Archive for the 'Logo Design' Category
Given the very nature of my job, I go through dozens of logo designs every day, the things I see too much of are derivative and overused logos. Upon further investigation and discussions with other designers, I’ve learned that generally people confuse the two terms. Many designers and project holders think the two terms are one in the same. They are not.
Let’s shed some light on both terms to distinguish one from the other. This post will give you a good understanding of each term as well as where and when they should be used.
Overused Logos – Common and Clichéd
Overused logos are exactly that, overused. These are clichéd design concepts that have been used so often that they portray a dull feel when used. There are symbols for every industry that have been overused by designers through ages. They’ve been used so much that they cannot help a business stand out in today’s market.
When people look at overused symbols in logos they instantly make a connection with something they’ve already seen. For example, the symbols of a scale in a law firm logo or rooftops in real estate logos are just a few examples of overused symbols.
Derivative Logos – Copied and Unoriginal
Derivative logos are based on stock images, clipart or existing logos created by someone else. They are essentially ‘derived’ from an existing design. The designer who creates a derivative logo is basically copying someone else’s design and making a few changes to call it their own.
This is a very common and unproductive practice among new designers. They tend to look at different types of designs to get inspiration and ideas for their projects. Sometimes they see a design they like and take it a step further by making slight modification to it to make it appear unique.
While this approach works and some designers are able to get away with it, it is obvious that it is not a genuine or creative approach. A derivative logo design can lead to trademark infringement and copyright issues for the designer and their client. This will eventually lead to a designer’s bad rep in the long run and blacklist him in the market. With a bad track record, it will be hard for him/her to find design jobs in the future.
I hope that now, the difference between overused logos and derivative logos is much clearer. Overused designs are common but they don’t allow a client to stand out in their market. Derivative designs are simply copied work, which should be avoided. If there is one thing that can be said about both of them, it would be that neither approach should be practiced by graphic designers.
All designs should be original. A truly unique design is an elegant mix of elegance, innovation, uniqueness and ingenuity. All of us at LogoDesignGuru.com would like to stress this and encourage designers to use their imagination. Remember, being unique is worth its weight in gold in this business.
August 30th, 2012
July 4th is a special holiday in the US, as millions of Americans celebrate Independence Day (also known as the 4th of July). It is a day of promise and accomplishment, when proud Americans look towards the future with hope and reflect on their sacrifices with a great pride and perseverance.
Red, white and blue colors are very symbolic to Americans and can be seen everywhere in the days and weeks leading up to Independence Day. From coffee shops to online stores – everyone adds a touch of these colors wherever they can. Some companies even alter their websites and logos during this time to show their American pride. Red, white and blue are the colors of the American flag, but do you know what these colors stand for?
Since the 4th of July is just around the corner, I compiled a collection of logos that utilize the American flag and its colors. I like to call this my American logo collection. Given below is the meaning of each color and some important symbols used in American logos.
Red – Power & Bravery
Some people think the color red in the American flag represents the Native Americans. In truth, red symbolizes mental and physical strength and courage. It is meant to remind Americans that they are tough and their bravery is only surpassed by their ability to stay strong. In more general terms, red is seen as a color of power but it also tends to represent passion, love and attraction.
White – Purity & Innocence
White symbolizes innocence and purity in the American flag. This representation is common amongst most outlets.
Blue – Awareness & Perseverance
In the American flag, blue represents a lot of qualities efficiently and effortlessly. It represents perseverance and a never say never attitude, which translates into the American people’s persistence to ensure justice for all. It’s a commonly liked color and also is seen to symbolize authority, loyalty and professionalism.
Popular Symbols Used In American Logos
The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States of America; it represents the soul of America and its freedom. It is a common image used not only for its symbolism, but also its majestic look and immense strength. Many government organizations, sports teams, national companies and political parties use the American colors and bald eagle in their logos in order to emulate these attributes along with patriotism.
A hawk is also another bird whose symbol is used in many American logos. It has similar qualities as the symbol of the bald eagle. Another common symbol is a bull. A bull represents raw power, strength and loyalty, which is why you see many sports teams and financial companies using it.
The American Flag’s colors and its symbols ultimately represent multiple attributes and features that are also reflected in American logos. They represent USA’s history, its present and can even attempt to predict the future.
We wish you all a very happy 4th of July! Enjoy your celebrations and be safe.
June 29th, 2012
Symbolism is a standard design features that will set an extraordinary logo apart from an ordinary one. They say actions speak louder than words, but when it comes to logos, symbolism speaks volumes.
Today we’ll go over a few symbols, decipher their meaning and see how they were made into a commercial success. We will talk about how symbolism helps a logo stand out as it is an integral component of many famous logo designs.
