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Logo Design Tips & Interview with Leighton Hubbell

Logo Design Tips & Interview with Leighton Hubbell

We’ve had Leighton here on Logo Designer Blog before, as part of our “13 Logo Designers Share Their Love of Logo Design” series however now we have him back for a full blown interivew. Enjoy the read, it’s worth it.

Leighton Hubbell

So, who is Leighton Hubbell?

My name is Leighton Hubbell. I’m the guy behind the one-person design shop, Leightonhubbell.com and also Hubbell Design Works. I started out over 20+ years ago and have worked in several capacities in the communication arts industry including employment at various design firms, ad agencies and promotional branding agencies.

Even with a diverse set of design skills, I am most widely recognized for my logo design work. I’ve somehow lost count, but I’m sure there are literally thousands of logos in my archives that I have designed for this client or that. Clients have included businesses and organizations throughout the United States and other foreign countries. Larger clients have included Sheraton Hotels, Purina Pet Foods, Hanes USA, Lions Club International, Nestlé USA, Samsung and many others.

For the last eight years, I’ve had my own small studio focusing primarily on logo design, icon design, identity, branding and illustration. Although I’ve worked with many large brands, a significant portion of my business is working with small to mid-sized companies on their marketing and design efforts.

What makes a good logo in your opinion?

That really is a subjective call. What constitutes a ‘good’ logo to some may not resonate with others. A logo may not be technically well-designed, but have a rare quality or high visibility that represents the brand to the consumer better than anything else. It is a rare logo that rings true with a mass audience.

A good logo has a point of view, is well-designed and creates a visual calling card for the company or service it represents. It needs to have enough versatility to work in many situations and venues and is visually engaging.

Combined with good branding design, the logo comes to life and represents not only the company or service, but becomes the key component in the brand.

The important thing to remember is, without proper branding design even the best logos won’t get noticed. All you have to do is look at the world’s top brands and this comes to light.

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What makes a good logo designer?

I think it has a lot to do with how visually a designer can think. In some ways, a logo is like a visual puzzle that the designer works out and presents the solution to the viewer. Some solutions are more obvious and some are more conceptual. Although there are several styles of logos (type only, illustrative, abstract, etc.), the designer needs to be open-minded enough to find the best solution for the client and situation.

Having a signature style is great, but it should compliment the brand and not overshadow it.

The designer needs to be able to communicate ideas quickly and clearly, and be able to find several solutions to the same problem.

The best logo designers I know of are all great draftsmen, which is to say that the visuals are well crafted, tightly rendered and accurate. I really enjoy a well-designed mark from a truly great artist.

And above all, a good logo designer has to be a well-versed typographer. Having a sense of appropriate typefaces is very important, especially since this is a purely commercial art form. Being able to select the right font can make or break a logo mark. The type sets the mood or compliments the visual. If the typeface isn’t quite right, then the designer has to know what will make it right.

These days, there are so many similar businesses and business models that it is difficult to differentiate yourself. Consequentially, it makes it that much harder to create a truly original logo visual. Which is why I think that the overall logo design community – the real logo specialists – is rather small.

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What are your main methods of finding new clients and which of those methods work best?

In the past, most of my new clients came from referrals, either from past clients or agencies I have worked with. After being in the industry for a number of years, I find maintaining contacts is part of the job. Until recently, that would have been enough. But now, the internet and social networking are becoming more and more of the norm.

In my self-promotional mix, I have a combination of source books, mailing lists and of course, website presences. When I get new inquiries, I try to inquire how they found out about me, just so I can keep track of what’s working and what isn’t.

By far, the website is an invaluable resource to have available. In the old days, all you had was your portfolio, mailers and a phone list. If you could afford it, you got a source book page. Most of the time, you worked by referral and it was very hard to get a following built up. Now, anyone with a computer can find your work on a website to view at any time. The key now, is building up your site traffic. Everything works in tandem from your site, to your blog, to design sites, to postcards, to e-mail blasts to build the self-promotion machine.

What information do you gather from a client before starting a logo?

I try to have a formal meeting or conference call to try and get as much information about the assignment as I can. I used to have a much more detailed form to fill out on my site, but I think some might have found it overwhelming to complete. I have since culled it down.

More so, I ask lots of questions about their business. Who are they now? Who do they want to be? Where are they going? Where have they been? Who is their audience now and do they want to broaden or narrow it? What sort of applications would this logo be used for? Any visual preferences or messages you need to communicate? Who are your competitors? Budget?

Of course, sometimes clients aren’t always ready to answer everything but it does get them thinking in a parallel direction. At first they are looking for a logo, but these types of questions show that there is a much broader process to the design and they can be a part of it.

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What is your typical design process when designing a logo for a new client?

My first phase is going through the information that they shared in our meeting. I then take that knowledge and put together an estimate. My typical procedure is getting a signed estimate, a purchase order and a deposit before any work starts. If they are really serious, the deposit requirement usually gets things moving right away.

After the contract is approved and the deposit is received, I start working out thumbnail sketches in my sketchbook or any scrap paper I can find. Usually my brain is working concepts out during our first meeting. So, by the time I start to formally work out sketches, my brain has been processing the designs for a while. I fully believe that your brain is working on problems in the background while your doing other things. Sort of a brain simmer. Nothing interesting comes from staring at the paper and beating it out of yourself.

If needed, I do additional research to find out more about the client’s company history, present design and any related subjects. I may go to the bookstore, talk to consumers, tour their manufacturing plant, visit a retail store or whatever venue that seems appropriate to glean more background on the project.

During the sketch phase, I decide what kind of styles might be appropriate for the logo. Is it geometric, clean, rustic, hand-tooled or illustrative, etc? I work in about 15-20 minute stretches and stop for a bit. I come back to it periodically until I think I have enough concepts to start on the computer. Some projects come to me right away and some take more time to process.

If I am doing an illustrative logo, I will show sketches at this point. I used to do that with all my logo projects, but clients aren’t as visual as they used to be. When you show a sketch these days, people get scared or concerned over things they probably wouldn’t notice in a completed vector concept. It’s too bad, but that’s what everyone is used to.

For the more geometric designs, I can usually create them from looking at my sketch. I also have an archive or ‘parts bin’ of elements I may use from past jobs that may be faster than redrawing the whole thing. The more illustrative pieces are traced from a scanned-in sketch and fine-tuned from there.

At some time during the process I may have inspiration for an appropriate typeface. Some logos are driven by the font and some are matched up upon completion of the mark. I have no set process for that.

While I am assembling the concepts, I am thinking about color. What kind of palette would work here? How many colors? Muted or bold? Vivid or conservative? I have many color books that I reference, including tear sheets of work I like in my sketchbook. Sometimes I try to match those color selections.

If I am able to present the logos in person, I make a nice color output of each concept so they are not confused or influenced by the other designs at the same time.

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How do you present your concepts to your clients and how many do you usually provide? What final files do you deliver to your client?

Well, since most of my clients are not local to me, I have had to send them in PDF form via e-mail. The primary reason for this is that although I do like to present the work, it is not often that our schedules will always coordinate. In the past, I’ve tried to follow the e-mail up with a phone call, but by the time I reach them, they have already looked at the work. Sometimes, this spoils the surprise.

With each concept, I write a brief creative rationale for the design, colors and typefaces. This ensures that the client understands what the concept and my thinking is and why it’s designed that way – even if they don’t get a chance to talk to me right away.

As far as a count, it really depends on the size of the project and whether or not I feel like things are progressing enough. Some more and some less. Believe me, I am no ‘wallpaper’ designer. There is usually a minimum of designs that I actually submit for client review.

Final files are usually delivered in the standard EPS, TIFF and JPEG forms with a logo collection PDF that I include for a guide to the files and colors.

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Has there ever been a case when the client was not fully satisfied with the suggested logo designs? If yes, how did you handle that? Did you charge extra for the additional designs? How often does this happen?

Yes, there have been a few that have not been completely satisfied with the work. Most of the time, that is found out in the first couple of rounds and can be attributed to a lack of communication or bad information in the creative brief.

I’ve also had a situation that the agency owner loved my work and logo styles, however when it came to her own company’s logo, she couldn’t be satisfied. Nothing I presented to her was suitable or appropriate. There is rarely a time when I come away from a meeting with absolutely no leads or possibilities for the next round. I rarely strike completely out.

The trouble was, she couldn’t remove herself from the project and think objectively about what was working and what wasn’t. She was too close. So, we agreed the project was not going well and that there were no hard feelings. I told her that I felt that I was not the right fit for the project and billed her only for the work submitted.

Usually when I can see the project going in that direction and we are at our estimated limit, I will mention that we have exhausted those hours and that we will be going over. From there, I let them decide how to proceed.

The key to keeping this professional is in the project estimate. The designer needs to state to the client exactly what they are providing them for that price. If the designer is vague, then the client’s expectations can be quite different than what the designer is willing to do. If the client has signed the estimate with the terms the designer stated, than there are no mysteries when the bill shows up.

It took me a long time to figure that out, but since then there have been very few truly bad projects. With good communication and a thorough contract agreement, the project should go smoothly.

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How long do you spend on average creating a logo? What are the factors that contribute to how long you spend creating a logo?

It really depends on the scope of the project. The inspiration can come directly from them, or from what I glean from our first meeting. Sometimes I can even have a couple of ideas rolling around in my head while I’m talking to the client. They may take a matter of a few hours, but not all the time.

