MAKING CHOICES IN DESIGN: LOGOS

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When thinking about logos, you always have to keep in mind that you are striving to create an image that will instantly represent the entity you are designing for. Whether it is for a product, a company, a band, or anything, the ultimate goal is to make sure the viewer remembers this image and will always associate it with its respective brand.

This will always be a fairly arguable point, but I believe that it is in every designer’s best interest to design logos in vector drawing applications versus raster based programs. I don’t want to completely throw out the idea of pixel-based logos, but there are several really great points to back up the theory of why vector is more effective. Below I will list some basic things that should be considered when designing a logo:

Scalability

With raster images, you are limited to working with the size that an image is designed. Since these images are made up of pixels and have a set resolution, if you try to scale up, you can, but only a little bit before you start loosing quality. Some businesses, might not want a logo that can be used only business card size. Maybe they want a design that can be scaled up enough to make a sign outside their office, or even a billboard. With vector graphics, you can make a design as big or small as you want without having the quality diminish. This is where vectors really win, quality.

Changing Color and Value

A good logo needs to be able to work in black and white in addition to its original design colors (which may already be black or white). You never know where or what surface that this logo may need to be printed on. Maybe someone has to print only in black, in these cases, the logo should be able to stand on its own in black instead of its original color. This point can be argued but it is definitely something that should be taken into account when designing.

Legibility

Once again, depending on how big you need a logo to be, vector programs are still your best friends. The mathematical paths of vectors present far better quality and scalability than pixel based graphics, so any text you may have in your logo design will be sharper and more legible with vectors. You want to make sure you pick out good fonts that fit the needs of the clients and will appeal to the intended audience. Basic form follows function principles (Bauhaus), or in other words, the design should work well before looking pretty. The basic need of the viewer is to be able to interpret the logo as quickly as possible. We have short attention spans. This is not to say that a design has to be all business and no aesthetics, just that this should be taken into consideration before the final choices are made.

Winning Over the Client & Audience

Make sure that the logo design will appeal to the audience base more so than the client. The client may know what they want, but sometimes they can get confused on what the viewer/audience needs to see. Granted, the client will probably know their market/product better than you. So they should have a great grasp on how to guide you to the most desirable design ideas, but should is another interesting concept that I may discuss later on. This is where your design process comes in handy. If you are following one, the most important part of the process could possibly be the research. If you are doing client-based designs, you most definitely do your research on the company/product, its past/future/how far it hopes to go, the desired audience, etc. Make sure you know what you are doing before you do it.

Also, keep in mind how long the company would like to be identified by your logo. It needs to have a strong “staying” power, so something that is trendy now, might not work for the company 5 years later. Or vice versa, maybe the client will want something that is “in” now and trendy enough for just a couple years or so. They may be planning on a re-design in the near future, it really depends on their objectives.

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