You are never suppose to judge a book by its cover, but we do it all the time. As humans, with what we choose to cover our bodies can say a lot about us. If you are seen frequently wearing a certain brand, it is assumed you are loyal to that brand of clothing. Wearing apparel with your alma mater’s logo shows your pride in the school you graduated from. Fans of sports teams frequently are seen rocking team hats, shirts, jerseys, etc. You are a living, walking, breathing billboard for whatever brand you choose to showcase with your clothing choices. So, this must be taken into consideration when designing the insignia of your brand as well as the overall identity.
Last week, I talked about my love of logos that utilize negative space. This week, I want to take you through my process of creating one. Creating such a logo requires planning ahead of time. As always, you’ll want to start in your sketchbook.
Make the most of your time by doing the following:
Every logo you’ve ever seen started with a series of questions being answered about its purpose and the entity it represents. Research is highly important to properly design anything. No sense creating before you know why you are creating. For example, a lot of college logos pull from the essential visual cues found on the campus of the institution itself. You have research and observe to know what makes the entity you are designing for unique. What is the main identifier? When I see THIS, I think of THIS! Know the message or image you want to communicate through the logo. Learn the market and the audience that will see the results of this project. Your knowledge of the brand combined with your creative skillset will yield great results if you put in the work ahead of time. Have the conversations and delve deep into the thought process of those who are approaching you to work on this project.
Sitting in a coffee shop with tunes from my favorite “zone out” playlist playing through my headphones, I sketch away in my graph composition book. I am loving life. Sketching is an absolute must. This pencil and paper record of all the ideas is a visual record of the evolution in my design thinking. Concept discovery is such an important stage for your development. You avoid a lot of future frustration by putting in as much work as possible in your sketchbook.
Some of the most powerful logos are the most simplistic in nature. McDonalds, Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola are all worldwide brands that are recognized around the world. The execution of the brand message combined with the relative simplicity of the logo makes it easy to inhabit the consumer mind. The amount of people that have your logo memorized is an indication of your brand’s reach. (I touch on this in Episode 49 of my Instagram video series, Touch of Gold. Hehe. I see what I did there.)
I’m a fan of minimalistic logos that manage to convey a concept’s message with no filler. They are also easily reproduced on various products at various sizes. These logos can be more easily memorable and more subtle in communication. It doesn’t demand too much attention (or confusion) and acts as your stamp of authentication.
Have you ever selected a team to support based on the quality of their logo? Well I have.
I’m relatively new to watching hockey. This southern boy has spent most of his sports fan life screaming at various televisions over football and basketball. But after some Kappa Kappa Psi brothers from the cold, cold north introduced and explained hockey to me, I decided to give it a shot. Once I paid attention and starting watching games, I became very interested. However, I can’t give a sport my all until I tether myself to a team. I skipped all the “What team should you support” quizzes and went straight to looking at logos.
Once I saw the Minnesota Wild logo, the decision was made!
When I’m asked what logos are my favorite, I usually mention the Apple logo and the Nike logo. I am a lover of intricate logos as well as minimalistic logos. But I do have a special place in my heart for brands that can convey their personality with simple shapes. However, it is more about how those logos are used and what they are associated with. If those logos were attached to terrible products or services, they wouldn’t be looked upon as fondly as they are. A great logo alone does not a great brand make.
This past week, the Instagram episode of “Famous Brand Reveals New Logo And Everyone Freaks Out” debuted – and it was glorious. I’ve already outlined, in what will probably is the most evergreen piece of content I’ve ever written, how we tend to react to new logos that brands reveal with varying degrees of fanfare. The comments, the tweets, the redesigns, the outrage – I love it. It ranges from thought-provoking to downright ridiculous. Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t voice our opinions. Most of the people I follow and I agree on our impression of the new Instagram logo. We aren’t up in arms like many others but we aren’t completely in love with it either. However, I submit to you that it doesn’t matter in this particular case for a few reasons.
When a company or organization unveils its brand new logo, people react in a myriad of ways. My favorite part about seeing a logo reveal announced is knowing that the design community will be ready with some hot and fresh critiques. Some logos are immediately rejected by the public, some are immediately adored, and others have to grow on people. Everyone has opinions. The way these opinions manifest themselves can be a source of great entertainment or frustration, depending on your perspective. The cycle that usually occurs surrounding many reveals is something I like to call the 5 Stages of New Logo Reaction.