I have had a few concepts that I have sketched out that I want to make sure are figuratively accurate. So, I will do additional research online, at the library or bookstore, or even shoot reference photos to make sure the image is right.

With logo illustration, there is usually some time spent doing thumbnails, rough and refined sketches before moving on to the computer. Some of the bigger jobs require client sign-off on the sketches and often have tweaks that need to happen along the way.

I have several styles that I use for different logos. Techniques like woodcuts or textures can take additional time, but it has to be appropriate for the client to be worth the time.

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How do you choose the right colour and font for each logo design project? Do you have any favourite or most used fonts that you use in your projects? Why?

Color selection is definitely an art unto itself and I have been told it is one of my strengths. Part of my interview questions and creative brief cover the information I need on the subject of color. The other part is instinctive to the design and usage of the logo. Factors like demographics, branding image and mood have a lot to do with the color palette that is selected. Some colors have specific things associated with them and therefore can help shape the viewer’s perception of the logo design.

I do have some favorite fonts that I use rather frequently, but they are always evolving. Kind of like a favorite classic shirt that you keep buried in the closet. Every once in awhile, you get it out for something special. One of my more commonly used techniques is trying to pair up a serif face with a complimentary sans-serif face.

I love type, so if I come across a new one on HF&J’s site, Veer or say FontHaus, I’ll try and keep it filed for a new project. Every once in awhile I get to use it. Like a kid in a candy store.

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Do you have any main influences that affect your work?

My interests have a fairly wide range, which have a direct effect on anyone’s design style. I enjoy the outdoors, cycling, woodworking, music, movies, technology, art and car stuff. Pretty diverse.

I own a pretty large collection of logo design, illustration, photography and design books. My obsession with magazines has me thumbing through new ones all the time. There’s a lot of great art direction happening in magazine design these days.

Growing up, I followed quite a few cartoonists and illustrators from the books and magazines in my parent’s bookstores. Now, with the internet I find myself admiring many of the great illustrators I see on the dozens of inspiration sites posted everywhere. The creativity, styles and diversity are amazing.

What is the most challenging part about logo design and how do you deal with it?

The negotiation and business part tends to create the most challenges for me. Many people aren’t used to working with a logo designer and have their own expectations. Some have a great respect for what we do, but most people need a little education. I think the bulk of the population have no idea how much impact logo design has on product and service branding and how much it should cost. It is very much taken for granted.

I think the single best action I have taken to improve my business and business relations has been updating my estimate or project agreement form. After some research, I found some excellent sample forms in the Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook for Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. Upon incorporating the very thorough itemization and legal terms into the form, it has helped improve the tone for the business portion of the jobs.

The new project agreement has dramatically weeded out the ‘tire kickers’ and potentially difficult clients for sure. The professional tone it sets also smoothes out both my intended deliverables for the assignment and the client’s expectations. There is much better communication and it is less likely to create disputes. I highly recommend it.

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What are your most favorite design resources? What gives you inspiration and where can we find it? How do you deal with creative blocks?

In the past, I would go to different art events, museums or the like for a recharge on creativity. A few times a year, I’m a guest instructor at a class at my alma mater Art Center College of Design. Seeing what other people are creating is always inspirational to me. Being a one-man show can be very isolating sometimes. Not much on water cooler chat.

My favorite books at the moment are a lot of the Rockport titles like the LogoLounge series, the Letterhead and Logo Design series, the 1,000 series. Other favorites are the Type Directors Club annuals and Von Glitschka’s texture books. I’ve got the entire TDC library from Volume No. 1 on.

Websites include Logopond.com, LogoLounge.com, Little Box of Ideas, LogoDesignerBlog, David Airey, Smashing Magazine, Behance.net, Dexigner.com and others.

Now, I find sites like Twitter, Digg and StumbleUpon are a huge, almost overwhelming resource for new and inspirational nuggets of information and imagery. Especially, Twitter. I have met some really great creative people that I can chat with all over the world. Before, you might see their names in a magazine or book. Today you can chat with them in real time. It’s amazing.

For creative blocks, I find that having a little balance in your life helps work those out. By balance I mean, getting out and doing something else besides design for an hour or two. Get off the computer, phone or whatever and take your mind off of things. I go hiking, or mountain biking to get some exercise. Many times during my rides I’ll come up with blog article ideas, logo concepts, promotional ideas or whatever. You’ve got the wind in your face, the sun is out and your feeling good. Sweat is very inspirational.

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What are your plans for the near future and where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

For now, I am continuing to challenge myself and improve my work. What’s great about this industry and the pace that it is evolving is, you never quite know what’s around the corner. Just when I thought I would never work on this or that, someone inquires about a project. Trying to keep abreast of the print and online world and where I can continue business is my present plan.

In ten years, I will be hopefully continue to work in the industry in some capacity, whether as a designer or an illustrator. Ten years ago, I’m not sure I could have imagined what we are doing now as an everyday thing. Technology has exploded in that short time.

In any case, it won’t be something in concrete. I’ll try and keep my options open.

Lastly, what advice would you give to an aspiring logo designer? And any last words?

Always, always, always work on your portfolio. Your portfolio is the single best investment you can make in your working career. Unlike any other industry, your work and your presentation have got to be well-crafted, displayed and up to date, or you won’t last. Take the time to do that right and it will pay off in big dividends.

When you’re just starting out, you need real assignments to cut your teeth. Just about everything I’ve learned in this business has been learned the hard way-by making mistakes. But, rather than give up, I persevered and learned from the experiences being wiser the next time. It takes time, but it’s really the only way to gain the knowledge.

Instead of entering contests, find yourself some worthwhile start-up business or charity that you can spend your time on and really craft your work. You have the satisfaction of helping someone boost their business and you get real world business experience in return. And, hopefully some cash for the efforts.

Connect with Leighton:

Portfolio: http://leightonhubbell.com
Blog: http://leightonhubbell-blog.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/leightonhubbell
Facebook: http://bit.ly/kdBtV
Studio: http://hubbelldesignworks.com

Posted in InterviewsComments (69)

Free Logo Copyright Poster

Free Logo Copyright Poster

Logo Copyright Poster

Top 100 Logos Copyright

This is a personal project that I have been working on. The poster features the (reversed) logos of the top 100 top global brands of 2009 as ranked by Interbrand, formed into the shape of the copyright symbol. The bottom right text says: “Good artists copy, great artists steal” ~ Pablo Picasso.

The idea behind the poster was to question the blurring lines between art, design and copyright. Can one just take a whole series of others work, put it into a new shape and call it art? Or is it design? I think Picasso’s quote also draws on similar thoughts… what’s the difference between copying and stealing? What is the secret to creativity? What did Picasso mean by this quote?

Anyway, you can interpret as you wish. The good news is that it is available as a free PDF under a Creative Commons 2.0 license. This means you CAN copy, print, distribute, display, and use this work for any purpose under the conditions that you give me credit for the work and that you do not make money from it.

>> Download A3 Sized Logo Copyright Poster (4.3mb)

Posted in ShowcaseComments (64)

Win 500 Business Cards from UPrinting

Win 500 Business Cards from UPrinting

UPrinting

Update 2nd September: Competition has ended. Congratulations to Scott.

Logo Designer Blog, in our new partnership with UPrinting.com present you a competition to win 500 free business cards. (For 10% off your next job, you may use this affiliate link.)

All you have to do it is comment on this post letting us know how you will use the prize if you win. Winners will be announced September 2nd.

For some inspiration, check out this post of 400+ creative business cards.

All prize winners will receive:

  • 500 Business Cards
  • Choice of size: 2×3.5”, 2×3”, 2×2″; (If you win, you can choose between 3 different business card sizes!)
  • Choice of paper paper: 14pt cardstock (matte or gloss coating) & 13 pt cardstock uncoated
  • Choice of Color: (4/4) Color both sides; (4/1) Color 1 side , B/W backside; (4/0) Color 1 side, black backside

UPrinting also offer Die Cut Business Cards and ImpactSigns offer can give you a corporate sign with your logo.

Shipping must be paid by Winner and is only valid for USA Shipping.

Good luck!

Posted in Online ResourcesComments (69)

Insider Logo Design Tips: Mike Erickson (Logomotive)

Insider Logo Design Tips: Mike Erickson (Logomotive)

Image

So, who is Mike Erickson?

I’m 40 year old father of four, professional logo designer ,typographer and illustrator, AKA Logomotive. I have been designing professionally online since 1998 under the name Logo Motive Designs. I would consider myself pretty good at designing strong marks with complimenting type. I have done half a dozen professional typefaces on the market for Letterheadfonts. I am very passionate about my work and enjoy doing my own thing. My beginning work started out to be more illustrative, but found through my experience that I really enjoy designing strong memorable marks and custom type. Most of my newer work can be seen here at Logopond, where I am a featured artist.

Ken Luallen Photography

Logo name: Kenluallen Client: Ken Luallen

What makes a good logo in your opinion?

I think a good logo design is one that WORKS for the company. A good logo design should be:

1. Good concept. You don’t always have to be overly clever, but make sure the concept has solid meaning and makes sense. Nothing better than a rock solid concept.

2. Distinctive and Memorable. A good logo can easily be understood and explained to others in a few words.

3. Adaptable. I think many designers forget the importance of Adaptability in their design work. Make sure the design can work in different environments such as horizontal and vertical layouts and be able to be reversed out. The logo should be able to work in print, digital, embroidery and signage. Consider the design being used in the largest and smallest of sizes.

4. It $ells. If the logo does not sell to the target audience, then I guess it can be considered as a fail.

Prepare for these these things and I think you will have a GREAT logo.