Distinction Between Symbols & Symbolism
Many people make the mistake of thinking a symbol is the logo itself; that’s not always correct. In fact, a logo is actually a collection of symbols merged together to form a graphic shape. This shape then becomes the symbol for a company (or what it’s representing). You can see how this may be easily confused.
Symbols Impact Humans Visually
The human mind is curious by nature. Our history is full of ancient symbols that we have spent decades deciphering in order to understand the message behind it. Using symbols in a logo design has a similar effect. It invokes the need to determine what the logo symbolizes and stands for.
Utilizing Symbols In Logo Design
A symbol can be anything, but a good symbol will be easily associated with a specific company. The meaning of the symbol will also be easily conveyed. Animals are a great example of symbols within logos.
Take the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) logo for instance. The organization uses the image of a panda to stand for its message of peace and preserving life. People can easily look at the logo and understand the relation of the company to animal welfare. A panda, being a loving and rare animal, also gives the feel of welfare and safety. In the same way, objects can be used in logos to convey a theme and a message. Another example of this is the table lamp in the Pixar logo.
The Target logo utilizes the symbol of a target, including the bulls-eye. The symbol represents a variety of things including precision, aim, goal and win.
Most are familiar with Nike’s logo. Even without the text, the swoosh alone is instantly recognized. The swoosh design has many meanings such as accuracy and speed. The most important meaning being ‘right’ or ‘correct’ as in the right choice, or the right way.
Apple’s logo is another great example of symbolism in logo design. Today this logo symbolizes sleek and innovative Apple products. The apple is a slightly controversial symbol. Many associate it with Newton’s Apple, the forbidden fruit from the ‘Garden of Eden’ or the fruit from the tree of knowledge and so on. Some may see Apple’s logo in a different light, but in the end it stands for knowledge.
The E!TV logo is one of my favorites. It is so simple and unique and its symbolism speaks volumes. The logo is a simple exclamation point and can be taken in a literal sense. Symbolizing excitement, importance and urgency of the news the channel spreads. Gossip and celebrity news tends to be exciting, don’t you think?
To get a better understanding of symbols, graphic designers should browse through brand logos that are internationally recognized. Understanding the client’s niche and industry is also a very vital component of logo design. It can help you create a symbol that the audience can relate to. Symbols are one of the most dynamic tools available to logo designers today. They should be used to create a brand identity for a company, since they go a long way in capturing a target audience with their depth, message and theme.
June 24th, 2012
Logo designing seems to have taken over the political world! With Obama’s logo capturing the attention in the last elections, other political candidates of 2012 campaign appear to have decided to step up the game of their campaign. The logo design competitions begin!
Who said that only companies or businesses can use logos? Logo designs are a representation and an identity. They are a great way to gain public attention and appear to have gained a dynamic momentum at the political front. These can become a very strong factor in branding a candidate.
US Political Logo Designs – Main Factors
The standard colors used for the US political party logos are red, white and blue, which obviously represent the United States and the American flag, while creating the feeling of patriotism. Because of their importance, political logo designs have to be created while keeping in mind all the important rules of logo designing. A political logo can make or break the image of a political candidate!
While some candidates have since dropped out of the running for the presidential nomination, we still wanted to take a look at their logos. With this post, I am covering the current and past competitors of the 2012 presidential race.
Barack Obama’s Logo (D)
This logo tops my list because of its genius design. Designed by Chicago-based agency Sender LLC, it was the flagship symbol for Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. It is one of the most recognized and talked about political logos.
Simple and hopeful, the logo stands for “a new day.” The overall “O” image obviously stands for Obama. The inner, white semi-circle represents a rising sun over the plains (here in red and white). The red, white and blue in the design represent the American flag.
The same image is being reused for Obama’s 2012 campaign, only this time the ‘O’ stands in place of the zero in 2012. It continues to deliver the same hopeful message of change.
Ron Paul’s Logo Design (R)
Classy and simple, Ron Paul’s logo design puts the focus on the candidates name. The “A” in the logo stands for “America” and has the colors of the American flag. The use of Sherif font gives the logo a classic and elegant look.
Jon Huntsman’s Logo Design (R)
This logo stands apart from the rest of the political logos in this post with its unconventional use of black and its modern approach. Simple yet strong, the logo design has stirred up quite a controversy. Some criticize that it is ego-centric and it doesn’t represent patriotism, but rather stands out as a brand name. Many are even calling it a cologne logo lookalike. What do you think?
Herman Cain’s Logo (R)
This political logo has a positive appeal to it and does not seem to be too outlandish or ego-centric. The symbol of torch used in the logo represents openness, respect for the past and a hope for a brighter future. I believe it should have had an elegant font; currently, the symbol stands out more than the candidate’s name itself.
