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Things to consdier when designing a logo

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  #1  
Old 01-04-2008, 11:03 AM
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Things to consdier when designing a logo

Having been in the Advertising Specialty business for over 25 years, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly in logo design. I thought a discussion about logos in general and design considerations might be a help to budding graphic designers.

What is a logo?
A logo is a graphic representatioin of a business or entity. An icon that through repeated exposure identifies that corporation or entity. For example, when you see a yellow running deer on a green background, do you have to see the name to know it's the John Deere logo? That swashy looking check mark you know is Nike. A piece of fruit with a bite out of the top right side - Apple Computer? These are all great examples of iconic (pictorial) logos. Coca-Cola is a fine example of logo text. In either case, iconic or text, a good logo design is at the heart of all marketing and promotion.

How are logos used?
Every business or entity uses their logo (text or icon) on the basic printed material that comprise their image package i.e. letter head, envelopes, and business cards. They are also used on a myriad of in-house forms, uniforms, auto decaling, packaging, point of purchase displays, product identification, print and television advertising and now out on the web. All you need to do is take a look around your computer desk to see product logos. I can't even look at my monitor without seeing that Apple logo on the bezel, Citigroup on the calendar, EPSON on my color printer, the Sprint logo on my caller ID gadget, my bank's logo on a ball point pen. They're everywhere!

What constitutes a good logo design?
In a word, SIMPLICITY. (There are exceptions for heraldic logos like those of fraternal orders and government agencies). Often the exposure time of a logo is a matter of seconds. Flashed on the t.v. screen, in the header or side bar of a web page, or on a billboard with cars whizzing by at 65 MPH. A simple design can be absorbed and processed by the brain much quicker than something complex.

What are the graphic considerations?
From observation of the best in logo design, you will discover that bold, solid blocks of color, minimal detail, and overall composition are the most effective.

1. While gradients are lovely on a web page or four color process printing, they cannot be reproduced in many specialty print techniques (embroidery, die stamp, hot stamp).

2, Consider your client's budget when adding color to a logo. It costs much more to print additional colors. If you use multiple colors, always develop a one color version for those times when they don't want to spend the extra money on color (invoices, shipping forms, in-house materials and specialty items.)

3. Although this is primarily a digital photo forum, don't design in Photoshop. Always design in a vector program such as Illustrator, Corel Draw, or FreeHand. Again, many print processes cannot use pixel based files. Vector files can be printed at any size without getting jaggies. Design the logo once and pass off EPS files to printers for crisp resizing.

4. Keep close registrations of colors to a minimum. There are often printing up charges for tight or touching colors. This includes for things like raised letter business cards.

5. Design in Spot (Pantone) colors. Except for web or four color process materials, printers need to separate colors into printing plates, one for each color. Spot color is the only way to go. Although you can use spot colors in Photoshop it is a real pain to set them up to print separate plates. Again, best done in a vector drawing program.

These are just my thoughts and suggestions based on years of generating artwork for my clients. Feel free to add your own.
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  #2  
Old 01-04-2008, 11:07 AM
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Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

Now tell the people who much a Pantone swatch booklet costs
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Old 01-04-2008, 01:58 PM
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Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

Stephen, as you probably know, they ain't cheap. Probably $70 to $80, but it's a part of doing business and tax deductible. You can sometimes pick one up free from a local friendly printer. I've got several of them and between the Standard Spot color and Pantone to Process books, I can't do business without them.
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Old 01-04-2008, 02:04 PM
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Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swampy View Post
You can sometimes pick one up free from a local friendly printer.
Cool, I'll have to try that.
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Old 01-04-2008, 03:05 PM
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Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

Interesting piece Swampy
The colour swatch books work out at £55 over here
and i have yet to find a friendly printer who will let me have one yet ! ! ! ! ! ! they guard them like gold here, In fact i have heard of a printers going out of business and the books have been classed as assets to be sold to cover debts
( been married to a litho printer for 30 years )

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Old 01-04-2008, 03:17 PM
katew katew is offline
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Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

I was just going to say the same, Palms! My husband's a litho printer as well, and he says the two books he uses most cost about £130 the pair.
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Old 01-04-2008, 03:23 PM
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Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

Above all true about the cost of PMS swatch books. But if you are going to do professional work, you need professional tools. Having a Pantone book is every bit as important as having fonts, software clipart or other tools of the trade. It *IS* the industry standard for describing color and you will look like a dufus if your client asks "what color red"? or even more so if the printer asks, "what color red".
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Old 01-04-2008, 04:07 PM
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Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

that's something else I have learnt
never ask a printer "what's that colour" you get blinded by info

Palms
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:11 AM
katew katew is offline
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Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

Point taken, Swampy. I'm just jealous that things seem to be so much cheaper on your side of the Atlantic! Just about everything seems to be more expensive in the UK!
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Old 01-05-2008, 08:58 AM
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Re: Things to consdier when designing a logo

Swampy, That's good advice. Thanks for posting that good information.

One minor point though, I prefer to design in photoshop, because I am much better with that tool than illustrator. If you are keeping your design simple as you suggest, it isn't too hard to covert it to an illustrator drawing using live paint. I know it's an extra step, but for me that is easier, because I am so much better with photoshop.
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