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4 Critical Logo Design Details You May Be Forgetting About

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4 Critical Logo Design Details You May Be Forgetting About


Goldfish

You probably have a check list, at least in your mind, of what goes into making a good logo design. You may know how to design a logo and you’ve probably studied some of the greats however are you forgetting these four critical factors when you design your logos?

Below are 4 logo design tips for areas that are often overlooked in logo design:

  • Ownership marks
  • Anchor point clean up
  • Colour functionality
  • The correct files

Does the logo need an ownership mark?

Especially if you’re doing a logo for a product or service that belongs to a particular brand, they may require you to put some kind of mark on it indicating its ownership: a registered mark ®, a trademark ™ or a service mark ?. On that note you may want to read up on copyright issues in logo design.

logo-tm

If the logo you are creating requires one of these, work it into the design as the Multimediums example above, don’t just tack it on at the end. First you have to decide if you want to use the same font as you have for the rest of the logo or would a more plain sans serif be better?

Then kern the mark close to the other text or the image in the logo. Baseline adjust it so that it looks like it belongs in the design. You may even consider knocking it out of a solid color area of the logo, like in the Weaver logo above.

What does the logo look like larger?

You know that you have to make sure the logo will work at smaller sizes, but have you considered that your logo might need to be blown up to fit on a billboard or tradeshow exhibit someday? Creating professional logos isn’t just about how good it looks, it’s also about how functional it is technically.

logo-paths

Zoom in as close as you can and check to make sure there’s no funny stuff going on with anchor points or handles (divots, extraneous points and the like). You may not notice these details when it’s small, but blow the logo up and they’ll be the first things your eye is drawn to.

Will the chosen colors work?

Sometimes the client will tell you what the corporate colors are, but if you get to decide, choose colors that will match a variety of applications. Some colors are too neutral in their value (yes, value, not hue) and either don’t stand out very well or don’t match well with most other colors.

logo-pms300

PMS300, for example, is an often used color for logos, but I’l tell you from personal experience that it is a very difficult color to work with and I end up using the pure black or knockout (white) version of the logo instead! You have to consider how colors work for more applications than just the stationary system you may create to go with the delivery of the logo.

Do you have four high quality files ready to give the client?

Deliver high quality files to your clients includes taking into account all the ways the logo might be used. Create a spot color-based file, a pure CMYK (i.e. no spot colors!) file, a pure black and a pure white (knockout) file. That’s four files total that you should deliver to a client every time. You can tell if you’re using a spot (aka Pantone or PMS) color, a spot color converted to a process (CMYK) color or a pure process color by looking at the Color Swatches palette.

logo-swatches

Clean up these files, too. Go into the Color Swatches palette and delete any extra color, gradient or pattern swatches that weren’t used in the actual logo. You can also delete extra brushes and graphic styles to further clean up the file.

You may want to add this to your check list of what makes a good logo:

  • How is the ownership mark incorporated?
  • Does the logo reduce and enlarge as expected?
  • Will the chosen colors work in most contexts?
  • Do the files have the technical flexiblity for any possible use?

So are these things that you’ve thought about before? Do you have any other logo design tips?

Posted in Logo Design Tips, ResourcesComments (40)

Discover The Dot Grid Book For Logo Designers

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Discover The Dot Grid Book For Logo Designers


Last week I got my first dot grid book (& my first moleskine) and I loved it so much I thought I would share this great resource with you.

This dot grid book is great for sketching and finalising logo designs but I think pictures describe it better than words so here are a few pictures of what your missing out on…

You can buy the book from Behance Outfitter for USD$14 or if in Australia, from NoteMaker for $27.95.

Enjoy!

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Perfect for typography and logo design, the lightness of the grid allows clear scanning.

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Spread view of the dot book.

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The dot grid book in use, not sure why they put the orange border there.

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Lines don’t interfere with your work.

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The lightness of the grid allows clear scanning.

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Double perforations for easy removal.

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Double sprial binding.

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The dot grid.

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The cover detail.

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The outside Suede-Touch cover with packaging.

Do you own a dot grid or moleskine book? What are your opinions?

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 (74)

Top 10 Logo Design Inspiration Galleries

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Top 10 Logo Design Inspiration Galleries


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Need logo design inspiration? Below we feature 10 of the best logo design galleries for all of your inspirational needs.

Logo Lounge

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Logo Lounge is the largest and my favourite logo design inspiration gallery… however, it is a paid service. It is $99 a year but it is totally worth it. As a member you can submit your designs to be included in their logo design books and browse all other submitted designs. The search function is by far their strongest point. My highest recommendation.

Logo Pond

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LogoPond is really a community of logo designers… It is a place to share, discuss, get feedback and inspiration for your logo design. Users can select the “View All” gallery to view all the logos submitted to the site.

Logo Of The Day

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Logo Of The Day features a new logo design every day for your inspiration. Users can also suggest a logo to be awarded the Logo Of The Day award. Submissions are judged and are only included if approved by Jacob Cass (myself) & Jeff Fisher. You can also rate logos on a scale of one to five.

Stationery Style

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Stationery Style is a place that features all types of stationery + logo designs. Make sure you make use of the ‘Filter Results’ function hidden away at the top of the page… Click options. This place features logo designs in context so it a great place for inspiration.

Logo Gala

Logo Gala

Logo Gala was started in January and it differs from most other galleries by design and the fact that you can choose logo designs based on colour. They also have a featured logo section with mini interviews and also a blog.

LogoMoose

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Logo Moose is another logo design gallery that gets nearly every day and features only high quality logo designs. It also has a good tagging system in place.

Fave Up

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Fave Up’s site is a bit drag at the moment but the good news is that it is undergoing a redesign and it should be up soon with many new improvements. The site features mostly user submitted designs, however I find that many of the logos are already on Logo Pond. You can also rate the designs.

Logo From Dreams

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Logo From Dreams has been around for a while which means there are a lot of logo designs there for inspiration. They feature a new logo design every day handpicked by the sites owner, Sinisa. They also feature a logo of the month and year.

Identity Archives

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This sit is a bit different in terms of functionality as it is mainly driven by search and key words but it is still very worthy.

Logo Faves

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Logo Faves is just another Logo Design Gallery, nothing special in my opinion as a lot of the logos here are already featured on Logo Pond and the other galleries out there but there are a few gems in there and it is still a worthy site.

Logo Sauce

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Logo Sauce is place where users can showcase their logos however I have to say that the quality here is not as good as the sites suggested above – a lot of it is rubbish left over from design contests. On the upside there is a large range of logos to browse through… though sorting the good from the bad is the hard part.

Even more logo design inspiration galleries:

Have I missed one? Let us know in the comments. What are your favourite galleries?

Posted in Inspiration, Online ResourcesComments (147)



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