Logo Like a Pro
SOHO It Goes!
logo is the image which represents a company or its
product. Its function is to create a memorable, recognizable
impression on the mind of a potential client or customer.
A logo is essentially at the heart of a corporate identity.
what makes a "good" logo? Most people would
answer "I just know it when I see it!" and
this isn't so far from the truth. A good logo catches
the eye - it makes the observer curious or engaged,
if only for a short moment
a moment in which an
image and the existence of your company is embedded
in the mind rather than filtered out with a million
other daily stimuli. But even if a good logo 'just is',
there are elements for making it happen
will look at some of those. I will also discuss some
of the issues designing logos which work in two distinct
worlds - print and online.
are three basic types of logos, which can be used alone
or combined within one design:
a logo is always a process - though different designers
have their own methods. Many designers will begin by sketching
thumbnails or playing with shapes on the computer screen,
until something "clicks" and they follow that
path to see where it leads. One way to start is to select
a shape which represents the concept of the company, and
begin playing with it. The idea is to come up with something
interesting or clever, whether a viewpoint which is different,
or an unusual combination of shapes. Perhaps it will be
something which will require some guesswork on the part
of the viewer, but then be crystal clear when they look
at it another way.
- illustrative logos (a logo which clearly illustrates
what your company does),
- graphic logos (a logo that includes a graphic, often
an abstraction, of what your company does), and
- font-based logos (a text treatment which represents
Many designers prefer to developing logos beginning with,
or consisting entirely of text. By experimenting with
fonts, size, shapes they seek to find an interesting way
to represent the company using the form of letters. Again,
simplicity is extremely important - this is not the time
to use fancy decorative fonts. Whether alone or combined
with graphic elements, the text in a logo must be easily
readable at small sizes
a form for the logo has been defined, color needs to
be considered. Again, color for a logo should remain
simple. You can always get fancy with the web version,
but a good logo must work well in one color and gradients
of that color. The color should enhance and support
the form of the logo - for example, various shades of
blue on the sides of a 3D box should be the same as
they would in real life. Contrast is another powerful
concept in the creation of logos - you can contrast
size, color, fonts, textures - to create visual interest.
A logo should be simple and abstract, not be complicated
or confusing, and again, all elements must be discernible
when reproduced in small sizes.
good logo works in the simplest form. With the advent
of the Web, it is common to see logos which contain
gradients, 3D effects, animation, and other visual effects.
But if the logo can not also be reduced to a simple
one color flat version for use on faxes, your checks
and photocopied documents, it is functionally useless.
As tempting as it might be to create a whiz-bang logo,
a designer must always consider all the ways your companies
identity will be disseminated. Once this is successfully
accomplished, you can always jazz up your logo later
for the web!
mentioned before, size is a critical issue when having
a logo designed. A good rule of thumb is that if the
logo works well in a business card size, it will scale
up nicely to other sizes. Always make sure your logo
looks pleasing on paper and in a wide range of sizes
before committing to it.
and print are two entirely different mediums. If you
are having a logo designed for the first time, it is
essential that you be aware that your logo must be designed
for print FIRST and web second. Without getting into
the intricacies of print and web resolutions, suffice
it to say they are very different. What might look great
on your computer screen will likely print out at the
size of a postage stamp and be entirely muddled. If
the logo is designed to look great online, depending
on the graphics format, it might not scale easily up
to a printable version, so it is best to create it in
a way that can be downscaled.
choosing a color for your logo, you might want to consider
using those in the universal 216 color palette supported
by all web browsers. This will ensure that the colors
of your corporate identity can be used online without
the flip side, the web will allow you to take your simple
1-2 color logo and do great things with it - and it
won't cost you thousands of extra dollars to add colors
to it, make it 3D or animate it, like it would in the
print medium. Once your logo is created for the lowest
common denominator, the same form can be enhanced in
a myriad of ways to look more exciting for your web
site. Just be sure you don't get carried away with the
possibilities until you have a logo which will present
a strong image for your company on a simple business
'Turtle' Parzek is a veteran marketing designer and online
communications consultant who has been working from home
and virtually since 1995. Her business, SOHO
It Goes! (www.soho-it-goes.com) specializes in providing
technology driven design, marketing and communication
services to small businesses and organizations.