Sometimes we take ourselves a bit too seriously and overthink the importance of what we do. 

The design world is especially guilty of this... Giving over the top explanations to concepts that make it sound like the tasting notes of some fancy bottle of wine.

Don't get me wrong, I love logos with concepts - An idea or metaphor that captures what a brand is about... I get off on that as much as any other designer.

But, sometimes it feels like designers are trying to impress each other, rather than the client. And that's a bit mixed up.

We need to remember that the logo is for neither of us. The logo is for the people who will hopefully buy the product or service being offered.

This is a list of 5 things I keep in mind when designing a logo. They're key to informing the style of my work... Or maybe I'm overthinking it.

1. Simple is best
I come down hard on this side of the fence... Simple beats complex, 99 times out of 100.

Look at the logos that have stood the test of time; they change little, if at all. Here's a selection that I love which were designed by my logo design hero, Mr. Saul Bass.

They look as great today as they did decades ago (some as far back as 1960).

They look as great today as they did decades ago (some as far back as 1960).

2. One trick per logo
I love logos with meaning. This can be clever, subtle, hidden or in-yer-face. A logo with meaning is more likely to be remembered. Surely that's the ultimate goal?

Very often though, when presenting ideas to a client, it's tempting to mix two or more ideas together... because more ideas and more meaning is better, right?

Nope, remember that old line, less is more. Well, it is, sometimes anyway.

Humans are flawed, we struggle to remember the majority of the things that are put in front of us. If in your logo, we execute one idea well; one that represents an aspect of your brand that you want your customers to recall, then that's a job well done.

So let's make it easy for them. Let's make it so that there's ONE THING that sticks in their mind. Here's some excellent examples of logos with meaning.

Can you spot the meaning in all three?

Can you spot the meaning in all three?

3. It should look great tiny and massive
This is a good exercise in using the right criteria to measure the success of your logo.

You need to think more technically, but it's vital to consider where you logo will be used.

You may need it for an ink stamp which creates 20mm impressions of your logo... Or it may have to look good on the side of a building or wrapped round a vehicle (I've done all of these)... So we must take this into account when creating your design.

The best way I've found to make sure the logo keeps its integrity, wherever it is applied, is to KEEP THINGS SIMPLE.

This obviously applies at tiny sizes; but counter-intuitively, it's probably more applicable at larger sizes too.

If you think about where you actually see huge logos, it's generally in amongst tonnes of other visual noise. Or often in a place where the viewing time is very short (On a billboard at traffic lights, for example).

To make an impression on your audience, and be noticed, a simple mark is far more likely to succeed.

4. We can break the rules
The best thing about these rules is that once you know them, you can break them. (All except number 5 anyway).

You shouldn't do this for the sake of it though. Only if your concept is enhanced by it or if it will increase the appeal of the logo to your audience. Look for ways to do it, but never force it.

5. The process should be fun
When you start a company there's loads of shit you need to get sorted. Boring stuff like accounting, business plans and all that.

Getting your logo designed is one of the good bits... Or at least it should be.

We get to have a conversation and find out what you're all about...

  • Why do you do what you do?
  • Where you passion comes from?
  • What makes you unique?

We look at your marketplace and see how we can carve YOUR place within it.

We can position your brand any way we like - Premium, professional, corporate, irreverent, quirky, ambitious, controversial or fun.

We get to play with type, colour and symbols to help people get a feel for what you're about.

With OUR egos under control, we can focus on who REALLY matters... The end user and target audience.

We can frame the conversation to being about how we can communicate your message to THEM.

This rule is unbreakable and is pretty much why I do what I do.

I believe better work comes out of a relationship between designer and client that is structured this way.

If you've got a project that you'd like to talk about, you can book a free consultation call here.

Let's make something cool.