Logo Design: A Discussion

I’m having a discussion with a client over a cappuccino. We are discussing logo design and corporate identity as part of rebranding their organization. The current logo is quite amateurish; it’s garish, dated, tries too hard to say too much, and was given very little thought as to how it would be reproduced in the real world. It was also designed/approved by a committee. A committee that knows very little about design. Here are some of the points discussed.

Why Design by Committee is Doomed to Fail
Pleasing everyone all the time is not the way to approach much of anything. If a committee of 12 grandmothers all love the new logo for a skateboard company, chances are it is the wrong one to go with. Don’t confuse what is popular for what is good— or appropriate. Grandmothers, in this case, are not the target market.

What about trends?
Yeah, what about them? Do you want to do what everybody else is doing or do you want to do something that is uniquely appropriate? I remember when the Nike logomark became the look that everybody and his brother copied for their logo. That’s pathetic. Wouldn’t you rather be the trendsetter that everybody wants to copy as opposed to being one of the many sheep doing the copying? A reminder; your logo should work at making you stand out a bit— not make you blend in to get lost with everyone else.

What Should a Logo be Expected to Do?
If your company makes soups, car tires, and guitars, shouldn’t the logo reflect all of that and show it? No. At best a logo should capture and convey the essence of your organization, service, product— without defaulting to be literal. Is Nike’s logo a shoe? Is Apple’s logo a computer? Is BMW’s logo a car? It’s not that it can never be a literal interpretation— sometimes that is appropriate. The logo should also hint at if it’s upper echelon in it’s category or more bargain-basement. Does it suggest history, newness? Artisanal, technology? Behemoth, mom and pop?

How will the logo be reproduced?
Will it be printed? (Offset? Digital? Silkscreen?) Should it be one-color? Two-color? Four or more-color? Will it be put on pens, hats, glasses? Will it be used on a website, in emails, or on banner ads? Will it be on signage? On packaging? On print ads? Will it be embroidered? There are a number of details to think about which can affect design approach and certainly production costs. You’ll want to maintain design continuity (and corporate standards) while remaining flexible to work within any medium. Any known or anticipated uses should be accounted for upfront rather than trying to force something to work in hindsight.

To be continued…

**UPDATE 7 . 21 . 16** — This post Continues Here.

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