“Symbolize and summarize,” Paul Bass once wrote about designing logos. Bass was responsible for some of the most iconic logos of the past century, including logos for Girl Scouts, Kleenex, and many more.
As a logo designer, you’re not likely to be in charge of creating logos for huge companies like Target (the bull’s eye symbol) or Nike (the swoosh). More likely, you’ll be working with small to medium sized businesses that will be relying on you to connect the dots between their identity, and what their consumer sees.
The key to great logo creation, then, is communication. Without communication you won’t know how the company sees itself, how they position themselves, and what appeals to their consumers.
Here are 5 top questions logo designers should be asking their clients.
What does your company want to convey?
The question of “what defines a brand” is seemingly simple but can be quite complex. You can easily create a logo that is a wrong fit for a company if you misinterpret how they see themselves, and how they want to be seen.
Apple’s logo, for example, has undergone several design changes over the years. As the company became known for its sleek, modern hardware designs, its logo similarly pared down from a complicated crest to a monochromatic Apple, capturing in one glance the company’s focus on design elements.
Does the company want to convey creativity, or does it want to promote the image of streamlined efficiency?
What is the issue with your existing logo?
This won’t be relevant to very new companies, but most existing companies have been using at least some form of a logo over the years. They are likely looking for a way to further distinguish themselves from their competition, or to make consumers more aware of their brand. Knowing the answer to this question can help you avoid obvious mistakes, like the ones pointed out in Business Insider’s list of top 15 worst corporate logos.
What are your current brand colors and/or fonts?
Creating a unified look to a company’s appearance is important for having a successful logo. A small company may not have considered that, if they rely heavily on one font for all their marketing, it might be logical to keep the logo consistent.
Where will the logo be used?
Understanding how a logo will be functioning is important to design. Will the company be using their logo largely on letterheads and in emails, or will it appear on promotional tshirts, on a truck, or on products themselves? It’s important that a logo can be consistently applied in all the ways a company plans on using it. BetterBusinessLife also points out that asking this question can also open up the door to more design opportunities for you.
When you look to competitors, what type of logo appeals to you?
There are three main categories of logo types:
- Wordmark logos. They are simply freestanding words, with design elements being used to make it memorable. Some examples include:
- Pictorial logos. They emphasize creating recognition with a single associated image or symbol. For example, the eBay logo.
- Letterform logos. They concentrate on a single letter used to represent the company, one of the most famous examples being the McDonalds M or the Starbucks logo.
Of course, there are hybrid logo types as well. The NFL logo is an emblem relies on both words and a framing image to be recognizable. Knowing what your client thinks of as “the ideal logo type” for their industry can help you plan your project accordingly.
Creating the right logo isn’t an easy job, but with research and communication, you can create a logo that represents your client and helps them stand out in a crowded marketplace.
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