August 8th, 2009 by Emmie
I know I said I’d be posting the first video tutorial sometime this week, but I’ve been really busy with Interabang, and seeing as how I haven’t been able to install the necessary software just yet, I’ll be cracking on with something else that a lot of people have been asking me about in the mean time: logos and logotypes!
There’s a whole bunch of metaphorical pitfalls to stumble into when designing a logo, so here’s some things that you might find useful to know before you start the whole creative process. There’s also a couple of examples of my own work in this one, too!
The Golden Rules
The main difference between logos and logotypes is that logos are image-oriented, and logotypes are more likely, examples of stylised text.
Firstly, logos (and logotypes) are used for branding, whether for a band or a business, it’s key that the logo you produce is original, relevant and easily recognisable. Too much information and your logo will be crowded, and therefore redundant; less is more.
Similarly, colour schemes are significant. It’s generally best to try and stick to a limited palette wherever possible, especially with corperate logos. The last thing you want is for your logo to resemble an unprofessional explosion in a paint factory – it may help with identification, but for all the wrong reasons. Usually, the maximum number of colours in any given logo is 4. For an idea of which colours work best together, you can always consult a colour wheel before you start (opposite colours are complimentary).
Logos are also (obviously) fairly small, which means you have much less space in which to express your ideas effectively. Consider this carefully, because a logo is meant to act as a visual representation of the subject in question, which is striking, without being overcomplicated.
Just because your finished product will be relatively small, do not fall into the trap of working with small dimensions. The larger the dimensions you work with are, the easier it will be to add any necessary details and re-work if your client is not entirely satisfied with your initial efforts.
I recommend using vectors for logo/logotype work for the same reason – vectors take up less computer space than bitmaps. The best programmes for this are ones like Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator. So, now we’ve got the basics covered, let’s move onto some specifics…
Working to different client’s needs
You may know the golden rules, but the exact purpose of your logo will throw up all sorts of new questions that you’ll need to consider. How does your client want to be perceived? This will vary greatly from project to project, so it’s best not to start work with any pre-conceived ideas.
If your work is for a business or for something equally as professional, then it goes without saying that you’ll most likely want to produce something that looks sleek and sophisticated (though this will depend on your clients expectations, as well – be careful not to make assumptions here). To be on the safe side, you should incorporate neutral colours, nothing too saturated or eye-popping. I realise this may sound a bit rich coming from the girl who uses a retina-burning shade of pink on her website, but just trust me on this.
With logotypes, you have less room for artistic licence, so you should make sure that the text you do create has enough character to distinguish it from others. It needs to be said, though, never use Comic Sans MS as a base for logotype work. Comic Sans is synonymous with about 90% of the people who know how to use Word, and it looks far too informal. It may sound harsh, but it really is one of my pet hates. Fonts can be associated with any number of things, so make sure you start with one that doesn’t scream ‘child who has just discovered bubble writing’ if you’re doing something for the corperate sector.
Fortunately, the majority of my previous clients have been really liberal in what they expect (mostly bands and musicians), and so I’ve been able to go a bit crazy with the saturation and the quirky lettering.
Never underestimate the power of colour associations, either. Regardless of your logo’s specific purpose, what mood do you want to convey? Blues are best for calming, reds for aggression and assertiveness, and so on.
Logos are a whole other ball game, well, not literally but here is where you’ll really have to think about visual representation. It’s hard to give specific advice on this, because the real ideas should be coming from you. Can you use something in the name? Can you use a play on words to influence your artwork? Here’s an example of the last logo I did with an explanation of the choices I made which should illustrate my point:
This is a logo for ‘The Puppies Are Coming’ – a death metal band with some less than serious lyrical content. The choice in the puppy is obvious – we wanted to go for something that was simultaneously metal and light-hearted, however, the skeletal structure and crack in the skull were added to represent the musical influence. Black was a natural colour choice (it has strong links with death, evil, etc), and white was used on top to provide a striking contrast. The two shades of grey under the eye sockets add variety to the colour scheme, without detracting from the desaturated and ‘morbid’ feel of the logo overall. They also help to contour the image, with a grey gaussian blur applied underneath so that the piece appears less 2D.
The best way to learn what does and does not make a successful logo, however, is trial and error, and actually trying it out for yourself, this is just a rough guide to set you up on the right track!
This entry was posted on Saturday, August 8th, 2009 at 7:45 pm and is filed under Hints and Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.