Apr 9, 2009

Elements of Great Logo Design

I've been designing logos since founding AspireNow.com back in 2000. I remember it started with an idea. After brainstorming on the idea, I started drawing logo designs by hand. I then worked with a graphic designer to turn the hand drawings into a usable graphic image. She added a couple of cool things. Then, once the logo was designed, I created the website. So many times, you can't really launch your product, service, or company until you have a solid logo.

Are you seeking a logo right now?

Elements of great logo design include the following features:

1. Instantly recognizable.
2. Appropriate.
3. Scalable.

1. Instantly recognizable. This is where most graphic designers get too fancy and blow it. They create something hard to figure out and therefore lose the audience. The image must be memorable to be a great logo. In order to be memorable, it usually must be SIMPLE. Too many logos clutter up what they're saying with too many elements of design. Keep it simple and people will remember the logo longer.

2. Appropriate. There are several aspects of "appropriate" that matter. First, the image and font convey the right "feeling" for the product, service, or company. By feeling, I mean the image conveys the right message. For example, technology often uses "shutters" or open spaces cut into the logo, such as with IBM. AT&T uses shutters. Banks often use rectangular images, with pillars, both of these shapes convey stability. We want to know our money is in a stable place, right? So, both of those types of techniques for those industries are "appropriate" for the logo.

3. Scalable. By scalable, the logo image ought to look good in color or black and white, and it ought to look good at any size.

My first logo design was AspireNow:

Many people commented how they liked the playfulness of the logo, as well as the shadow, which gave the image depth. I've been toying with the idea of updating this logo. What do you think? Will it stand the test of time or would it be wise to update this logo?

The latest logos I designed were for the SLO Jazz Festival and the musical band BODY:

The SLO Jazz Festival to me needed to (a) feel festive, (b) convey the words of the festival, (c) feel traditional, yet modern, and (d) convey music. So, I used the treble clef to convey music. The font conveys the feeling of a traditional festival. The SLOJAZZFEST.ORG font is more modern and feels fun. The logo could be printed in any color and still look good, too.
The key elements in the logo for the band, BODY, including conveying an image that left a feeling of the band being solid, accomplished with the square shape enclosing the D and Y; yet open, accomplished with the black on white part of the logo; yet not complete, as with the D not being wrapped in the black square, as bands usually change their music and songs over time. BODY needs to hold up to the test of time. In addition, the font and colors needed to feel contemporary. Black & White in a logo is both timeless and contemporary. I could just as easily put two other colors and I'm sure the band will play with that idea in the future. I'm currently working on an additional SYMBOL of just a body that could also be just as recognizable as this font-based logo. I'll share it when I get it completed from drawing into graphic form for computer (in process).

If you like the designs I create, why not see if I can help you with your logo?

I'm not the cheapest logo designer around, but I do tend to create images that leave a lasting impression, are appropriate and convey the right image and feeling, as well as scalable in both design and color.
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