For many companies, the New Year means time for a new logo. Successful companies such as Microsoft, Starbucks, Pepsi, and Yahoo! took several tries before getting their logo right because creating a logo can be tricky. The company logo should encompass the message you want your company to convey—fun personality, unique products, quick delivery—and therefore takes a lot of effort. You want your logo to be something consumers recognize right away, and unless you’re dealing with a company like Google or IBM, there is still plenty of time to find the right logo.
The good of logo design
Since a logo is so important, many companies enlist the help of a web designer to make sure it’s just right. It is therefore very important that a web designer understands the importance and meaning of a logo. Many company owners may think that creating a logo is nothing more than making sure it looks nice, so it’s important that the web designer understands that there are best practices when it comes to logo design. Because web designers are often found using WordPress and creating websites, this can sometimes be a challenge for a designer. In order to better understand logo design, consider some of the following best practices.
1. Consider the target customers, not just a personal preference. Offer this advice to company owners.
2. Consider the competition and make sure the logo is totally different than what you are designing for a company.
3. How well-known is the current logo? You may not want to change it entirely if there will be any sort of branding issues.
Below illustrates examples of great company logos. You will notice that the NBA logo is something you can recognize easily, the photo expresses what the company is about, it displays the organization’s name, and it’s small and simple. The recycle logo is great because it displays the color of environmental protection and expresses the idea behind the entire company (a cycle). Finally, the Volkswagen logo is interesting because it displays the letters “V” and “W” in a unique fashion. It’s easy to remember at first glance and it has a hint of the company name right there in the letters.
And the bad on logo design
Unfortunately, many companies do not follow best practices when it comes to creating a logo because it seems easy. It’s a small little picture and in many cases it’s just a company name in fancy writing, right? This is the mentality that many new entrepreneurs fall into at first, and for this reason many have had to change their logo throughout the years. It’s important that your company does not:
1. Go with personal preference. You may have been born in the 70’s, but your customers probably laugh at the designs of that entire decade (can you tell I was born in the 90’s?)
2. Change the logo too often. You don’t really have years to pick the right logo. You must work swiftly and then stick with your decision (or at least a variation of it.)
3. There is a different between being simple and being boring. Writing a company name is cool letters doesn’t always work, so try and think outside of the box. If this means you have to hire a designer, you have to hire a designer.
4. Do not create a logo that is too busy or too detailed. This will surely ruin that recognition you are hoping to see.
Consider some of the ways company logos have changed over the years. You will notice that Microsoft appeared to be stuck in the past with the hippie-like design, and Google Chrome’s logo looks a bit too “real.” In other words, it looks more like a detailed piece of art than a simply logo.
A logo that grows and evolves with the company
Once you and the company you are working with have come up with a general idea on the overall message you want the logo to convey, it’s time to consider whether you want to create a symbolic or typographic logo. Consider the differences and how to tell which direction you should take your design.
There are great examples on logo evolution for you to check out, companies that have excelled in carrying out their company’s values into the future, while still being faithful to their corporative identity, and so as their business have grown world wide enterprises so have their corporate logos: evolving never replacing.
“When Apple launched the new iMac in 1998, they changed their logo to a monochromatic apple logo, almost identical to the rainbow logo. Now, the Apple logo comes with nice gradient chrome silver design. It is one of the most recognized brand symbols in the world today, and the shape is what identifies the company more than the color.”
“After 1998, it seems that Pepsi has decided to give the globe more prominence than the script itself. So, the globe came on top of the script in 2003, and in their current logo they have completely eliminated the script altogether.”
“As the brand gained recognition, the company name was dropped from the logo, which made it more simplistic and memorable. The company has different variations of this logo for its various departments like Skate, Soccer etc.”
“The name of the search engine is derived from Googol (meaning one followed by 100 zeros). Google’s first logo was created by Sergey Brin, after he taught himself to use the free graphic software GIMP. Later, an exclamation mark mimicking the Yahoo! logo was added. In 1999, Stanford’s Consultant Art Professor Ruth Kedar designed the Google logo that the company uses today.”
“Again, like other companies, Kodak decided to simplify their logo in 1996, and removed the boxes. The red color gives a more brighter and structured feel of the company. In 2006, again a slight variation was made in the logo with a rounded ‘a’ and ‘d’, to give a contemporary look.”
(image descriptions extracted from the article “Logo Evolution” posted on http://missedinfo.com)
And as the good rise and become stronger,there are others that have struggled to achieve this logo evolution without sacrificing their company values, or in the worst cases even general and universal esthetic, and have ended with an awful looking logo design or just a “prettier version” of their first logo without ever making a big change to the design. So dare to design beyond common knowledge to avoid ending up with a logo stuck in time as others have:
First, the iTunes has shown to have a pretty slow evolution over the years to get to the current result, which in fact is not all that flattering or simple and doesn’t seem to be an improvement from the previous logo design the old iTunes logo showed a simple CD with a shining musical note ahead of it, It got the point across, it was easily recognizable and related to the product. But then the switch was made to the odd, flat-looking blue bubble with the note inside of it, that’s not slick or sharp.
