I loved this so much. I’ve heard each one of these lines from clients…I think they were just missing “this will be great exposure for you”.
I would love some feedback from fellow designers on whether a graphic designer needs the ability to draw in order to be successful. A blog I’ve been reading has an infographic that says that almost all designers say “No”. This goes against everything I’ve seen in my experience.
The act of drawing forces you to think visually. Designing is solving visual problems.
I know a lot of excellent designers, and all of them have some drawing ability. What do you think? SInce I started designing, my drawing skills have increased a lot. Both practices help the other.
I sat in a meeting recently where a client said, “I want our company logo to be as recognizable as the McDonald’s logo…but it has to be neon orange and green.” Clients are often unsure about what they want, but less often do I hear from clients who sabotage their own logos before the first designs are even produced.
The golden arches of McDonald’s are recognized by billions of people. They’re recognizable because McDonalds is a huge international company that serves millions of people burgers every minute. However, in this case, the client was an owner of a tiny company that nobody had ever heard of, in an even smaller niche industry. No matter what the logo design would end up being, a few seconds of simple, rational thought by the client would prove that his company’s logo would never be as recognizable as McDonald’s golden arches.
The client had the idea that a good-looking effective logo would be the key to his success; that his brand would BE his logo. He didn’t want to hear that the logo is a piece of his brand, and that the real key to building a large business like McDonald’s was a great product, not his logo.
And then there is the issue with the color: The company was so new and so tiny that they didn’t have a company color. The industry had no recognizable color either. It was more than a little surprising to hear that a client wanted orange and green colors for a logo, but could give no reason for it, other than a personal preference. Orange and green would be fine for a logo if there was something, ever so small, that made using neon orange and neon green a good choice.
In a world where client is king, this particular king would never be happy with whatever logo was produced for the very reasons that was used to describe what he wanted the logo “to be”. In this instance, don’t spend too much time trying to please the client. Come up with a few options and move onto a project where the client actually collaborates by listening to you. Every designer has had difficult clients, but the key is to pick out, early in the process, those clients that will never be pleased. It will save you time and your creative sanity if you begin to recognize the signs of crazy!
I will contrast this with another client we had in the early days of BusinessLogos. His brief had no preference on color, but preferred to see what we recommended. He knew his target audience, and he knew what “feel” he wanted; fun, modern, with a hint of classic nostalgia. He was a frozen yogurt shop that was opening in an area with small competition in that market, and he wanted to build his brand around a quality product with nutritious and handmade ingredients. The brownies people add to the yogurt are made right there in the kitchen, for example.
This man knew that his product had to be great, and that the logo would be his signature. We gave him a great set of concepts to choose from, and then we tweaked it a little to his satisfaction. We also did his stationery, website, and other marketing pieces.
Sales have exploded. He just opened his third store, and is opening his fourth soon. He is starting a mobile unit. He is treated like a business rock star by his customers and peers. They just had a wedding in one of their locations. I love talking to him and we continue to work with him to create an even better website and marketing pieces. This type of client experience is the reason I wanted to be a designer.
Just a reminder to all of you that Pi Day is just around the corner; March 14. My family celebrates with a pie-tasting party. Someone sent me this great ambigram which I thought was very creative. If you can find the 2 ambigrams in our portfolio before March 14, we’ll give you a Startup Logo Package for half price! Just send an email to email@example.com. Good luck!
Like these logos? I did all three of them in about an hour. The reason it was so easy is because none of the companies exist as far as I know. I just made the art, then added a company name that fits.
This has been something that’s been a slight pet peeve of mine. I see a lot of logos that look amazing, and fit the company name really well. I think, “How did they ever come up with that?”
Then I find out by doing a little research that the company doesn’t exist.
The designer showed a lot of imagination, but never had to deal with the client request to come up with something unique to brand the company.
We’ve all seen 99% of the time, the client will choose the logo that we would LEAST recommend. This makes logo portfolio sites a graveyard of discarded ideas. I’m fine with that, because at least the designer was working within the bounds of the client’s brief.
But I wonder what percentage of the logos you see in portfolios like Logopond or LogoLounge are for actual companies. I don’t know if that’s ethical or not…on the one hand, it’s a great way to build up a sweet portfolio. Young designers just starting out have a hard time getting a portfolio without experience, and this is an easy workaround for that.
But, on the other hand, it’s showing work that never had boundaries…it’s more like showing a piece of art, rather than design.
What do you all think?
Today’s logo comes to us from Ernan. The company is called Krimson Kings. What does everyone think?
My opinion is that it’s a very nice, balanced logo. You could maybe add a simple crown above the diamond shape. I like the customization of the Ks. It’s simple, and it would look good on the front of a hat or t-shirt. Well done.
Sorry, Xoni, this…this is a mess. I would start over from scratch. It makes no sense. It looks like something you’d get from a crowdsourced design place…it’s just a mixture of words, colors, and elements.
The designers here at BusinessLogos have designed thousands of logos, and have had the chance to critique and revise thousands more. Every day we see these common mistakes that customers and designers make, which cause their business to look weak, unprofessional, and will end up costing the companies sales, respect and profit.
You don’t have to have a huge budget to get quality design, but you DO have to pay for experience, so that you can avoid these mistakes.
5. Uncopyrightable Design
You find this with crowdsourced design companies like 99designs or DesignCrowd. The designers can’t spend a lot of time on each logo, so they recycle clip art or re-use designs they’ve made for other companies. There’s no system in place to prevent the same art being used my multiple companies, so there is no way to copyright the logo. We’ve spoken with many upset customers that have found this out the hard way.
