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Rob Marsh
Admin, Logodesign.com
Filed under Books, Logos.

7 Fantastic Books About Logo Design

We’re suckers for a good book. And when we find a good book about our other passion—logo design—it’s pretty hard to walk away. Which is probably why so many of these books are sitting on the shelf next to our desk right now. What follows is our short list of favorite books about logo design. Some are about process, others about branding, while still others are simply packed with fun profiles of brands old and new. Check them out. Buy one if you’re intrigued. And let us know what you’d add to the list.

 

Designing Brand Identity  1. Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler.

If I were teaching a class about the visual elements of branding, this would be the text book. It covers just about everything from the development of a logo to environmental graphics. Its very well written, filled with lots of examples of great design, definitions, before and afters, and much more. And while this book isn’t just about logo design (in fact, it’s mostly about other elements of a brand identity), it’s still the place to start if you want to learn the basics. Totally worth having on your shelf.

 

Logo Design Love Book  2. Logo Design Love by David Airey.

Written primarily for graphic designers who design logos and want to do it well, this book talks about what it takes to design an iconic brand identity from soup to nuts. It’s jammed with case studies, sketches, and more logos than I can count. Plus Airey shares the inside stories behind many of the designs shared in the book. You’ll read about logos from the best design shops in the world as well as in-house design teams. And as you learn about these iconic designs, you’ll get an idea of why one logo works better than another as well as more than 30 practical design tips for creating a logo with a long and happy life.

 

Logo Life Book  3. Logo Life by Ron van der Vlugt.

This book isn’t about how to design a logo. Rather it profiles the life histories of 100 logos you’ll easily recognize—from 3M and Barbie to Xerox and the YMCA. It includes old advertisements, packaging, and timelines that show the development and changes of corporate logos over time. You’ll no doubt be surprised by the look of some early logos (McDonald’s is so different it’s hard to believe) as well as the stories behind the development of others (like MTV’s logo which may be the first logo meant to be dynamic and changeable depending on where you see it. This is a fun book anyone involved in the world of advertising or design will enjoy browsing.

 

Logo RIP Book  4. Logo R.I.P. by The Stone Twins.

Another fun book, much like Logo Life, this book profiles the logos of companies that are dead (or companies that no longer use these particular designs). Here you’ll find obituaries for the iconic designs once used by P&G (the moon and stars), Enron (tilted E), Kodak (the box K), and BP (the shield), among dozens of others. Some of these designs are so good, it’s hard to see why they’re no longer used, while others were killed off when their brands became toxic, or when the company was bought or went out of business. Another fun book to keep on your shelf and browse when you need a bit of great logo inspiration.

 

How to Design Logos Book  5. How to Design Logos, Symbols, & Icons by Gregory Thomas

This book is less about inspiration and more about the process different designers use to create brand icons. It includes twenty-four case studies that follow the development of great logo designs, showing the process from earliest sketches to final design. And while we consider symbols and icons a kind of logo, this book treats them as if they are a separate category. Still, a good reference tool for anyone interested in how the design process works.

 

Logo Lounge 8 Book  6. The Logo Lounge Series by Bill Gardner.

Bill Gardner runs the very successful website, Logo Lounge, where thousands of designers have posted their work. Every year or so, he collects the best of the hundreds of thousands of design ideas for a book, the latest of which is volume 8, published this year. There’s no explanation of the process, what the client asked for, or how the designer works, just thousands of logo designs for your inspiration. If you have all eight volumes, then check out The Big Book of Logos, a five volume set that is similar, though in our opinion, not quite as good.

 

How to Create a Logo Book  7. The Beginner’s Guide to Logo Design: How to Create a Logo Even If You Can’t Draw to Save Your Life

We’re a little partial to this last book because, well, we wrote it. But if you’re new to the idea of creating a logo, check this one out. It covers the process you should go through before you even pick up a pencil—thinking about how you want to position your brand or company, what kind of icons you should consider, and what your logo means. If you are working with a designer you can skip the last couple of chapters which talk about how to use the Logomaker application to create your own logo. The first part of the book is where the real value is. Check it out.

Did we leave your favorite book off the list? Let us know what books about logo design you would add, in the comments.

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robmarsh
Rob Marsh
Admin, Logodesign.com
Filed under Infographic, Logos.

Very Cool Infographic: How Your Brain Sees a Logo Design

We are loving this new infographic designed by one of Logodesign.com’s portfolio designers Dave Riley that shows the thinking process you go through every time you see a logo. Plus, it details some interesting (some might say scary!) facts about logo designs.

Did you now that logos can change your behavior?

Or that we think about logos and brands the same way we think about our friends?