Is there any other bad logo evolution that comes to mind? …Well if there’s some big company bad logo evolution that you think that we’ve left out, and you’d like us to consider than throw us a comment and some sort of graphic reference and we’ll be happy to include it in the piece!
Up and coming trends in logo design
It’s important to keep in mind some of the best practices (and not-so-great practices) listed above when creating a logo, but following the trends is also a must. The style of logos change from year to year, so it’s a good idea to see what’s working in 2012. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you cannot change your logo every single year, so you want to create something that is timeless, yet follows a few of the current trends. According to logo lounge, there were a few trends that occurred in 2011 that will be out in 2012. Consider some of these trends and whether or not they’re in or they’re out:
Keeping your colors neutral
It seems as for 2012 neutral colors will be the boom, so we’ll be seeing a lot of colors like brown and grey, this being the strong neutral color of the year. So pick the soft blues, greens, and pinks for your up coming web designs and you wont go wrong, and stay away from the strong color pallets that include dark colors like black and brighter colors such as reds and oranges. Basically in color it will be about keeping it simple for 2012.
do it this way…
and not this way…
3D Shape it!
Stay away from thick outlines, 2D shapes and small shapes that could easily fit into a square template in logo design, and embrace for 2012: shapes that give the consumer an airy feel with thin outlines or none at all, anything that gives a 3D feel, and larger shapes that “break the barrios” of the typical square feel.
and what’s not…
Type your logo
These types of logos are generally the preferred logos for companies because they are easiest. You do not have to work hard to make sure people associate your logo with your company because the associate will be right there in the logo itself. Consider some of the times when a typographic logo is best:
Lesser-Known Company:If you’re creating the very first company logo for someone just starting a small business, it’s usually a good idea to go the typographic route. A pretty picture isn’t going to do much for consumers if they have no idea the name of the company. After all, consumers need to know what to type into Google to find the company, and they can’t type in a picture.
Short Name: This type of logo works well if the company name is short (generally less than eight characters). This will give you as the designer room to create something visually unique while still remaining small enough to be considered a logo.
Unique Name: If the company you are working for has an extremely catchy or unique company name, you should use this to your advantage in your logo.
There are many companies that are taking part in this up and coming trend in logo design, and that have cared to take their typographic logos to the next level by creating totally unique and creative company symbolism, that makes a print on the consumer mind, here we’ve summed up some great examples for you guys to check out as inspiration:
What about symbolic logos?
Using a symbolic logo works best when you can pair it with the name of the company for a few months. This is something that you as the web designer will need to work out with the marketing department, but most will agree that simply throwing out a cute little picture isn’t going to do anything. It has to be connected with the company in some way, so it’s best to pair it with the company name until the brand grows large enough it can stand on its own. This is generally more difficult, but it is necessary when you’re dealing with certain types of companies:
Established Company: If you are working with a fairly established company, then a symbolic logo could work. You do not want to rebrand the company, but if the company has a loyal following of customers they may be able to make the transition from typographic to symbolic.
Long Name: Long company names simply won’t make a memorable typographic logo. The idea is to get consumers to remember the logo, and a long name won’t do the trick.
Generic Name: If the company has a boring or common sounding name, such as Smith and Associates, you’re better off creating a symbolic logo. Once again, the goal of a logo is to create something unique. You can’t change the name of the company, but you can surely leave it out of your logo design.
Group of Brands: Symbolic brands are necessary if your company has a few different brand names. You could create a separate logo for each brand name, but you’ll definitely want to have one symbolic logo to unite all the brands.
There are several major companies that have used symbolic logos over the years to connect with their costumers so they identify to a companies’ values through a hidden message incorporated in the logo design without them even knowing it. Here are some great examples of worldwide established companies that have used this logo design technique, and are now immediately recognized by the masses with just a simple glimpse to their company logo:
The white space between the ‘E’ and the ‘X’ forms a perfect arrow, suggesting a company moving forward and looking ahead. It’s subtle, but now it’s all I see whenever the logo appears.
Did you ever notice the arrow from ‘A’ to ‘Z’ in the Amazon logo? The thought is that Amazon carries everything from… well you know the rest Some say it also forms a slight smiley face…
The BR in the Baskin Robbins logo is made of two colours. When you focus on just the pink portion, the number 31 appears, denoting the number of flavours Baskin Robbins offers!
The Tour de France logo actually contains the image of a cyclist which can be seen in the letter ‘R’, with the orange circle symbolizing the front tire.
The black is the letter “F” and there’s a “1″ in the negative space.
You might want to remember…..
You and I both know that web designers specialize in designing just that—websites and webpages. However, companies see a web designer as someone who understands every type of design out there including logos. For this reason, it is important that a web designer knows when to go the typographic route and when to have a little bit more fun with a symbolic logo. Color and shape trends will also help make sure your logo is current and easy to recognize. Some worry that following the trends will make their logo blend in, but there are other ways that you can make your logo stick out without having to shock people. Consider some of the tips above and I think you’ll find that a good web designer can create something that is easy to remember and still relevant.
Most company owners will have an opinion and should be kept in the loop, but it’s important that you can explain these differences to web designers to make sure they get the perfect logo for their company. Do you have any other tips about logo design? How did your logo come to be what it is today?