Thrive DC Logo

Logo name: Thrive DC Agency: Logo Motive Designs Designer: Mike Erickson Client: Thrive DC

What makes a good logo designer?

One that can Adapt, Adjust and Overcome whatever project is thrown at them. I think a good logo designer has to be a good listener and visual interpreter. Your the creative one and the client is coming to you for your creativity and skills and knowledge. I mean who really wants to be just a “button pusher”. Be creative and sell your idea. A good logo designer feels pressure, pressure to perform and satisfy the client. A good logo designer is one who follows the guidelines to question number 2.

There is so much more involved in being a good logo designer .. I think skill, knowledge in the field and a good eye are equally important.

What are your main methods of finding new clients and which of those methods work best?

Interesting and most appropriate question considering I have done very little marketing in the past oh.. 10 years or so. Most of my client base is repeat clients or referrals from my clients, however I do see a stronger need for personal promotion these days. I do receive some inquiries through my online portfolios from logo sites such as logopond, Logofaves, Logomooose, Logofi and of course Letterheadfonts. So with that said, I think building a good solid client base is priceless, however people come and go so marketing is equally as important. Blogging seems a good way to go these days. =) I’ve gotta get on that.

City Direct

Logo name: City Direct Client: Conceptual

What is your typical design process when designing a logo for a new client?

Contact. I have found over the past few years that if you do not make contact with someone as soon as possible they look elsewhere or move on. I make my best effort to make immediate contact to let them know how interested and enthused I am.

Questions. I go over many questions with my clients picking their brain about their business and asking many questions like how they started? Who is their competition? How is the logo going to be used? Where they intend to go? What they want to convey? Who is their target audience? ( key question in logo design).

Brainstorming. I start brainstorming ideas with my clients and many times they are excited to hear my initial ideas even before they are put to paper. I write down things relevant to the business to get the creative juices going. Many ideas have come from the initial contact with the client just doodling and sketching while talking to them over the phone. Creativity to me is like adrenaline, when it’s flowing you don’t want to stop.

Sketching. I STRONGLY BELIEVE IN THIS. Brainstorming and sketching kind of go hand in hand. I get so much creative juice out of the pencil, however sometimes it leads me into other brilliant ideas =) I highly recommend sketching ideas out, many of them. ” The pencil is mightier than the mouse.” ME

Presenting. Once I have sketched out some good solid concepts and ideas, I will clean up, vectorize and present to the client a couple good ones. I have found that clients tend to look at the imperfect detail in sketches and it’s sometimes too hard to explain how it will be cleaned up. However I do have some clients that I can present rough sketches to, I appreciate those clients.

Final and Prep. The best part right? Not always. I actually enjoy the design part but this is the part that gives you the remaining balance and makes your clients return. Take care of this part. Even though it’s the most tedious part, it’s the most important part. Prep good clean files and only enough to get the job done right. Supplying too many file types will overwhelm the client and cause confusion down the road. I also offer my opinion and eye for clients prior to running prints or publishing work.

EyeHelp Logo

Logo name: eyehelp.org Client: Cosgrove Technology Group.

How do you present your concepts to your clients and how many do you usually provide? What final files do you deliver to your client?

I usually present my initial concepts via PDF . I usually show the logos in black and white with a couple layout options. I say 3 concepts or within a certain allowed timeframe figured into the design contract. I try to give them really good solid and conceptual designs so I put a lot of sweat and effort into my initial designs. This can be a little draining if I do not succeed on the first attempts. The final files delivered are Vectors and high resolution bitmaps and any other relevant file needed for the project.

Has there ever been a case when the client was not fully satisfied with the suggested logo designs? If yes, how did you handle that? Did you charge extra for the additional designs? How often does this happen?

OF course! I would not be human if this has not happened to me. I get told all the time. “I like it, but it is not the same as the ones in your portfolio.” Or “I want it to say WOW like your other stuff”. Building or showcasing a good strong portfolio can increase your clients but on the same token it often puts more pressure on you to WOW your audience. Everyone wants the next WOW factor logo , but sometimes it is just impossible. I just try to work through and deliver a logo that works for the client and one they can be proud of. Most of the time the client understands where I am coming from and understands that perhaps they did not choose or have the best name or business to work with… to have that mind blowing logo. My clients tend to respect my creativity, skills, work and my time so we usually will work things out. I have refunded in the past though.

Flipside Logo

Logo name: FlipSide Client: Flipside Entertainment

How long do you spend on average creating a logo? What are the factors that contribute to how long you spend creating a logo?

On average, I have spent anywhere from 2 hrs. to 1 year. Now how does that average out? Humm.. I have some designs that I have been put on hold for months and had some designs that I have nailed down within minutes. I actually had one logo design that took about 1 1/2 hours from contact to delivery. It is was my Knotheads logo. Client contacted me told me about his business, I had a bandanna around so I tied it it in a knot, sketched it out, vectorized and colored it and sent to him. Within an hour He said “I love it, do no more”. He paid up and I delivered. I don’t think there is a set time on how long it takes, however I respect and do my best to deliver if I have a deadline. I usually quote from 1 to 3 weeks for the average project. Bottom line I just think you design until you get it right, but make sure your being compensated for your valuable time.

How do you choose the right colour and font for each logo design project? Do you have any favourite or most used fonts that you use in your projects? Why?

I really think choosing the right color is pretty self explanatory, yet so difficult to do. I mean your not going to paint a sky red unless your designing Doomsday or RedDawn. Color has always been a challenge for me explaining to my clients a little color theory. If they like blue and hate red perhaps they’ll take purple? Color is so influential. I honestly think that color is one of the toughest parts of logo design (as this is this is where most of my revisions come from). I have had clients not like a logo just because they did not like a certain color. So I always show them in black first. I have found that I’m pretty safe with blues =) Color? Maybe design it in Rainbow colors and your safe?? I ‘m still working on the whole color solution.

Being a typographer I don’t tend to have a favorite font as most of my work is custom type or type treatment. But I would say that in most cases I have used a sans serif font as my base. It all depends on the mark or logotype to me, that is how I determine what typeface to use.

Elefont Logo

Logo name: elefont Client: TBD

Do you have any main influences that affect your work?

I’m influenced by positives and negatives.

What is the most challenging part about logo design and how do you deal with it?

I find one of the most difficult parts in logo design is explaining to the client the integrity of the design as it was designed. I have clients who want me to move things around, change the typeface, color, layout and in the end it would be a complete different design. “We love it but we don’t like the color, font, layout and concept?”

Huh? ok let me explain……..

OK the most difficult part is those head scratching requests.

General Oil Gas Logo

Logo name: General Oil and Gas Client: Mark Bogani

What are your most favorite design resources? ie. What gives you inspiration and where can we find it? How do you deal with creative blocks?

This probably my favorite question you have asked. I find a lot of inspiration from my fellow colleagues such as Von and Steven whom were two of this first that kept my inspiration up and live since I began online.

I also find much inspiration from Gerard and Holly these are just a few of the old schoolers I have been inspired from, but I’m finding new inspiration from all my new friends at Logopond and now of course Twitter.

I actually do not do much online surfing for inspiration, I seem to find it from everything else around me. I try to avoid looking around to get ideas> Look around it’s everywhere and not just there.

If your having a creative block, take a break, take a walk, watch a movie. Don’t force it and waste your time, come back later.

Railroad Days Logo

Logo name: RailRoad Days Client: Selma, North Carolina

What are your plans for the near future and where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

Well hopefully in ten years I will still be a designer. I would like to offer more to the design community and expand my skills. I plan to have more typefaces on the market and pondering the idea of an identity consulting business. I’m always open to new ideas and adventures though.

Lastly, what advice would you give to an aspiring logo designer? And any last words?

Yes, find your own style and do your own thing. Don’t be afraid to step out of the circle and try new things and experiment. Listen to what your elders have said though. They have been there before you and design is ART and SCIENCE and SOME rules should not be changed but don’t be afraid to try and invent new rules. Be a trend setter not a trend follower. Enjoy what you do but grow thick skin.

MANY thanks to Jacob and his awesome, inspiring blog!

Posted in Interviews, Logo Design TipsComments (48)

Insider Logo Design Tips: Alen Pavlovic (Type08)

Insider Logo Design Tips: Alen Pavlovic (Type08)

Type08

So, who is Type08?

Hello everyone! Thanks for this opportunity to present myself here. My name is Alen Pavlovic and I’m better known as Type08 . I come from Croatia where I own the company called Artra LTD. We cover areas from design and architecture to marketing and in past 11 years, since the day of company’s register, we’ve filled our portfolio with more than 300 projects. Most of those were done in Croatia, but I wanted to communicate with clients from all over the world, so for that matter decided to enter the world of freelance graphic design. And it’s been an extraordinary 8 months since I did! I’ve finished more than 30 branding/logo/graphic design projects and am ‘collecting’ satisfied clients from all over the world (Singapore, The Netherlands, Spain, Egypt, Australia, USA, UK, Mexico, Israel, Denmark, France, Czech Republic etc). I can say that design and architecture are my passion!

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What makes a good logo in your opinion?

The only way a logo can be good is if it has a strong concept behind it. This concept should have a direct connection between the logo and vision of something that logo should represent. A logo is a core of visual identity and visual communication so it’ll only work if it really sends out the message it represents. And to have it original, recognizable and sustainable it has to lay on the foundations of a really strong and original concept.

What makes a good logo designer?

