Logo design — some thoughts
Category: Design / Branding/Identity,
Posted: Dec 16th 2012
No. of comments: 2
Some thoughts for you PT guys in the Northern Hemisphere who have just been briefed on your first logo project:
We harp on a fair bit at Shillington about the value of simplicity in design. A personal favourite catch cry is 'if it doesn't need to be there, then get rid of it!'… this sentiment is so beautifully illustrated in Picasso's Bull series. Through a series of abstracted drawings of a bull, the final image so brilliantly captures the true essence of its subject void almost entirely of detail.
To bring it back to logo design, think of your logo as something that its audience doesn't have an eternity to decipher. It needs to say a lot, and quickly. Really, the only way to achieve this is through simplicity.
And at the heart of it all is process.
Beyond the initial research stages (including word mapping and mood boards) — which are geared towards expanding your frame of reference — the process of sketching and ultimately developing & crafting (in Illustrator) your logo ideas is a journey in abstraction, representational illustration and simplification — really narrowing down and focusing on some key aspects of your subject matter.
Take the work of German graphic designer Otl Aicher for the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. His pictograms for each of the Olympic sports is seen as one of the defining achievements in graphic design, due to the clarity and elegance of the work. Looking at them now there is still a great sense of freshness to them and, like Picasso's bull series, they are a real masterclass in effective abstraction.
So, to bring it all back to what you guys are faced with — the key aspects of logo design that I think you should aim to work with are abstraction, representation and simplicity. For most of you this will be your first attempt at designing a logo. Have fun with it — it should feel like it's hard work, but arriving at an effective logo solution is among the most satisfying feelings a graphic designer can have (in my opinion, anyway — maybe second to a beautifully kerned headline set in Helvetica Neue Bold!)
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Further reading & inspiration:
Logo & Identity Design inspiration
Brand & Identity agencies