5 Things to Consider When Creating Your Logo

Some of our designer’s initial logo sketches for our clients at Room Dividers Now.

Now that we’ve been in the brand identity game for just shy of a decade, we at Herman-Scheer have created more than our fair share of expressive and effective logos. Yet we still marvel at the ability of a collection of pixels to single-handedly tell a brand’s entire story. The world’s most quintessential logos represent a perfect synergy of well-chosen fonts, colors, shading, and symbolism that work together in perfect harmony to embody the brand’s multi-faceted personality in a single, concise image. In the same vein, the defined angles, whether soft or sharp, can coalesce with the perfect spacing between letters to send a brand’s message directly to the subconscious mind of the viewer. If we lost you in that nerd-out, picture this: golden arches and a bright, red bullseye. Anyone who tells you that the mere mention of those words didn’t inspire a craving for a Big Mac and a quick trip to Target is lying. As a company prepares to design its brand logo, it is important to be strategic, keeping in mind that this process is a single step of many that will drive the larger project forward.

Whether an existing company is gearing up to redesign a current logo or a new company is building their logo from scratch, keeping these 5 aspects in mind will take the guesswork out of the creative process and ensure that the new logo us flexible enough to employ across the infinite mediums available in 2017.

1. Competition

Design to Be Different

In a crowded market, a company can’t stand out unless it is different from the competition. Before a design team gathers around the conference room table to spitball logo ideas, it is imperative that they conduct some good, old-fashioned R&D. Teams need to scope out what their competitors are doing with their logos, assessing their strengths, weaknesses, and overall effect. In this process, the team can identify the top 10 competitors, visit their websites, and compare their logos to the options in consideration. Skipping this step would be a huge mistake for a few reasons. In a world where there are no new ideas, only new executions, a brand’s logo needs to be fresh and unique in order to differentiate itself from other companies that offer similar products or services. It’s really simple: a brand needs to know what everyone else is doing before they can do it better.

In this image, we place the logo we created for our clients at Lensabl side-by-side with world-famous logos.

2. Application

Envisioning the Logo in the Real World

Before making a final decision on a logo, it is important to take the time and make the effort to envision it across multiple mediums. Just because the proof of a logo looks amazing on a white piece of printer paper doesn’t mean it will have the same stunning effect when emblazoned on the front of a building. Using mockups and other tools, designers can envisage the flexibility of the logo to determine whether it will appear as effective on a t-shirt or a hat as it would on a business card or at the top of an invoice. Before committing to a logo, envision it in its various real world applications, taking it as far beyond the pdf as possible.

The packaging we created for Lensabl allowed the client to see what the logo would look like in various applications.

3. Alternative Usages

Prime the Logo For All Possibilities

Just as a logo needs to be flexible, it also needs to be adjustable. As discussed in the previous section, not every medium is created equal. In some cases, it may be necessary to alter the positioning, the structure, or even the coloring of the logo. To prepare for these various possibilities, design a logo with infinite potential. Ideally, a two-toned logo would still communicate its message clearly if the colors were inverted, and it should be recognizable in black and white or in a gray scale. In the event that the shadows and gradients in the original logo had to be altered, would the logo lose its power? If so, kindly return to the drawing board.

We provided our clients at Lensabl with this illustration of alternative logos that would be used in place of the primary logo in certain situations.

4. Scalability

Cool Logo. But Does it Scale?

A logo must maintain its clear appearance at any size, whether it is shrunken down or blown up. This concept of scalability isn’t just important to placing the logo on the products themselves; it is also an essential element in branding any market collateral, from the letterhead on company stationery to the marquee on the face of the building. As they are scaled down, thinner, more delicate fonts and frail borders that are clear in the original version may get lost in translation, along with the meaning or the message they convey. Keeping scalability in mind in the the designing of the logo means being mindful of these small details.

We demonstrated what the Lensabl logo would look like in one of its smallest possible use cases as an app button on a smart phone screen.

5. Purpose

Pronouncing the Purpose

Every business owner should be able to articulate the logic behind their logo. Beyond what is conveyed in the image itself, every logo needs to be symbolic of a deeper meaning. Explaining why a logo exists in its current form requires the ability to describe the intent behind its design. If the team has succeeded in creating a logo that is a concise visual representation of the brand as a whole, this purpose should be easy to describe and understand. On the other hand, if that explanation is too complicated-or worse, too convoluted- for the average person to follow and comprehend, the logo isn’t quite ready for the world’s stage.

In closing…

If you have more specific questions about refreshing a brand, or if you just want a second set of eyeballs to give your logo a once over, our branding experts here at Herman-Scheer would love to assist you. Reach out to us at hello@herman-scheer.com