A logo isn’t a brand, but it must symbolise one. Don’t see a logo as what you need to create a brand, see it as the holistic symbol of a brand. The best description I can come up with is that a logo is a single coherent visual device that denotes an identity. It can consist of letters, an illustration or a combination of the two.
What’s the first principle? the core goal
Having defined what a logo is, we are going to start with the first principle, the goal you have when creating a logo and the state of mind you must be in.
Logo Design = Abstraction
In logo design abstraction refers to several things: That a logo must exemplify the essence of the brand. That a logo must be as simple as possible without losing the message. And that the logo does not have to represent something that exists, that it can represent an idea, a concept.
What are the essential rules?
So, now you’ve got the concept of how to think when creating a logo, but you need to know more than just the mindset to make an incredible logo. An incredible logo is timeless, a design that has a reason for every aspect and cannot be further refined. The following is the 20% of logo design that will deliver 80% of the quality.
Creating an incredible logo starts in the preparation, by laying the foundation you will build on. There are three essentials to this.
1. Define what you’re going for: What does the brand represent? What does it do? How does it go about doing it? What literally and metaphorically represents this?
2. Identify methods of representation: Consider and sketch the different options available for symbolising the brand. Is a wordmark obvious? Are there opportunities to create a cohesive monogram? Is there any symbolism that comes to mind?
3. Find amazing inspiration: Look for the images that exemplify what you’re going for, that feel right, that are picturesque with the right pose from the right angle. Find what works and what doesn’t.
The foundation has been laid, the overview of the brand established, and the options available noted. Now you need to have an impact on what you’ve found. Find beautifully effective ways of combining different aspects, removing flaws, and personalising it to the brand.
4. Design it to be readable: Ensure your design reads as what you want it to and that the essential elements and their composition remain. Test this out by shrinking it down to a 5mm by 5mm square.
5. Find the balance: Make your design feel as one, all elements a part of the same concept. Elements must be split up proportionally, with enough contrast that they appear separate, but not awkward.
6. Make it simple: Take your design to the boundaries of abstraction. Make the concept out of simple geometric shapes, and try to scale/space these using the rule of halves, thirds or golden ratio.
So, you’ve followed these steps and come up with a variety of concepts, a few of which stand out. Now you’ve got the problem of deciding which concepts to choose?
It can be a struggle to know which of your children is best, so let’s go for an informed decision. Do any of them look too much like those of your competitors? Do they really symbolise your brand? How well can you draw them from memory? And are any of them just a bit crap? If this doesn’t result in an answer, you can always get a second opinion, or just go with your gut and pick the favourite; there’s always a favourite.
Logo design is the art of visual abstraction. A logo and all of its elements should have meaning, but that meaning doesn’t have to be obvious. The resulting concept must be as readable, balanced and as simple as possible. All of this means that a logo designer is someone creating at the border between symbolism and simplicity, intertwining a brands method and culture to make the result unique.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you found it useful or want to help someone else out while reinforcing what you’ve learned, please share and discuss the article.