A designer that can execute the what was mentioned above… one that can graphically show and communicate a vision and desired message is a good logo designer. The process of designing a logo has several phases: from analysis, to ideas, concepts, sketches etc. Executing logo design using tools such as computers and software is (or should be) the last phase of that process. In my opinion, all the phases before that one are a bit more important.

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What are your main methods of finding new clients and which of those methods work best?

The Internet is an amazing marketing device. Getting a lot of exposure on the internet should be the main method for all services, not just graphic design. My experience proved to me that the more exposure you have, the more chances to meet with the clients you get! Being a part of some larger communities from your area of work and being able to show your personal work in a form of portfolio are the two things that will make that communication a lot easier. The start of such an adventure is really hard and it takes months to gain some ‘respect’, but after a few satisfied clients, the designer gets a lot of successful references that can ease down the negotiation process, especially when dealing with more new offers.

What information do you gather from a client before starting a logo? Do you have some form of questionnaire?

Every designer has his own approach. A questionnaire is a nice introduction tool and it supports the brief phase at the project start-up. I always ask for some basic and simple info like the name of the company, country of origin, core language of communication, brand’s vision, design preferences and possible logo guidelines, deadlines, budget, logo applications etc. But the most important part is when the client shows you logos that you did: those are the reason they contacted YOU for this job. This defines the style theu are aiming for and makes communication between client and designer much more comfortable.

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What is your typical design process when designing a logo for a new client?

First of all, at the start I always like to present my standard brief and working process details. Filling the brief really helps to define the right quote for certain projects. Meeting client’s budget is important thing, often the critical one when negotiating the collaboration. If the project gets the ‘green light’ I always ask for 50% advance transfer of the agreed amount. I call that phase ‘risk sharing’. Then I define 2 or 3 concepts and deliver preliminary designs. After a new brief with the client we go to the adjustment phase and ‘polish’ the logo until we’re all satisfied with it. When the rest of amount is being transferred I prepare the logo in vectors and sign CTS (copyright transfer statement) form. Vectors are sent via e-mail and CTS form via air-mail. And that’s about it – one more satisfied client, one more logo in portfolio, one more reference!

How do you present your concepts to your clients and how many do you usually provide? What final files do you deliver to your client?

As I said, I usually provide 2 to 3 concepts. A lot of people think that’s a very small amount but I always try hard to deliver really strong concepts. Sometimes only one is enough, especially if I get really nice, usable and inspirational info from my client. We’re getting to this concept thing again, if you can’t have a strong one, then you can make 100 proposals for the logo and none of those will work. Showing the logo in color, positive, negative and in ‘action’ (like application on the website or company’s car etc) is a standard presentation process. I deliver final files in CDR or AI formats (vectors).

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Has there ever been a case when the client was not fully satisfied with the suggested logo designs? If yes, how did you handle that? Did you charge extra for the additional designs? How often does this happen?

Yep, I think every designer had that situation. I’ve had a few. I’m not quite sure about the reason, but it’s mostly the result of client not knowing the way he wants to go with it or not having a strong and original vision behind the thing he wants to communicate (it doesn’t have to be a company). But I always try to offer a solution, no matter how hard it gets. Usually, I don’t charge extra fees, but if things really get complicated, this can pop up as an possible solution (remember that ‘risk sharing’?). I’ve never walked away from a project, only in the situation when a client asked me to, and I respected that decision.

How long do you spend on average creating a logo? What are the factors that contribute to how long you spend creating a logo?

Meeting a client’s deadline is a very important thing too. If the logo has to be done in 48 hours it will be done in 48 hours. We can all sleep after that! It usually doesn’t take long if the vision and message are inspirational enough, but if things become more complex, for any reason, it takes a bit longer. On average, I think that 2 to 3 days is really enough time to prepare something you and your client can further discuss about.

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How do you choose the right colour and font for each logo design project? Do you have any favourite or most used fonts that you use in your projects? Why?

Every element that creates the logo should have a reason of being there. That includes graphic forms, colors, fonts etc. Every little thing that makes logo the way it is should be somehow connected with the message that logo sends out. My style of design is something like ‘geometrical minimalism’ and I usually go with the simple yet effective solutions. That usually includes sans and modern fonts, but doesn’t exclude the other styles to (serifs, handwritten etc). When client has a short budget I pick out some of the thousands and thousands nice but free fonts available on the internet.

Do you have any main influences that affect your work?

I love minimalism. I’m a ’sucker’ for that style when it comes to design and architecture since day one! It’s beautiful how one can communicate so much with so less! My father is a product and interior designer and I’ve measured interiors and discussed his projects with him since I was 10 years old. But I remember that every time I picked out some of his magazines or books I always got impressed with the most simple things out there. Today, I try to be the part of that approach with my work and leave something behind that will maybe impress someone else tomorrow.

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What is the most challenging part about logo design and how do you deal with it?

I love the concept phase. Brainstorming and ideas are my area! This is where I give the best of me when searching for a right approach to the final solution. All of the phases are exciting, the one that you get ‘high 5′ from your client as well! But making concepts is something that drives me to love this job even more.

What are your most favorite design resources? What gives you inspiration and where can we find it? How do you deal with creative blocks?

The best resource for logo design, no matter the free advertising here, is www.logopond.com. It’s the best place for logos on the Earth! I love the connection between the experts from this field there. Because of that bond, you can see their best work!

Of course, the amount of design blogs and forums gets bigger and bigger every day and I think it’s good for the business. It becomes one big ‘megasource’ of inspiration! Beside the internet, books and magazines are great sources as well, although those can’t be updated so fast because of the speed of designer popularity growth and speed of creation. When it comes to creative blocks, experts say that you have to find the reasons that are creating them! I think that gaining knowledge and experience through staying informed, researching, playing and practicing can soften those reasons down.

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What are your plans for the near future and where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

My short term plans are to finally finish two of personal and most important projects. The one is reconstruction of the company’s site (www.artra.hr) and the other is personal freelance portfolio (www.type08.com). This way I’ll work even more on the quality of domestic and international communication.

Middle term plan includes gaining more work and empowering my position in this area. I also have some books on my mind, but you’ll get more info about those projects on my sites. But 10 years from now I would really love to form a strong services providing crew that could deliver the final product, no matter the form of it.

I’ve already outsourced and connected a small army of 25 people: together we deliver the final products for most of our projects (that includes presentations, education, consulting, print, interior and exterior project realization, event management, etc) but making that number closer to a 100 in the next 10 years is my goal. There’s nothing more sweet than offering the ‘whole package’ to your client, from the concept phases to realization/production ones.

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Lastly, what advice would you give to an aspiring logo designer? And any last words?

Read this article! Just kidding. Be well informed. Practice a lot. Be patient. A lot of designers will tease you of not having the ‘real’ projects! Who cares. Play with design. Have fun. Form your portfolio of experiment work. Communicate. Show and practice your skills. After some time you’ll be the one that is laughing!

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400+ Creative Business Card Designs

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13 Logo Designers Share Their Love of Logo Design (Part 2)

13 Logo Designers Share Their Love of Logo Design (Part 2)

This is part 2 of the series in which I interview thirteen talented logo designers, asking about their process of designing logos, why the love it so much, which elements are most important, and where they draw their inspiration from.

You can find part one here.

iamgarth-logo

Iamgarth Client

IamGarth

Name: Garth Humbert
Company: IamGarth
Twitter: @iamgarth

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

A person, product, or company’s brand is it’s core asset—the foundation on which its identity is built. I love being a part of this most basic message—the name. It’s how the name is portrayed that forms a large part of a consumer’s initial reaction. I want to make sure the brands that I manage don’t hinder the relationship between a company and its clients.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

There’s no set list of elements that every logo should have. They can’t all be strong or ethereal or bitchin. They don’t all need a mark or icon or illustrated monkey. That said there are some basic functions that I make sure that any logo I create can handle—because a master brand should be flexible. There are times when it needs to look good really really small or 8? wide on a billboard, in black and white or in full-color, fit into a vertical or horizontal space, in RGB on the Internet or embroidered on a polo. The other thing that’s important to me, is that nobody with illustrator (or Word) could sit down and say, “hey that logo looks like Impact with a bunch of letter-spacing” and type out one of my logos. When a client asks what font I used for their logo (so they can use it on other internal projects), I can proudly say, “I made your logotype by hand” or “I custom-tweaked some type so nobody can copy it”. Delivering a logo that is truly unique is something I always strive for.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

You’re probably expecting “riding the subway” or “old album covers” or “vintage Americana” but the reality is that my inspiration is driven by the client and their needs, goals, vision, target market, industry, competitors, history, existing materials, desired traits, and any other number of key factors that should inspire a brand. Next on my list of inspiration are the letterforms—what are the letter shapes? how do they interact? uppercase? lowercase? mixed? So much of the story can be told with the letters themselves.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

A recent identity project that was very successful (read it exceeded the clients expectations) was Eden Reforestation Projects. Where this logo is successful is that it tells the story of ERP—Healing Lands & Lives. ERP assists communities in third world countries where deforestation is rampant, by helping them understand the issue of deforestation and giving them the tools and resources to begin reversing the effects. The local community is heavily involved, resulting in a changed landscape and changed lives. This “hands-on” approach of planting trees and restoring the land is clearly communicated in the logomark—providing an immediate connection between human lives and our forests.

