it no more relevant, reminds people of other things, e.t.c.
Using Clipart or other stock free images
Clipart and pictures are particularly annoying. It might look cool with an expensive DI printing, but when it comes to being represented elsewhere it will look messy and amateur. Except you run a kiddies business and is centered on cartoons, you have no business with clipart or even pictures.
While there are no hard and fast rules guiding the development and design of logos because some brands have made these errors and have pulled it off, the key to a good logo design is simplicity and repetition. The logo must always be represented and should not be distorted, misaligned, and fraught with extensive taglines. Use fonts and vectors extensively and sparingly use effects. Yes! When using fonts ensure your typeface is as clear at font 8 as at font 60. Calligraphy fonts, when used should be clear enough to be seen on any surface.
Tomorrow I will be dealing with the conceptualizing smart logos… I love smart logos!