Michele Bachmann’s Logo (R)
Here’s another political logo design subjected to quite a few controversies. Many believe that this logo also pays tribute to a toothpaste squiggle (see one right in the middle?). While others say the red and white design causes confusion between Austria’s and America’s flags. Although the font is simple, the creative use of red and white color stripes fail to inspire.
Mitt Romney’s Logo Design (R)
Romney’s logo design focuses on the candidate’s last name, but doesn’t really seem to do justice to the ‘R.’ While the ‘R’ in the logo stands to create a sense of togetherness, the colors and style have been criticized to look like Aquafresh toothpaste’s squiggle rather than the American flag. It has also been said that the joined ‘EY’ at the end is a bit over dramatic.
Rick Santorum’s Logo (R)
The first thing you notice about this logo is the soaring eagle with the letter ‘O’ behind it, representing the shining sun. The eagle here is the symbol of courage and represents rising high, although some might think as of it as related to the Native Americans (but that is not the case). After all, the bald eagle is the most popular American symbol.
Tell us, what do you think of these political logos? Which of these do you think represent the candidates the best?
April 24th, 2012
New logo designers may be under the notion that the more complicated and colorful a logo design is, the more it will be appreciated. This is one of the first mistakes that can be made. When these designs are used to participate in logo design contests and none of these initial designs are accepted by clients, some are left confused and disappointed.
Amateur logo designers tend to make a few mistakes at first, which can become disastrous for them in the long run. Two other mistakes some designers make is avoiding to learn the basics of design and/or they don’t have a creative design process to follow. In today’s post I’ve decided to educate fellow designers about the 13 critical mistakes that can kill any logo design. Read on to make sure that you are not guilty of these mistakes.
1. Lack of Process & Planning
Very few logo designers spend time doing research about the industry of the client they are working for. Even fewer realize the importance of a creative logo design process. In professional logo designing, research and sketching comes before creating a logo on the computer. Jumping on the computer without sketching and basic planning is a failed design waiting to happen.
2. Neglecting the Essence of Logo
A logo represents the essence of a company, what it stands for and what message it wants to convey to its audience. Be sure to think from a potential customer’s perspective. What would a certain image mean to you? What will your first impression of the logo design be? Focus not only on the design, but on the meaning.
3. Following Trends Blindly
Following all design trends will most likely lead to outdated design concepts. Create designs that can stand the test of time and will look great even a century later. Example: The Coca-Cola logo still looks good a hundred years after its creation.
4. Creating Complicated Designs
Filling your logo design with too many colors and shapes is a big mistake. Simplicity is the best way to go. If you think that creating a complicated design will win you a logo design contest, at times, you are wrong. Simple logos tend to be the most memorable. Want an example? Think of the logos of McDonald’s or Nike.
5. Being a Copy Cat
Are you an inspired designer or a copy cat? Inspiration is when your original idea had influence from things around you, all while keeping in mind the client’s perspective. To be a copy cat means you have copied pieces of another person’s design work. Copying another designer’s concept is dishonest and shows your lack of creativity. Be Original, Be Creative, Be Unique!
6. Using Clichéd Images
Using airplane images for a travel logo design, hammers for construction logos or books for education logos is seen as redundant and clichéd. Try to be innovative. Use special characters, unique metaphors or abstract symbols to create an identity. You don’t want your client’s design to become lost in the crowd.
7. Adding Special Effects
Graphic design expert Jacob Cass says, “If a logo requires color or special effects to make it a strong logo, it’s not a strong logo.”
If your design is strong it will look great in black and white, as well as in full color. Lose the colors and see where your logo stands.
8. Using Clipart & Stock Images
Successful logo designers never use clipart or stock. Clipart images are visually poor and will give the design an unprofessional look. Avoid clipart, stock vector images or anything similar and create your own, custom images. The client will fully appreciate your design’s individuality.
9. Typography Issues
Using the wrong font and inappropriate style can ruin a perfectly good design. In a logo design, the typography has to be industry specific. Otherwise the meaning could be completely lost. For instance, using Comic Sans for a law firm logo has more of a childish feel, it does not portray a serious, successful and professional law firm.
10. Hurrying to Create a Logo
Most logos fail when designers do not spend quality time to create and ignore the importance of having a design process. A design that is made in a short amount of time tends to be unsuccessful. Your speed doesn’t determine your efficiency. Logo designing is an art that requires understanding and research, which requires time.
11. Lack of Communication with Clients
Most amateur designers do not understand the importance of communication and get offended at the slightest bit of criticism. They don’t discuss their ideas with their clients and give no creative input. This is not healthy if you want a client to understand your point of view. Communication is the key to success. Explain to the client what you are trying to achieve in your logo design concepts and take their criticism positively. Remember, criticism is just another person’s opinion.