Im Just Creative Logo

Im Just Creative Logo Client

Im Just Creative

Name: Graham Smith
Company: Im Just Creative
Twitter: @imjustcreative

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

It’s like my little own world, I control it, I influence everything about it. Being a nutter of a perfectionist, crafting a logo is the closest I have found to actually achieving perfection. Which really throws it in the face of many people who say that perfectionism is mostly unobtainable. Prior to focusing on logo design, I was struggling with the whole perfectionist aspect. The bigger the job, the worse it was, the longer I would spend aching over the smallest of details, micro details. Yet to me they were as glaring as a huge zit on the end of someone’s nose. Not healthy.

Logo design has actually given me peace of mind many, many times. I see it as a obtainable goal with each project, rather than being overwhelmed, each logo has it’s own neat compartment where I know exactly where everything is. Rarely do I end up feeling overwhelmed or unable to deliver.

I see logo design as a true craft, one that is easy to mess up if you don’t have all the right ingredients. I love logos, plain and simple, I love that feeling when you find some utterly clever play on words, or create a monumentally brilliant logo mark. A good logo can reward you with much happiness and achievement.

To a degree, what helped me decided to focus on logo design was really the feedback that I received over a period of time, and people coming back for another logo or recommending me. That is a wonderful feeling when you know in your heart that people respect and appreciate the work you do. So that was a big influence for me, as well as my own passion for it.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

I’ll keep this simple. From my perspective, a font makes or breaks a logo. Not everyone agrees with that. I have even had people question my logo design process as unorthodox. But the fact is, I’m getting more and more logo work, so something is working. As well as having my own style of design, I seem to have my own style of logo creation – but ultimately it works for me and works for the clients.

I focus on fonts from the get go. They create the mood, the atmosphere and the emotion. They set the tone and create the right balance of feeling. I spend a lot of time thinking about fonts for every new logo project. I will occasionally do the reverse, create the logomark then choose the font, but this is pretty rare. Only in cases where the logomark plays a significant role, and my brief dictates that the mark is foremost the focal point. So yes, in these cases, I design the mark, then pair it up with a suitable font.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

Often I will just go with internal feelings, the gut instinct approach. I try to avoid getting inspiration as for me it can actually cloud what it is I’m trying to achieve. I certainly have my own style, something that has been eeked out over time. A style that is totally natural to me. Looking at logo inspiration sites actually causes internal conflict for me and hinders me more than it helps. If I get a logo project that actually stumps me for ideas, say maybe about a topic I know little about, then in these cases I usually refer to my many LogoLounge books or my favourite book of the moment, aptly named, ‘Logo’.

However, I will visit the many wonderful logo inspiration sites during quieter moments, when I don’t have any logo projects on. This was I can admire the many 100’s of excellent logos being created on a daily basis without it causing me any conflict with a ongoing project.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who struggles to pick out a favorite logo, Of course I have my own personal favourites, but often they tend not to be the ones that other people would choose, as say my best. So the dilemma is to try and choose one that really just sums up what I like about logo design. Even if, when compared to other designs, it’s not so ‘bouncy bouncy’. As i previously mentioned, I have a style that is natural to me, a minimalist at heart. So when I get a logo project that has the opportunity to be just that, then that is a time for me to celebrate. When a client says, I love your style, I love the clean shapes, the focus on typography, ‘I want the same’ then that’s a great thing.

The Octobox logo was just that. I saw potential for a very clean, font focused logo. I considered of course using shapes to create a more ‘creative’ form, but my gut kept telling me to keep to words and letters. For sure, on the surface, it looks pretty simple. Hindsight is great. But this logo actually took a lot of revisions, and font changes. Backwards and forwards to find that ‘perfect’ feel and balance.

Using shapes to represent the initials in this way also proved to be an exercise in this coming and going merry-go-round. I would classify this as my desire for perfection on overdrive. I see it, I feel it and that’s what is important. It feels and looks right to me and I’m very happy with how it turned out. The great thing with this logo design are the endless colour variations you can work with. The original was a two-tone blue, as is on my portfolio. But I have many other versions and for the purposes of this post, decided to do an almost mono reversed style.

Just Creative Design

Just Creative Design

Name: Jacob Cass
Company: Just Creative Design
Twitter: @justcreative

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

Logo design is one of those fields that can really captivate you or on the other hand, bore you to death. Thankfully for me, I really do have a passion for it. Encapsulating the core values of a business and portraying that in an a simple, identifiable and creative manner is the challenge and I suppose that is what draws me to it. I ended up specialising in logo design purely for these facts, plus it is a field that not many other designers specialise in.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

Every business has different needs and one must adapt these needs to the project, rather than following a “rule book”. I do however believe that simplicity in logo design is the best – if it reflects the core values of the business in a creative, memorable and describable manner then this should make a solid foundation for a logo.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

I usually browse logo design galleries and refer to my books to get the creative juices rolling but other than that it’s just me, my sketchbook and Illustrator.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

Although it was not particularly for a client, I am most proud of my own logo design for my own blog / design business, Just Creative Design. It encapsulates exactly who I am and what I do in a simple, creative and memorable manner. In case you missed it, the logo consists of the initials JCD that form a pencil. The initials of my own name are also JC (from my name Jacob Cass). I wrote about the design process in full on my blog.

Mayhem Studios

Mayhem Studios Client

Mayhem Studios

Name: Calvin Lee
Company: Mayhem Studios
Twitter: @mayhemstudios

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

I have always loved identity and logos, even as kid. A simple and single mark representing an idea or company was very cool to me. Taking the mark and applying the brand to other collateral and products.

Specializing in logo design is more fun and conceptually creative. You can play around with different concepts and ideas with fewer parts to worry about like a brochure, website or concerns of resolution since most times, logos are built in a vector application.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

  • Simplicity – Not overly complicated or busy with bevels, gradients and drop shadows. Stick to basic shapes.
  • Readability – Don’t distort so much that you don’t know what it is.
  • Scalable – Built as a vector, able to enlarge and reduce the logo without losing quality.
  • Memorable – Unique that stands out from other logos.
  • Versatility – You want the logo to be consistent when applied to other collateral and marketing materials.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

I usually look at awesome logo designer work, logo books and websites like Logo Lounge, Logo Pond. Many times, I get my logo inspiration when I’m out and about, like at the gym or shopping.

Simplicity, modern and clean design, and the use of white space inspires me most. Experiencing life also inspired me. Having a balance between work and play helps to keep you fresh.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

My favorite logo has to be for a client start up of an urban music production company, Downtown Entertainment. The only request the client made was to include a downtown skyline.

I like double or even triple meanings combined into a single logo sometimes. Downtown Entertainment being a music related company. I combined several elements together: a downtown skyline with headphones, which also can be musical notes. I offset the letters of “Downtown,” to give the feeling of musical notes dancing.

memo-logo

memo-client

Memo

Name: Heather Carson
Company: Memo
Twitter: @heathersmemo

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

I love logo design because I am an entrepreneur at heart. I LOVE helping people find the icon or image that will represent them to the world. Getting the right brand image is so important to the success of a company. I get to work with people who are excited about their businesses and passionate about their ideas. It’s fun to collaborate to create something that means so much.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

I have a three step test that I apply to logos. First, is it simple? Can you photocopy your logo in black and white and still read it correctly? Can you make a black only version and have it still work? Is it adaptable to all types of applications- print, web, embroidery even? Second, is it scalable? How does it look really small and really big? How about upside down? Does it work? Third, is it unique? Does it stand apart from a page of text? Is it memorable? Does it portray the company in it’s best light? Is it relevant but not obvious?

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

I gather inspiration all around me, from nature, everyday objects, my family… But, I am so amazed at the creativity of humankind. There are some seriously crazy talented people out there! The internet has opened up a whole world of inspiration to explore other graphic works, photography, print, web… truly amazing. I love social media. I love Twitter. I love getting cool links and information that I might not have found on my own.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

How can you pick, it’s like children. ;) I feel like I’m always trying to get better and better. Hopefully I’ll never have a “this is my best work” moment. However, I am sending one I finished recently that I really like. It’s for a custom cabinetry and woodworking shop called Copper Canyon Design. The icon itself contains the letters for the company but it also forms the shape of a protractor – a common drafting tool.

penflare-logo

penflare-client

Penflare

Name: Sean Farrell
Company: Penflare
Twitter: @penflare

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?
I guess for me, it is the challenge of taking an entire company – what they specialize in, what market they are in, and the services they offer, and encompassing all these things into one image that defines them. A logo is their mark in world business so it should be a unique representation of their product or service.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

I think simplicity is essential to any good logo. Simplicity works, but only if the logo conveys the message what you want it to. Being too simple though can sometimes leave even the client wondering what it represents, so flexibility is essential designing a new or revised logo. The logo should also work in other mediums such as black and white, grayscale, full color, etc.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

I like looking at designers like David Airey, David Pache, Bojan Stefanovic, Mike Erickson and Alen Pavlovi to gain inspiration. Their designs are so simple yet they convey such an immediate impact when you look at them. I also believe that my inspiration and creativity comes from God and my life experiences. I don’t believe creativity is something that can be learned – you’re either born with it or you’re not!