Check it out:

How Your Brain Sees a Logo Design by Logomaker.com” width=

How Your Brain “Sees” a Logo

Embed on Your Site:

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robmarsh
Rob Marsh
Admin, Logodesign.com
Filed under Design, Logos, Satire.

That New Logo Design Is Not What You Think It Is

Note: This post includes a couple of references to scatological terms that have been a part of the news surrounding two logo redesigns this summer. If you find that kind of reference offensive, please skip to the next post.

Looking for a little criticism of your marketing team? Then you should launch a new logo design.

Remember The Gap?

In 2010, The Gap introduced a brand new logo to represent the brand. The new logo was basically a blue box, and was roundly criticized for being lousy by the brand’s critics and fans alike.

And it took less than a week for the Gap to reverse it’s decision and announce they would be sticking with the old logo. It was a disaster.

Since then it’s as if the logo critics smell blood in the water.

Virtually every company that has updated its logo in the past couple of years has come under some kind of criticism for the effort. Sometimes it’s deserved. Sometime, it’s not.

But two recent logo updates have met with a new kind of criticism. Not just an “I don’t like it.” or an “It’s not an improvement over the last logo design.”

The new criticism is scatological.

As in (and we’re sorry if this offends anyone), “The new logo is a pile of poop.”

Only the thing is, it isn’t.

The logo that supposedly looks like poop? Here it is:

New Hershey Logo Design

If you are anything like 99% of the people who see this logo, you probably recognize the Hershey’s Kiss.

But a few people (who apparently haven’t grown out of fifth grade) think that the Kiss is something less chocolatey. And once they started posting their comparisons on Twitter everyone jumped on the bandwagon.

For the vast majority of people—it would never cross their mind that the Kiss is anything other than chocolate. Collectively the brand’s fans have eaten millions of them. The Kiss embodies all kinds of positive emotional value. Better still, it’s simple, easily recognizable, and loved. That adds up to a great logo.

But it could have been worse.

Earlier this summer, AirBNB unveiled a nice new icon and logotype with a lot of fanfare:

New AirBNB Logo Design

And then the critics went to work, (and again, we are sorry for this), “The new logo is a vagina.”

Don’t these guys have something better to do with their time?

The new AirBNB logo doesn’t enjoy the same kind of brand awareness that the Hershey’s Kiss has. So fans of the AIRBNB brand won’t have the same emotional connection to the new icon as Hershey fans might have to theirs.

But very few people will see this icon and think, “Vagina.” In fact, our guess is that the only people who would think something like that probably haven’t actually seen one. (Note: Google it and compare. Actually don’t do that. Trust us.)

This is the kind of thing that usually results in some pretty funny parody.

Satire isn’t supposed to match reality that closely.

The firm (Design Studio) that designed this new logo said that part of the thinking in the new design was to “design a marque anyone could draw—something that transcended language and formed the foundation of a new brand.”

And the company’s management said they wanted a symbol that customers could draw. Something that without a previous meaning that would come to represent the experiences their customers would have with the brand.

And that is exactly what they got. It’s a good logo.

They’re both good logos. Better than average.

Maybe its time to take a step back and give a little more thought before we criticize the next new logo design.

 

robmarsh
Rob Marsh
Admin, Logodesign.com

How One of our Logo Designers Creates a Custom Logo

We’ve had the privilege of working with dozens of incredibly talented logo designers over the past 20 years. It’s both inspiring and rewarding to see them work through ideas and concepts, put designs down on paper (or more likely these days, the computer screen), and deliver a creative product that the customer loves.

We’ve seen it thousands of times, but most customers have no idea what the process looks like. So Paul, one of our logodesign.com portfolio designers, sat down and recorded his work on a logo design project, then sped it up and set it to music. It’s definitely worth the two minutes it takes to watch:

 

 

Do you have a logo project you’d like us to share? Send it to us. Better yet, join Logodesign.com today and post it yourself!

Great work Paul.

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robmarsh
Rob Marsh
Admin, Logodesign.com
Filed under Design.

How to Find a Great Logo Designer.

Last week we wrote about how to work with a logo designer to get the very best from them. If you read that, you might be asking, but how do I find a great graphic designer in the first place?

A quick search on Google for “graphic designer” or “logo design” doesn’t necessarily bring up a lot of exciting options. Instead, you’ll find a host of design contest sites, and logo companies that look like fronts for teams of inexperienced, overseas designers. There are some gems in there, but they might not be obvious at first glance.

So here’s our advice on how you can find a great logo designer.