4. Too Many Elements
The idea of the logo is to put a professional “signature” on your business. It is not your entire brand message, nor a sales brochure for your business. It should not bear the burden of communicating every aspect for business (that’s what your marketing is for). But too many business owners want to make sure every product, service, or design idea they can come up with is included in the logo, making it a convoluted mess.
This also happens when business owners receive their initial concepts form a design company, and want to “add value” to their design purchase by piling on ideas. Again, this makes your message LESS clear, and will turn off clients and potential business partners.
It’s a trusim in every aspect of the business world: you get what you pay for. If you have your 10-year old niece draw your logo’s character for $5, the value will show. If you get 100 designs for $50, the value will show.
If you need to have a tagline, great; just leave it out of the logo. Let it be a part of your business card or website. The idea of a logo is to get it stripped down to the essentials, and your address and hours or operation are not essentials. LLC and INC are legally required in your legal documents, but not in your logo, and they tend to make your logo look less professional.
The reason logo design is all about simplicity is because your logo needs to be flexible. It’s going to be used in different ways, like embroidery, web and animation. It’s print requirements will be different from it’s web requirements. So it’s not a good idea to use too many gradients and complex illustrations, because that doesn’t translate well to embroidery, for example. Experienced designers know how to design logos that will work for all forms of media that you might use.
Getting your logo done right is a very important part of starting your business. It’s worth the cost to have it done right. See the team at BusinessLogos to make sure your business gets the logo it deserves.
This post is about the type of logo that some people call a LogoType. It goes by other names as well, but I’m referring to logos that are essentially text with very little graphic elements. Michael Lambert at Fredd Design calls them Alphanumerics. This is what he said on his website about this category of logo. “This type of mark is the most widely-used logo and we are bombarded with them wherever we go on practically whatever we see. An alphanumeric logo is your company or brand spelled out, literally, but the treatment of the typography is usually unique unto the name itself and can therefore be trademarked and be treated as a logo.”
You can probably think of many logotypes off the top of your head, because they’re so popular. Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Microsoft, and Google’s logos are just a few examples. When done correctly, it can last for many generations and always represent the company quickly and confidently, without distracting the eye with graphics that can get stale over time. Plus, it shows creativity…I mean, look at Red Lobster’s logo…”wow, you’ve put a lobster that’s red above your text…how did you come up with that?”
10. The Ambigram
The Ambigram is my favorite kind of logotype, because it takes a lot of patience and skill to create. It also stays in the mind of the viewer, because the eye has fun reading it in different ways. Ambigrams are words that can be read in more than one way, so it doesn’t have to just be turned upside down. They can also be read from the side differently, or can have words within words.
9. The “Literal Embodiment”
This style makes use of the company name, turning it into a visual metaphor. It doesn’t work with all names, but when it does, it really works to represent the name. Employing this style also ensures that the logo will be remembered. But you can only use this style with certain names.
8. The AlphaGlyph
This is a design using the letters to create art, thus eliminating the need for a graphic. This requires the designer to really get familiar with the shapes of letters, and to explore many different possiblities. When it works, it works, though, and you can get some really elegant designs. It also helps reinforce the name of the company.
7. The Integrated Graphic
This style works when the graphic is meant to be not subliminal…the comapny really is sure about the product, and wants you to associate them with the leader in that product or service. Amazon does it with the smile that also means A-Z. Creating it takes a lot of thought into something that really represents the company well, and won’t need to be changes if the company shifts directions.
6. The Typography Lover’s dream
This is when the text is front and center, and gets a lot of loving attention to each shadow and curve. ANy supporting graphics are incidental, almost unnecessary, because the shapes of the letters have been lovingly massaged until they’re perfect. This may not be a very common kind of logo, but this style is getting more popular every day, based on a quick search on Behance.
5. The Monogram
A close cousin to the Alphaglyph, this is where the designer uses an acronym and make the rest of the text very incidental, using visual hierachy techniques. It’s good for companies that WANT be known for their initals, like HP, AOL, and VW. Usually this logo starts out its career as an alphaglpyh accompanied with the explanatory text, and then evolves into just the acronym once brand recognition is established.
4. The Typographic Crest
Very similar to #6, but this one is text enclosed in a shape. THis makes it good fora ll kinds of backgrounds, and easier to embroider. New York Life’s logo does this, and it’s never seen without it’s enclosure.
3. The Dangler
This style employs a descender or ascender from one of the letters being put to good use to describe the business. It could be a tail, a moustache, or a piece of food, as long as it’s joined with a simple graphic. A close cousin to the Integrated Graphic style, but it has the graphic apart from the text, so either can be used separately.
2. The Hidden Graphic
FedEx did this and did it well with their hidden arrow. They’re fun to find, and I find myself constantly looking for this kind of thing. You can find it in Tostito’s, Staples, and Baskin Robbins. This example isn’t very hidden, but I think it counts.
1. The Calligraphic Wonder
I am really starting to appreciate this kind, because it takes a designer that loves typography. This style is also good for t-shirts, hoodies, posters, and events. It gives weight to the text, and shows that the company cares enough to take time with their message.
All of these logos were done by the talented designers over at BusinessLogos.com. You can send your typographic logos to firstname.lastname@example.org…we’d love to post it and share it with the world!
Patricia sent us her logo to be critiqued. The company is Apparel US and, surprisingly, she is not a designer. It looks like a designer made this, because there’s a measure of restraint. Everything has a purpose. The stars are there to reflect the United States aspect. The colors are simple. If it weren’t for the gradient on the tag, I would say it’s a 2-color job (that doesn’t look like a halftone, it looks like a third color.
One thing makes me grit my teeth a little. Look at the space between the APP and the AREL. If you give it just that extra 10% that designers do before finishing a logo, then you catch things like this.
Other than that, you made a good looking, simple logo design. Good job.