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

I think my all time favorite logo I’ve designed for a client would have to be Logoreview. This was probably one of my most simple logos, but took me a while to get it just right. I came up with the idea through brainstorming. I was originally designing a check mark in a unique way to be separate from the text. It wasn’t turning out like I thought it would so I looked at doing a type treatment. I then saw a perfect spot for the check mark in the word review. I cut off a sliver of the “v” and voila, a check mark was born.

phire-logo

phire-client

Phire Design

Name: AJ Troxell
Company: Phire Design
Twitter: @phiredesign

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

I had always been more of a web designer up until a couple of years ago. I started working at a print company as an in-house graphic designer, and after being there a while really turned a lot of my attention toward designing logos. Many of the customers, or potential customers, were looking for a brand new logo, or a recreation of their current logo, and this quickly became something that I spent much of my time on.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

If you consider “thinking outside the box” part of a designers mind, then I don’t think there is too much that is essential. The only key components in my opinion are:

  1. Recognizable (in large or small format).
  2. Easy on the eyes. Subtle, yet stands out.
  3. Simplicity. Simplicity is key for a logo itself, but the way it is integrated into an advertisement or any digital media can be quite complex and still keep the logo recognizable.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

My daughter and my wife. They are as much responsible for everything that I do, as I am.

Really though, I look at what the company or person does, and draw from that, their personality, and what they or their company is trying to convey. I prefer smooth curves and smooth angles as compared to sharp edges and roughness.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

My favorite logo that I have ever done, is for a landscaping company called Taylor Made Landscaping. This was one of the first few that I designed, and still to this day remains my favorite. I honestly couldn’t tell you why. But it has always remained as a inspiration for future logo design.

r27-logo

r27-client

R27.Creativelab

Name: Rajesh Pancholi
Company: R27.Creativelab
Twitter: @r27

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

What do I love about it you ask…? I guess it’s the challenge of representing sometimes-complex messages in one simple form. I didn’t intend to specialise in any way but one of my tasks over the last 7 years has been creating identities for incentive/motivational programmes for large corporate companies. Meaning a very quick turnaround, portraying the mood/emotion of the campaign.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

The first element that comes to mind is simplicity and then adaptability on different media, this usually is something that hangs over the entire project from the start. From here it’s about trying to get an idea of the client, the image they would ideally wish to portray – the character, and fundamental values of the company. Where do they sit within the marketplace and who are their competitors. I then move on to ask whether there are any existing colour palettes I should be using or guidelines I should be following.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

There’s no magical answer to this. With the level of resource material available online I can’t imagine anyone not getting inspired in some form. From tutorial sites, to blogs, to guys on Twitter. Just google a few words and explore. Pop into your local bookstore if you don’t already have a library of material and thumb through a few books and five minutes will become sixty, trust me. Understand how others approach a specific project. Use your eyes when you’re out and about. Most importantly I would say is talk to individuals outside the creative zone as the more you understand people the closer you may get at achieving your goals. Nature is also a big influence, the colours, the organic shapes and textures. The more you look around and take note the more you will find to be inspired by.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

The original brief for Darnmore had a very tight budget attached to it and I was called in by a small marketing agency to provide the creative resource. They had already discussed ideas between themselves (agency and end client) and were adamant that the end result should include three trees, I’m not sure why but they had in turn scribbled down on a piece of scrap paper.

A few variations of this idea were provided for them to view. But for me it didn’t do anything, that’s not to say they looked bad, the concept just wasn’t original enough. I began playing with the ‘D’ as you would and the idea of sustainability and the tree rings seemed to work. The end result, the original ideas they liked. The final idea, I was told their eyes lit up. I couldn’t ask for a better response.

Is it my best logo ever? I hope not but the clients’ response was enough on this occasion.

Leighton Hubbell Logo

Hurried Chef Logo

Leighton Hubbell – Illustrative Designer

Name: Leighton Hubbell
Company:
Leighton Hubell (Blog)
Twitter:
@leightonhubbell

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

I love the immediacy of the medium most of all. A direct impression of a company or service is developed in the viewer’s mind from the moment it’s seen. I think that’s the challenge in the craft–creating that impression with a small symbol and/or typeface. All types of design variables come into play in a single image–concept, color, type, contrast, style, illustration. After the logo is created, it comes to life in the identity design when additional elements complete the overall package. The logo itself cannot work alone.

I never started out thinking I would be a logo designer. My career just kind of evolved into the specialty. Early on, I was often recruited into helping redesign existing campaigns which in many cases involved a complete identity makeover. I would be asked to contribute my rough logo concepts in with the others and soon found that my work was the chosen direction more and more often. After literally thousands of logos later, here we are.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

First and foremost there needs to be a concept driving the design. Without a concept, it’s just decoration. It needs a reason to live. From there, the concept drives the use of either a mark or mark/type solution in the logo design. It should communicate to the viewer what the company or service does and do that quickly and efficiently.

A good logo should also be able to work in various sizes flawlessly and read well in a black & white format. There is too much reliance today on lots of modeling, gradients and other accoutrements in the design. With the huge amount of different applications a logo could be potentially applied to, this is often overlooked and readability suffers. Most of all, with any good piece of comedy, music, writing or design, there needs to be a visceral connection with its audience to really be successful.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

It could be anything really. Most of all, I ask the client lots of questions about everything from the company history to appropriateness of certain colors. If possible, I try to get a tour of their company, meet the employees and most of all, talk with any business partners. I try to make my role in the process much more than a designer, but more of a marketing and design partner. I really try to immerse myself into their world and try to glean as much new information I can. Even things they aren’t talking to me about, such as the lobby, the product or service itself and how they perform it.

From there, I continue my research on their current and potential competitors. After that, I can determine which directions would be appropriate and begin conceptualising and sketching.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

There are many of them that I am very proud of, so that’s a rather difficult decision. One that is very popular in my portfolio is the design for The Hurried Chef. It’s a logo for a ‘take and make’ meals concept restaurant. The meals are pre-prepared and ready to take home—just heat them up and serve them to your family. The menu offerings and their preparation are just like a traditional home cooked meal.

The concept came from the way in which families are always pressed for time with all of the activities everyone is committed to. The Hurried Chef menu and the term ‘comfort food’ gave me the inspiration for the retro cookbook-style pot, color and steam swirls. So, making it into a clock face showing 5 o’clock melded the two concepts together to create the mark you see here. The typeface choice is current and quirky, yet it works with the style of the visuals. Overall, it was very well received.

Share Your Logo Love!

Let’s keep this group interview going by passing it over to YOU!

Are you a designer? Do you specialize in creating logos? If so, we’d love to hear from you…

  1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?
  2. What elements to you consider essential to any good logo?
  3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

Of course, it goes without saying that I’d like to say a big Thank You to all of the designers who participated in this interview! Your responses are incredibly informative, and the logos that you’ve shared are inspirational in and of themselves!

Posted in Interviews, Logo Design DiscussionComments (20)

13 Logo Designers Share Their Love of Logo Design (Part 1)

13 Logo Designers Share Their Love of Logo Design (Part 1)

So much rides on a logo – it embodies the vision and drive behind a company. It speaks volumes as to who the company is and what they stand for. A company’s logo should be a consistent force behind it’s brand.

Now, I’ll be honest – as a web designer, creating logos never came as easily to me as creating web sites. Although designing logos in particular is not my strong suit, I do however, know what it’s like to have a love for the type of design that you do.

Regardless of whether you design logos, web sites, print pieces, etc. a common thread is that you are envisioning a look and feel for a company, and bringing that design to fruition. Better yet, as a professional designer, being able to create a career out of something that you have a passion for is truly a wonderful thing.

While logos are not my strong suit, fortunately there are MANY talented people who practically live and breath logos. I have nothing but respect for this particular breed of designer who specializes almost entirely on creating miniature pieces of identity for companies all over the world.

I myself find it inspiring to see the thought process behind other designers – to find out what they feel is most important for their particular type of design. Even better is to find out what inspires them to be as creative as they can be.

I’ve asked thirteen designers to share with us a bit about their process of designing logos – why the love it so much, which elements are most important, and where they draw their inspiration from…

The interviews that follow serve as a great place for other logo designers to come back for finding their own inspiration. And if you aren’t a designer, but are in the market for someone to create an identity for your company – here is a great pool of talented designers to choose from!

Find part 2 of this series here.

Always Creative Logo

Always Creative Logo

Always Creative

Name: Roby Fitzhenry
Company: Always Creative
Twitter: @robyfitzhenry

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

I love the strength a 1″x1″ piece of art can have. A good logo or identity not only embodies the company or organization and its brand, but it also stands the test of time. I decided to specialize in logo design because I love evaluating a company, its market and the current state of its brand. I can then utilize this research to create a look that is simple, straightforward and honest.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

It has to work in black and white and degrade flawlessly. I know the use of a facsimile isn’t what it used to be, but there is still something so important about this to me. I also like logos that tell a story or have a story to them. I may not automatically know what it means, but if there is something to learn about the mark that is revealed, it adds a significant amount of substance. It makes it more human. I’ve also recently become extremely interested in flexible logos that can change as they are used. Some even refer to this as an “anti-brand,” a logo design that doesn’t follow traditional standards and basically keeps your attention. That seems to be the direction in which more youthful, bold companies are moving.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

Nothing inspires me more than having a face-to-face meeting with the stakeholders. Once I have the project locked down and all parties are ready to move, I take a two-week period in which I let the identity simmer in my subconscious. Sometimes, the idea hits you immediately. Other times, you have to let it break out of its shell and show itself. What inspires me most is an established set of parameters, or project restrictions, paired with complete creative freedom within those boundaries. It also really helps the quality of the end product if I know the client trusts me. That is always very, very exciting. Other inspirations that help me generate ideas include brainstorming sessions with my creative friends (especially Eric Downs and Chris Pitre), reading a good design book or magazine and a tasty brew.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

I think the best logo I’ve ever design for a client would be the Fibertown logo, which will be published in LogoLounge Vol. 5. This is a huge honor for me because I’m only 25 and having my work published has been a dream since day one. This logo is also successful because the client already had a great wordmark, which you can see in the design. I wanted to build on their story and help differentiate them from their competitors. This simple sketch was loved by the client and was approved almost instantaneously. The funny thing is that they didn’t even request it. An idea just hit me. I sketched it out, made some refinements, and then pitched it to the client. Some call that spec work. In this situation, I’d call it a successful experiment that employed my creativity and served the client’s brand.