Before we tell you where to look, keep these three things in mind…

First, know what you need.
Before you go looking for a designer, you need to know what exactly you are looking for. Do you need a simple logo design or a logo along with a website, business cards, or other materials? Be prepared to tell your designer exactly what you want and how you will be using your design. It also helps if you can share a brief description of your business and customers. This sets the direction for your project right up front.

Second, know your budget.
These days there are options for getting a logo designed for any budget, from as little as a few dollars to as much as tens of thousands of dollars. Some options are definitely better than others. How much money you have available to spend will help you determine which designers you should be contacting.

If you’re looking for a custom logo, designed just for you, plan on spending at least $300. For that price, there are plenty of designers who will give you a few ideas for your logo design. If you need more options, or something more than a simple logo, or want to work with a more experienced designer, plan on spending a bit more.

Note: Don’t have that kind of budget? We understand. We’ve talked with experts who say that more than 20% of all new businesses have less than $500 to spend on marketing for an entire year. With so little to spend, these entrepreneurs simply can’t afford to blow it all on a logo. If you are in this category, skip looking for a designer and try one of the do-it-yourself logo design apps found online (our favorite is Logomaker.com). This recommendation is only for those with a very limited budget. Everyone else will get better results from working closely with an actual designer.

So how much should you plan on spending? It’s hard to say that a logo should cost exactly X dollars, because the price depends on so many different variables. (For example, it takes more time and effort to provide addition concepts and revisions.) But you can find thousands of good designers who will work for $30-150 an hour. The more experience or education your designer has, the more you can expect to pay. Often this extra expense buys experience that is worth every penny. If you are uncomfortable with an open-ended budget for your project, talk with your designer and ask them to quote you a project rate—what you will pay for a finished logo design. Most designers will charge you somewhere in the $300-$1500 range for a completed logo. Remember, you generally get what you pay for.

Third, don’t use a design contest site for your logo.
We know it’s tempting. The prices are low and they offer lots of options. But the risks are simply too high. Plagiarized artwork sold as original. Inexperienced designers throwing out logos created without any thought about your business or customers. If you really want an original logo for your product or company, your best option is working directly with a real logo designer.

So having said all that, how do you find a great logo designer?

 

Ask for Logo Designer Recommendatinos

#1. Ask for Recommendations.
This is really the best place to start… Ask someone you know who has a logo that you like, where did they get it? In fact, ask more than one person. But don’t just ask them for their designer’s contact information, ask them about the entire experience. What were they looking for when they hired the designer? How long did the process take? How good was the designer at communicating throughout the project? What did they do to learn more about your business? How many concepts did they present? What was the revision process like? And of course, how much did the logo cost? The more people you ask, the better feel you’ll get for what it takes to work with a great logo designer.

However, be careful when you ask friends or family for a recommendation. You’re likely to hear something along the lines of, “My sister’s friend is a logo designer. She’s looking for work.” While she may be a good designer, be sure not to rush into hiring her. Check out her background, her design style, and experience (see more below). Your logo design project is not a favor for a friend—it is an important step to your business success. Don’t hire someone just because you know her (or know someone who knows her).

 

Find Logo Designers with Search Engines

#2. Search Online.
Don’t know anyone who has been through the logo design process before? No problem, that’s what the search engines are for, right? Go ahead and search Google (or Bing or DuckDuckGo or your favorite search engine) for terms like “logo design,” “professional logo designer,” or “I need a logo.” What you’ll likely find is a bunch of companies that have more in common with sweat shops than design boutiques. Most are simply fronts for inexperienced designers offering logos at an unbelievably low price. So what to do?

Go deeper. Look past the “I’ll design your logo for $15” offers. Beyond the “unlimited revisions, guaranteed” packages. This will take a bit of effort, but don’t rush it. Remember you’re looking for a great logo designer to work with. Sadly, the best logo designers aren’t found on page one or even page two of the search engine results.

Keep in mind that a low ranking on Google or any other search engine isn’t a reflection of the quality of the designer. You may not start finding logo designers who meet your requirements until page 3 or page 7 or even deeper. Keep going…

 

Where Logo Designers Hang Out

#3. Skip Google and Search Where Logo Designers Hang Out.
You may not find great designer on the first few pages of Google, but that doesn’t mean the best logo designers aren’t online. You just need to know where to look.

There are several places built specifically to help designers showcase their work. Logodesign.com is one of them. Check out the logo samples featured on the home page. See any you like? Click them to read more about the designer who created them. Or check out the featured designers a little lower on the page. Or take a deeper look by searching through our design profiles by clicking the Find a Designer link at the top of the page. When you find a designer you like, click through to their personal website for more information on how to contact them.

