A logo is foremost an icon promoting recognition of a company or organization by the public. It is not an illustration per se, nor is it a photograph, a digital painting or a graphic collage. A logo can however be illustrative, graphic based, or typographic. A logo conveys a message, a concept or an association by simplifying imagery or text to clean and minimal components. While a logo can consist of, or include, a name, it doesn’t include information such as web addresses, emails, or telephone numbers. A logo is not considered a graphic design, but used as an item placed in graphic design materials such as business cards, websites, banners, and flyers etc.
What is the logo design process?
The logo design process typically involves a client – designer interaction where concepts are created based on client input. Revisions are made until the logo is finalized as a product to fit the client’s wants and needs. While one design task is to help a client communicate their message visually, it is a good idea to keep in mind that not all concepts translate well into imagery. Designers are not equipped with magic wands (besides the magic wand tool in Photoshop), and it is best to think of ways your business can be communicated symbolically. Logos are also created from scratch; it is unrealistic to expect a designer to create photo realistic imagery for your logo. Items in a logo design may be better represented if reduced to simple geometry and free from complex textures and patterns. A logo should be legible and display well large or small.
How are logos created?
Logos are typically created as a vector graphic in vector editing software. Although vector graphics are displayed on your computer with pixels (bitmap/raster,) or translated into ink dots in the printing process, vector graphics are not coded in the same way traditional pixel based graphics or photographs are.
Vector graphics are configured with mathematical algorithms dealing with relationships within geometry – points and paths. As a result, vector graphics have cleaner lines and are limited in the amount of detail that can be produced. However, the great benefit with vector graphics are that they are resolution independent. This means that you can scale them to any size without the image becoming pixelated or blurry. When kept simple, a vector file size is also kept to a minimum.
So what should my logo look like?
Keep in mind that everyone wants their logo to stand out and be unique, so those words convey very little to a designer. Also, be aware of the iconic elements commonly used in your field. Will your logo stand out and be unique in the travel business if you use a globe, a cruise ship or an airplane? Yes, it can if the style of the logo itself is executed uniquely, but it is a greater challenge to tackle. It is not necessary to use symbols that directly relate to your business or your business name. Think of an iconic logo such as the Starbucks logo – what does coffee have to do with a mermaid? Your logo doesn’t have to include an image, it can be text based, such as the Google, Coca Cola or FedEx logos. A logo doesn’t have to include text but can be represented solely as a symbol, like the Shell, Apple or Volkswagen logos. Graphics included in a logo can be strictly abstract and geometrical like the Mitsubishi Motors or Pepsi logos. The options are many and there are no set rules to what constitute a traditional logo.
Before deciding what style of logo you want, think of how you want to represent your business. Minimalistic text and geometry often read as professional and corporate, while illustrative logos read as smaller mom-and-pop businesses with a personal attention to clients.
Another consideration for your logo is how it will be used. Do you want your logo to translate into black and white well? Is there too much detail for the embroidered caps you are going to order? Will the text be legible when you print your logo in small sizes? Do you want the logo to include specific colors used in your branding? Does the style fit the targeted demographics of your clientele?
The considerations are many, but most important of all is how the logo relates to you and your business. It is your logo after all.
Would you like to learn more about the logo design process? Here’s a great article about how a logo should NOT be created.