Audacia Logo

Audacia Communication Logo

Audacia Comunicación

Name: Claudia Medellín
Company: Audacia Comunicación
Twitter: @klaudia_medeyin

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

I love design – specifically logo design because it is extremely important for an enterprise. It is the visual extract of all that the enterprise/organization/product/service/place/whatever is.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

It has to be original, simple to understand and remember, and it has to show the personality of what it represents.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

The personality of what is going to be represented by the logo. So, we have to define the brand before we create the logo. We need to use words to define the personality, images (we can cut some pictures from magazines), types, colors.

Something that I like to do is to project how the organization is going to be in 5 years. If you know how and where you want to be in 5 years, you will easily achieve your goals if you get the look. And the logo is a basic for the image.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

Musikines is one of my first clients. Musikines is an early stimulation method with music for kids, created by Pablo Mondragón. The name is the conjunction of the word “music” and “kinestecia” (from the latin word: corporal movement).

We needed a logo that expressed movement, childhood, and music. The type is a kidish style that has movement. The letter “k” was transformed into a kid with extended arms, like they are waking up and happy, full of energy. The kid is the center of attention. The last letter “s” was transformed into a guitar, the main instrument to make the music for the classes. The usage of the colors is fresh and energetic.

DepthSkins Logo

Depth Skins Client Logo

Depthskins Design Studio

Name: Damian Madray
Company: Depthskins Design Studio
Twitter: @depthskins

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

As a team, Srdjan Kirtic (Brand Designer) and I (Creative Director) love the same things about logo design. We love the process and the challenge it brings and are always excited to see what we learn on the way. It may seem straightforward to most, but with any good process there’s a lot of research – whether it be the industry, the company it’s for or its competitors. There’s also brainstorming through hundreds of sketches and looking for inspiration in everything relevant you come across. On one project I remember Srdjan saying, “Dude, I dreamed about this logo last night.” This in a way showed how dedicated he was to the project. The beautiful thing about logo design is the long, convoluted process we go through which often brings us to something that’s simplistic in every way.

As the creative director, I don’t specialize in logo design, in fact, it’s not my specialty. But certain innate qualities of mine help steer the logo in a direction that I think is right and pleasing to the client. I also really love the process. With Srdjan, he didn’t choose this field, it chose him and is the most amazing thing in his life.

The key aspect about our team is that we have someone who does everything logo and another who works across the spectrum of design. This dynamic trait allows us to bring different perspectives to the project. Working as a team makes us justify our design choices because design is not about making things pretty but rather communicative forms. This is especially true in logo design.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

Simplicity. It’s not a design element per se but it should be treated as one in this media of design, simply because the best logos are often simple and smart. For instance, the other day Brightkite’s logo stood out to me as I used the iPhone app. I admired where the designer used the ‘i’ in kite to be the tail of the kite. While on the flip side, the kite was the dot in the ‘i’. Simple, smart and effective. So it doesn’t matter what element you use to achieve that in a logo, as long those characteristics are there.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

Inspiration comes in many forms and places for both of us and depends on the project. For Srdjan, he uses many online galleries such as deviantART, logolounge, faveup, logopond, etc. From time to time I often have to provide Srdjan with a flow of inspiration so I choose to browse books specifically dedicated to logos, such as Tres Logos.

Those are the obvious places to look for inspiration but depending on the client and industry we would look for inspiration there. For instance, if we’re creating a logo for a zoo, the best place of inspiration is the zoo. Another example is a project we worked on that was related to science and DNA. Afterward we found ourselves carefully looking at images of the DNA strand to see how we could be inspired.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

Ecoelectrons helps its customers reduce their carbon footprints by supplying Renewable Energy Credits. This logo took inspiration from atoms, the basis of the universe of which all objects are made. Since Ecoelectrons model is about saving the Earth, the basis of life, we tried to bring relation between the two to show that modern life can exist without the Earth perishing. As a result we took the common illustration of protons, neutrons and electrons around the nucleus and integrated into the logo. Instead of the 3 parts of the atom, we replaced it with leaves, elements from Earth (Mother Nature) while the ‘e’ in ‘eco’ took the part of the necleus.

DivVoted

DivVoted Logo Client

DivVoted

Name: Wez Maynard
Company: DivVoted
Twitter: @wezmaynard

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

Logo design, for me, has always been about the relationship between myself and the client. Branding was a huge part of my design education and i found the opportunity to translate what a client requires into a brand identity was a very rewarding process. I knew fairly young that I was going to work within the design/illustration arena – and gained a lot of weekend work at a young age because of it.

I wouldn’t say logo design was my specialty as i enjoy illustration and web design equally as much – and I’ve found these three core strengths have helped me gain clients I would have otherwise maybe missed out on. The rewarding thing for me is each logo brief is a challenge, that once undertaken can allow you to experiment in ways that other mediums wouldn’t necessarily allow.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

My favorite logo’s have always been ones that are less about the appearance – but more about the idea behind it. Great artworkers are pretty easy to find, its the people who have that spark of wit, or imagination that are as rare as the proverbial rocking horse faeces.

A great example of what i mean can be found in a re-work of the IBM logo (eye bee m), brilliantly devised and created by Paul Rand for an in house IBM event.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

I have now and I guess always will be inspired by found type and imagery. I keep a moleskin with me all the time, if I’m out and see, for instance, a dilapidated old shop with old posters all over it – and a few of the posters are merging into each other creating new layout/imagery, I’ll take a snap and do a little sketch. The picture for posterity and a sketch of exactly whats going through my head at the time. This, was my Sunday afternoon!

I’m also hugely inspired by other designers – logo and other mediums. The best inspiration comes from individuals who really push the boundaries and are afforded the freedom to push their creativity. It can be hard to be as expressive as you’d like in every design, but there’s always someone else who has just launched a fantastic new website, or released a tutorial on how they created their latest logo masterpiece. I salute you!

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

Its hard to push my ‘best’ design – I mean to each client they were special to them, and indeed for me – for the most part. But I guess one of the first logo’s I did that was printed was very special.

I was 19 and a boss of mine was leaving our work place and setting up his own company. He asked me, on a freelance basis, to create the brand and stationary for his new company, Blueprint Watersports. The brief was simple, it had to be memorable, relevant and only use 2 colors because of budget and usage issues.

The client had an image of a couple walking along a beach, and behind them from their resort – a flag with the Blueprint Watersports logo would be flying. I guess he saw this as a potential press advert in the future. But it was through this story I put the pieces of the logo together. The foot symbolizing walking in the sand and memories. With the swirl giving the logo the watersports element of the design.

I know its not the most refined logo that has ever been – but it was probably the first time an idea formed in my head without any research or sketching.

Glitschka Logo

Glitschka Client

Glitschka Studios

Name: Von Glitschka
Company: Glitschka Studios
Twitter: @vonster

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

For me logo design is like solving a design crime. There is the initial encounter with the old logo/branding (Crime Scene) and the various suspects involved. I have to do a proper, upfront investigation to get all the evidence in order to solve the case successfully. Working through ideas is like going through evidence and doing research until you stumble upon that key piece of evidence (Unique Idea) that breaks the case wide open and spawns an “ah ha” moment.

I never set out to be a logo designer – I just set out to do creative work and it turned out to be the specific genre of work I enjoyed most, and which demands the use of my two creative loves “Design” and “Illustration.”

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

The ultimate measure is it’s effectiveness in context of the overall brand. This is why even bad logos can work at times. (Google) Then again I’ve seen well crafted logos in context of a bad brand experience and it’s failed too. In and of itself I feel a great mark will contain at least 2 of these 3 key attributes:

  • Concept – Whether overt or subtle, literal or metaphoric, clever or humorous, possessing this on some level is the acid test of a skillful creative mind.
  • Style – Appropriate for the client/project purpose and target audience. This applies to both form and color.
  • Clarity – Of course this attribute is only achieved with the other two are done correctly.

So a logo with a solid concept and style will possess clarity and be more then a good mark, it’ll be a great mark. Easier said then done.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

I take in all the variables I glean from a client and my process and let them slowly boil in my mind. Once the ideas start to form is when I begin to sketch. Sometimes inspiration comes from seemingly mundane sources, others times it’s something I see, hear or even smell. So I guess in the most general of terms it’s living a “Creatively Curious Life” that inspires me the most.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

In all honesty I can’t really say I have a favorite. I tend to enjoy the current work I’m doing and as time progresses I get sick of my own past work pretty fast. So with that in mind I’ll share a current job for Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, where I’m happy with the results.

Share Your Logo Love!

Let’s keep this group interview going by passing it over to YOU!

Are you a designer? Do you specialize in creating logos? If so, we’d love to hear from you…

  1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?
  2. What elements to you consider essential to any good logo?
  3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

Of course, it goes without saying that I’d like to say a big Thank You to all of the designers who participated in this interview! Your responses are incredibly informative, and the logos that you’ve shared are inspirational in and of themselves!

Find part two here.

