There are numerous misunderstandings related to the concept of a ‘Logo’. And I will not write this article assuming my expertise on the matter. Although, the content is based on my interpretations of many books and interactions with various designers, entrepreneurs and other people.
Logo for the customers?
Your customers buy what you sell them. You showcase the logo with confidence, they will buy it. They will not want to know what made you decide the design. They will have their own assumptions and theories. You can try to be safe by keeping within the pre-decided borders. Or you can try to be remarkable by deciding your own boundaries.
Starbucks Coffee changed their ‘siren with her legs wide open’ logo to a more socially acceptable mermaid-like lady who is visible strictly waist-up. If you don’t offend yet make your audience notice the design, you might have done a good job.
Design from whose point-of-view?
A logo stands for the company- its values, principles and policies. It cannot be what the customer wants it to be. On the other hand, it is the company’s job to make itself more relevant to the target customer segment. As long as the logo signifies what the company stands for, you don’t have to worry about customer’s taste. If you are truly being remarkable, the customer might just fall in love with your ‘quirky’, if at all, logo and sport its’ tees!
When does size matter?
One of the highly admired contemporary artists once told me, that a perfect logo is when the size does not matter. It should look great on a 10×20 feet banner. And it should look amazing on a 2×5 inches bookmark. If you make it unreasonably intricate, making the logo small hurts its visibility. If you make it very plain and obvious, the huge image might get disturbing for those with weak hearts.
Stepping into shoes is important? Or is the outsider’s perspective?
Stepping into shoes is important when you are not talking about marketing strategies. A designer should always know the core management team, the company and its goals. The designer should design as if he understands the company, and it is best if he does. Many Founders/CEOs might have the sense to approve or disapprove. But most of them are not designers. Understand what they’re trying to say and create art. Asking them deeper questions might not result in anything valuable, might result in their frustration. They might have hired you so that you add your perspective to what they say. Or not. It is essential that you clear that out.
Keep in mind:
- Your logo, especially if relevant to the customers, should look good in color as well as in black & white tones.
- It should look good in low-quality surface prints too.
- Avoid using color tones to distinguish, they lose all relevance with change in size or print.
- Try to uncomplicate. Your logo should be easy to sketch, hand-paint and the like.
Are you an Expert? Will you ever be?
You might blow your own trumpet and claim to be an expert purely because you have designed many logos and people have paid you for it. But for people who know what they’re doing, you might be a fool for doing so. There is no good design or bad design. However, there is always a good/bad design ‘for the situation’.
You can be an expert in being empathetic. The key is not in designing unique stuff, the key is in understanding people and the companies they have built. The expertise is based on your insights and that reflects in your design. You need to be flexible, open, unassuming, someone who constantly learns and unlearns proper stuff. You need to be, yes again, empathetic to what people are saying. That is being an expert, here.
Yeah, there are many. So its best if you dont listen to people and do your own thinking. Get like-minded folks around you and kick ass.
Sushrut Munje: Founder at Hammer & Mop™. Co-Founder at Simple! Magazine™. In love with efficiency and animals. Passionate about startups, a good swim, poetry, food, coffee, books, art, treks, travel, history, cinema, cycling and everything there is to know.