Recently I had lunch at a café which had a very ‘quirky’ logo using a strange (possibly homemade) font and a thin and delicate graphic, which to my eyes as a designer spelled all sorts of trouble. The café seemed to be doing a good trade so you may argue that the ‘quality’ of the logo from a professional designer’s perspective is irrelevant, but I am not simply taking some sort of aesthetic high-ground – a good logo is practical AND beautiful. In fact, a beautifully simple logo is just that, its elegant simplicity makes it ‘beautiful’ to the eye, but don’t confuse this with ‘quick and easy’ as the two things are entirely different – confused? Let me explain…
Quality takes time
Hastily putting some text together in the first font you can find and attaching some clipart to it, or using a random coloured shape, will be quick and easy and the logo itself maybe simple, but it wont be elegant. Most of the great logos are comprised of just a few elements that have been carefully arranged for the best appeal. Also they will be such that they are still strong, recognisable and legible at any size, and even if reproduced in solid black or white. Finally the font will have been carefully chosen to represent the company and fulfil the brief given to the designer, all of these things take time and thought.
Don’t overdo it
The logo for the café would have suffered substantially when used small on a letterhead or business card, because the delicate thin lines in the graphic and the overly complicated font would have lost all their subtlety or in fact disappeared altogether. But these issues weren’t caused by the logo being produced quickly, in this case it suffered somewhat from the opposite problem, ie it had been ‘overdesigned’. There is a temptation as a designer to feel the need had to demonstrate creative skill by using a mix of fonts, styles and graphical approaches all in the same piece of artwork. But as I alluded to in a recent post (Just because it looks simple…), the creative skill is not necessarily demonstrated in the final piece, it is in the work that went into it. During the design process the logo would have been refined by removing and simplifying elements whilst still retaining the spirit of the logo. This distillation process is what results in a beautifully simple, but strong logo.
A professional logo should be:
1. A Vector file – which will enable it to be scaled to any size without loss of quality (but see point 4 below).
2. Comprised of one or two fonts only.
3. Minimal in its use of colour – A rainbow of colours will make printing costs higher for litho print, and make it look gaudy and cheap. Graduated blends from one colour to another should be avoided where possible as they may not reproduce well in all media and at all sizes
4. Scalable – Yes vectors are scalable, but there should also be a consideration regarding the legibility of the logo. Very thin and delicate lines on a large sign on the side of the company vehicle will disappear when the logo is scaled down to a business card
Doing your own logo on the cheap can seem like a good money saver, but in the long run you are going to run into issues which will mean you need to get a professional in anyway. Why waste your valuable time? Get a professionally designed logo from day one and you’ll be setup for all eventualities. Pixooma logos are guaranteed for life to suit any future job you may need them for.