Posted in Interviews, Logo Design DiscussionComments (33)

How To Use Colour In Logo Design To Effectively Communicate The Right Message

How To Use Colour In Logo Design To Effectively Communicate The Right Message

When studying colour theory we are given an understanding of the colour wheel and the harmonious relationships that can be forged between these brothers of reflecting light… It is here that we are given a cheat sheet on how to use colour effectively to communicate the right message.

Below we use this knowledge to go behind the scenes of colour theory in logo design while looking at various case studies of logo designs that use these principles. Enjoy.

The Colour Wheel – Our Cheat Sheet.

Colour Wheels

This wheel, that shows the relationships of colours, is a handy little tool to understand. Without going into any great detail of how the colours of the wheel are established (which is pretty interesting to know), we’ll just tip or toes into the water.

The panels that have an outline above, with their linking lines, show the relationships colours have. For example, complementary colours are the colours directly opposite each other. In our illustration above (the first wheel highlights the relationship), red and green are directly opposite, so they’re complementary. Just as the blue on the left and the yellow on the right are complementary, the orange and light blue, and so on.

These aren’t the be-all and end-all of colour combinations obviously, but they’re good places to start when choosing what colours you might want to use for a project. As you’ll see in the following examples, sometimes you might use three out of four tetrad colours, or go for an analogous harmony but stretch it out one more and skip one.

The wheel is our simple guide into the world of colours – something to use when you find yourself in a place of bother, or something you may choose to ignore. With that in mind, sometimes one may decide to ignore the wheel, but work with colour meanings and psychology instead. It should be noted that it isn’t exactly a science. Ask a hundred people what red means and you’ll likely get dozens upon dozens of different answers – none wrong. But again, it’s a great starting point and gives you insight into how your audience may instinctively perceive something you’ve put together.

Colour Meanings & Theory

Colour can make or break a design so it is vital that you know what colours mean and what they can communicate. Below are some ‘meanings’ of colour. [Source]

  • Red evokes aggressiveness, passion, strength and vitality
  • Pink evokes femininity, innocence, softness and health.
  • Orange evokes fun, cheeriness and warm exuberance.
  • Yellow evokes positivity, sunshine and cowardice.
  • Green evokes tranquility, health and freshness.
  • Blue evokes authority, dignity, security and faithfulness.
  • Purple evokes sophistication, spirituality, costliness, royalty and mystery.
  • Brown evokes utility, earthiness, woodsy-ness and subtle richness.
  • White evokes purity, truthfulness, being contemporary and refined.
  • Gray evokes somberness, authority, practicality and a corporate mentality.
  • Black evokes seriousness, distinctiveness, boldness and being classic.

Visa – Complementary

Visa Complementary

This is a great place to start. This is as straight as it can be – direct complementary colours, no ifs, no buts. Yellow is directly opposite blue, so there isn’t a lot to talk about in this regard really, other than the yellow is a little orange, but let’s not too picky. Let’s have a look at the meaning of the colours.

Visa WheelBlue is a colour often associated with trust, loyalty, royalty, friendliness, wisdom and peace. It can also be associated with the less noble feelings such as depression, but given the context, not an association easily made—especially with our optimistic, wealthy and joyful yellow sitting calmly on the shoulder of the logo.

Remember, colours have a multitude of different meanings for different people – it’s all about context and the brand as a whole.

Wisdom, wealth and trust — what more could one ask for from a company at whom we throw wads of cash?


Samarra – Tetrad.

Image

Samarras WheelWhen it comes to tetrads, things can get a little dicey. Giving four colours equal footing is risky business, so it’s often better to have dominant colours and weaker colours – the Samarra’s logo is a good example of such a situation.

Our two dominant colours dance together as a perfect complementary pair, with the two others giving them a little support as minor players.

This isn’t exactly a perfect tetrad – our two minors are complementary to one another, but not perfect partners for the two majors in regard to a tetrad. They’re close, but off by one panel. The lighter orange is closer to red on our colour wheel and the blue is closer to green. In fact, the major colours are a little off as well, but being tints, we’ll give them a little room to move to help explain the harmony. It is a great example of taking colour theory as a base on which to work from but not necessarily to hold as gospel.


McDonalds – Loosely Analogous.

Image

How could I possibly write on colours in branding without making mention of one of the most effective uses of colour in history? No one short of the Nazis, terrifyingly enough, has managed to use a combination of colours in such a recognizable and powerful way.

McDonalds WheelWhen I was younger I saw a documentary in which the McDonalds logo was discussed. I particularly remember a man making mention of the feeling that the red and yellow evokes – hunger. At the time, this idea fascinated me for at least a moment as I remember wondering how that could even be. Being a child, I probably put it down to magic or elves or.. something. It’s fun being a kid. Flash forward however many years and we have Wikipedia, with, under it’s entry for colour psychology; “Studies show that red can have a physical effect, increasing the rate of respiration and raising blood pressure; red also is said to make people hungry.” So maybe not elves after all.

Red can understandably cause a feeling of hunger—it’s the colour of the flesh, blood and health – maybe it isn’t only a modern day thing, maybe it’s an evolutionary association we have? Red also cues thoughts of speed, which is what fast food chains pride themselves on.

Then there’s the yellow. Again, Wikipedia informs us that yellow is the colour of joy and happiness, sociability and friendship. With their focus on children on the playground and friends grabbing a quick bite whenever out, yellow seems like an obvious choice. If you can associate your business with being part of any outing routine, you’re doing something right.

Ironically, while this combination has undoubtedly influenced many, many fast food chains, it’s also the colours of danger, death and panic – although some do think of these when eying the golden arches. There is an example further down of how pre-existing connections can be ignored, with the FedEx logo.

Or, you know, it’s just ketchup and mustard.


Koloroo – Tetrad.

Image

This is a fantastic combination of colours – they scream Australia. Sunburnt deserts, beautiful beaches, nature and sun – it doesn’t get much more Australian than that. Symbolism: check.

Koloroo Wheel

Light colours that overlay and dance with one another in the shape of one of our treasures. If you’ll notice, the red of the head and feet of Skippy contrast well with the light blue that dresses the name. If the colours were in reverse order within the illustration, this one might have come off as tacky – looking as if the intent were to have the colours graduate between the illustration and the text. Not a great look in my opinion – might even have looked like a printing error. The contrast shows a deliberate thought of how the illustration and the text would interact with one another visually.

As for harmony? Simple – it’s a perfect tetrad.


9Rules – Complementary with a slide.Image

From red to green, from flame to flora. And an interesting use of complementarily harmonious colours.

9Rules WheelRed and green are perfect complementary colours, with all those between in our logo hitting almost all other colours (in a 12 panel colours wheel) between them. A lovely use of riding the spiral of colours in an effort to evoke passion (the red), growth (the graduation of size and change in colours being in step) while representing nature (the leaf) and gentleness – not often the feeling one gets from a technology company.

It’s often good to go against the grain, as I found with the next logo.


FedEx – Kinda, sorta, analogous.Image

Orange and purple are analogous at best – you know, if you skip a couple of steps and make your purple closer to blue than red. But colour harmony isn’t the reason these players has been brought to the grounds today. No, it’s because of the power they have together through the strength of the branding used by this shipping giant.

FedEx WheelColour harmony theory might not work in favor of this combination, and nor does colour psychology to any great extent, no matter how many drops I try to squeeze from various sources around the web.

The colours just work. Neither is weaker than the other, neither one quite what you’d expect from a shipping company. The branding is the opposite of what companies following McDonalds did – it doesn’t go with the expected. It isn’t the standard blue and red of mail delivery.

Choosing the opposite of the norm, going against the standard or expected, helps set a strong contrast between you and them. It helps you stand out. While everyone else might be blue, you’re purple, them red, you orange. Not a great departure from the norm really, but one strong enough to make a difference.


Sports Link – Split Complementary.

Image

Another almost perfect example of colour harmony. Sports Link uses a split complementary.

Sports Link WheelThe symbolism of the colours works well for the client too. The blue symbolises tranquility, trust, coolness, wisdom and mobility. The green; life, nature, spring, youth, good luck and vigor. The red is associated with passion, energy and strength. I don’t want to say perfect, but for a sporting company—well, you’ll excuse me for thinking it might just be.

The colours are light without being too vibrant and shocking, helping ground the company as a serious business. This combination of colours is one you could probably easily find on anything that is aimed at children, from movie posters to toy packaging. But the subdued, almost subtle colours, gives this logo some feet on the ground.

It all just fits, doesn’t it?

Rules are Made to be Broken

Clearly, the rules that colour harmony lays before us aren’t laws. At best, the are merely guides, to be followed if one chooses, but also ignored or used as nothing more than a starting point. The same can be said of the meanings behind colours. Different cultures see the symbolism of different colours through different eyes. Different, different, different. But this isn’t a bad thing by any means.

Red and blue were traditional colours for mailing, then FedEx came along. McDonalds set a standard in using red and yellow for the fast food industry. This is where the beautiful spark of creative thinking starts to ignite. Nothing is set in stone. It use to be that light blue was the colour of girls, and pink the colour of boys. Things change.

The designer is in a position of power because of this. If something is considered and understood, then a monumental shift can occur in the result. Just because every other business in your client’s area uses green, it doesn’t mean you need to develop a logo of green. Discover why they use it, their reasoning for it, and see if you can give the same effect with red, or blue or orange.

In closing, it might be best to say that if there were a strong platform on which the mantra ‘to break the rules, you must know them’ can sit upon, then surely it is the platform of colour.

Posted in Logo Design Articles, Online ResourcesComments (95)



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