Of course, Logodesign.com isn’t the only place to look (and because we’re so new, we don’t yet have the critical mass that some other sites have). You can also look for designers at Behance, Flickr, and Dribble. Searching for “logo design” on Pinterest may be another good option.

Skipping the search engines and going directly the places where designers post their work for other designers to see is a great way to find a designer who’s work you admire.

 

Look at Logo Design Portfolios

#4. Look at Portfolios. Lots of Portfolios.
The key to finding a great designer is looking at their work. And that means taking time to look through as many portfolios as possible. Make notes of the designers who’s work you admire most. Also notice the design styles that most appeal to you (or more importantly, will appeal to your customers). If you find a designer who has several logos that you admire, reach out to them about possibly working on your project.

What you’re looking for is a talented designer with several designs that make you think “Wow, I’d love a logo like that for my business.” If you go through several pages of their portfolio without seeing something that you love, pass and move on to the next designer.

If the designers you admire are out of your budget or not available for your project, make a note of the work that you like. You can show it to the designer you end up working with as an example of what you are looking for—which will help them determine which ideas to explore first as they work on your project.

We mentioned the best logo design portfolio sites in Step #3, but just in case you’re skimming, we recommend Logodesign.com (obviously), Behance, Flickr, and Dribble.

 

Logo Designers Similar to Your Needs

#5. Make Sure the Designer has Done Similar Work to Your Project.
Once you find a designer that you like, make sure they’ve done projects (type and scope) like yours. You may like the work of a designer who is fresh out of school and is willing to work within your budget. Great! But make sure they have done this kind of work before. It’s one thing to design a logo, quite another to design an entire identity package. If you need a dynamic website, make sure they’ve got some website development experience first. The same is true for brochures or package design. These different projects required somewhat different knowledge and skills. Make sure the designer you choose has done the kind of work you need.

 

Visit  Logo Designers Site

#6. Visit Their Website.
Once you’ve chosen a designer you like (but before you contact them), check out their website—not just their portfolio but everything else too. Read their blog and check out their Twitter and Facebook feeds. Are they proud of the work they create? Do they praise previous clients? Do they praise other designers? Do they talk about the fonts they love or other logos they wish they had created? Do they write about (and obviously love) logo design? If so, chances are you will have a good experience working with this designer.

On the other hand, do they complain about their clients? Do they make fun of design work they didn’t create? Are they rude or inappropriate? These are signs that this is a designer you might not want to work with.

 

Check Your Logo Designer's References

#7. Check Your Designer’s References.
This advice is particularly important if you find your designer online (rather than through a referral from a friend). Before you hire your designer, ask them for the phone numbers or email addresses of several of their previous clients. Then contact these clients and ask about working with the designer. What was the process like? How are their communication skills? What was the revision process like? And so on.

Don’t be surprised when the references are all positive. No designer is going to willingly connect you with a client who had a bad experience. The key question to ask is “Did the designer deliver what they promised on time and in budget?” And if you hear over-the-top praise, consider that a good sign.

If you are working with a designer you do not know—do not skip this step.

 

Avoid Designers Who Use Bad Grammar

#8. Avoid Designers Who Use Incorrect Grammar.
We’ve seen more than one design web site that claims to be based in Wyoming or Nevada (at least that’s what the contact us page says), but things just don’t feel right. There are just too many misspelled words, or the syntax of the sentences doesn’t sound quite right. Before working with this designer, contact them directly. Ask to speak with them on the phone. If that’s not possible (another red flag) ask them several pointed questions in an email. If the response comes back with more syntax and spelling errors, you may be working with someone using translating software to create their website or email responses.

While there is nothing wrong with choosing a designer from outside your home country (and it may be a good way to save a little money), be aware that designers from other cultures may not have the experience to create a design that will appeal to your customers. They may not be aware of color differences and design conventions. Be sure you know what you are getting into before you make this choice.

 

Logo-Designer-You-Click-With

#9. Find a Designer You “Click” With.
After searching through all those design portfolios, and reaching out to a few of the designers you admire most, the real decision should come when you find a designer with whom you just click. Things feel right. They’ve done work similar to yours. You like their design style. They seem to understand what you are looking for and what you want your logo to do.

Once you find someone you really click with, hire them, (then read this about how to work with a graphic designer). A good working relationship with your designer will help you get a great logo.

Whatever you do, don’t rush your search for a great designer. If you take your time to do the search right, what you’ll end up with is a designer who will help your business grow. You might only need a logo today, but they’ll be there when you need a brochure, a website, or a presentation design.

Getting this right will pay dividends for years to come.

Great logo designers are everywhere, if you know where to look.

 

 

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