12. Sending Raster Files
Raster files tend to become pixilated when scaled or sized for various printing needs. Always send your client the vector format file of your design. This will allow your client to print the logo on a small business card, a large billboard, t-shirts or any other item without affecting the quality.
13. Not Cleaning Up the Logo
Before sending out the design to your client, make sure that it is neat. Any extra twirls or any excessive colors must be removed. Sending out a messy design discredits you as a professional, thus you want to spend time with the finishing touches and in finalizing it.
Avoid making these errors and learn from others. Learning these lessons will be crucial if you want to establish a long term, professional career.
Share with us, what you have learned during your career as a designer?
January 25th, 2012
A well crafted logo design is the face of your business thus, the responsibility of having a fantastic and unique logo design is important. This does not only lie in the hands of the designer but also with the client. Both should know what makes a logo design successful.
So, what exactly are the secrets to a successful logo design? Read on to find out!
1. Simplicity is the Best Policy
Have you ever taken a look at the logos of major brands and industries? From Coke to Toyota, you’ll notice that all have quite simple logos. There is nothing flashy to any of them. Most new logo designers have a creative adrenaline to design with a jumble of graphics, text and colors. What they don’t is that a clustered design does not typically click well with the perceptions of a customer.
2. Color Smart
In a logo design, every color has its own purpose, meaning and essence. While some creative businesses require the use of splashy colors, others require very basic colors. Examples of colors that can be seen to reflect professionalism are light blue, white, silver, and so on. The colors you choose will represent your business, so be sure about what you choose.
3. Power of Words
Text plays a critical role in logo designing. The fonts you use must reflect the professional aspect of the business, but must also be legible. Many company logos are based on the company’s initials, rather than a graphical image. Text, if designed properly, could act as a standalone logo. A classic example of this is Mc Donald’s logo.
4. Flexibility and Scalability
In terms of size, your logo design should be flexible and scalable. It should be flexible enough to retain its quality if shrunk or expanded. The logo designer should understand that logos will not only go on websites or a business card, but the client might want to later add it to other means of different sizes. Therefore, they must be designed to be scalable. Vector graphics are most suitable for this purpose.
5. Back to the Future
A logo should be able to stand the test of time. 10 years down the road it should still have an exceptional or contemporary look, instead of one that is outdated. It’s important not to have your logo solely based around the latest trends. As trends die, your logo will start looking outdated. An example of a logo that has stood against the test of time is Coca-Cola!
Every successful logo design relies heavily on the effective and creative use of images, colors and text. If there is clear communication between client and designer, the business will have an amazing logo to flaunt.
December 29th, 2011
A logo is your company’s brand ambassador. It is an iconic representation of your business; since it will be the face of your company, it needs to stand out and be memorable. Have you ever come across a logo design that sticks in your mind? Did a logo ever make you wonder how powerful simplicity can be? Has a logo design ever make you think, ‘Wow! This is pure genius?’
A good logo does not need to be complex or flashy. It should be simple, timeless and unique with the power to ‘stick’ in the minds of its viewers. There are seven important elements that can make a design become a brand’s identity. It should be:
- Simple – Remember, less is more. Instead of creating a design that is complex, focus on creating one that is simple and easily identifiable in various formats. Keep it clear with distinct lines and shapes; avoid adding too much to it.
- Memorable – Leave a lasting impression. Use a consistent color scheme that has no more than 2 colors and create a symbol that represents the company. This will help it to stand out in the crowd, never underestimate the power of visual appeal. An ugly logo with a lot of color and complicated fonts will be forgettable.
- Unique – Don’t copy or use common clichéd symbols and styles. A logo design that has nothing new to offer can easily be lost in a crowd. Creating an abstract image won’t do, unless it can personalize your client’s business and help it stand out.
- Versatile – Create a logo that is appealing, not just in color but also in black and white. It should not lose its appeal when printed in reverse colors or in just one.
- Relevant – Allow the logo to reflect the vibe of the business it represents. Research about the industry and your client’s competitors. Don’t use fonts or styles that will misrepresent the company and give it an incorrect image. For instance, using a fun comic font for a professional law firm is a big mistake. How can you expect the viewers to take that firm seriously if the vibe the logo gives is non-serious?
- Scalable – Will the logo design lose its touch if it’s resized? Does it look complicated when made smaller or does it become bland when made bigger? It should look great, not just on the web but also when printed whether it’s a brochure or a mug. After all, you don’t know where your client may use their new logo.
- Timeless – The best logo designs stand the test of time. They have a universal appeal and don’t need to be redesigned every few years. Good logo designs adapt to the growth of the business and override the trends. In fact, they can become the trend setters.
So, does your creation have all the necessary elements needed for a winning brand image? Will your logo design stick around for long?
November 17th, 2011