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Logo design – HOW and WHY
In these days to catch people’s attention for a new company is not an easy task. The key to a sustained success is to develop a strong, consistent and remarkable brand. Of course the primary task is to create good quality products and to maintain quality level, but if these are ready, a kick-ass logo design would be a great idea.
Logo design in generalThe main tasks in every case.
In order to feel the importance of a logo, first we have to understand how a logo should be applied. A logo is for people to identify our company with the help of a symbol, mark or typography. It is not necessary to explain our services by the logo, but it should represent all what the brand is about and its message. It is not the logo what sells the products, but it helps to connect the products to the brand, the trust for the brand, and the direct or indirect experiences about the brand.
Think about a logo as if it was a person. We prefer to call ourselves by the name, than by forgettable and confusing descriptions. For example: the brown hair guy who always wears purple shirt. From this example you can now see the importance of a logo. If we can’t call somebody by the name, we try to describe the person with characteristics. The logo is the image of the brand. The more people see the logo, the sooner they will connect it to the brand. By following this analog, the more people see the logo, the sooner they will call the brand by name and not by description. It is the same as we connect the swoosh with Nike.
To make it clear, logo is the face, while brand is all represented by the company. The brand is the message, history and quality of the company. Logo is an image for identification. The logo has to deliver the brand message.
All company need a website, where they can promote products and services. Sooner or later some print production will be needed for marketing and/or advertising, so a logo will be displayed. According to this, a good quality logo design is a must, which can be used in all media and technologies.
Color psychologyWhich colors to choose if we want to reach our goals?
From the Top 100 brands of the world the use 1 or 2 colors in their logos.
Since there are hundreds of articles, infographics and case studies about the color psychology, we are not trying to describe it from another perspective. But we would like to list the colors and the feelings transmitted by them (by our knowledge):
- White: cleanliness, peace, refined, simplicity, truthfulness
- Black: authority, classic, conservative, bold, serious, misterious
- Yellow: caution, happyness, joy, warmth, sunshine, curiousity
- Orange: creativity, fun, high-spirited, youthful
- Red: action, aggressive, danger, love, energy
- Pink: romantic, gentle, appreciation, femininity, delicate
- Purple: justice, fantasy, nobility, spirituality, ceremony
- Blue: calm, trustworthy, success, secure, confidence
- Green: fresh, natural, healing, harmony, renewal
- Brown: depth, earth, roughness, simplicity, utility, richness
- Grey: corporate, moody, respect, practical, stable
Logo is the image that helps people to identify and by which we can communicate brand message through colors, typography and images. On the other hand, logo is the shortened name of the company, so it will be used on many advertising and marketing products, so it has to meet many quality requirements.
Consider these factors!During the logo design process we have to be careful for the later re-usability.
Many designers don’t take it serious to deal with the minimum size problem, so the logo doesn’t loose any characteristic and still recognizable on small sizes.
Bad color choice has a bad influence on minimum sizes, because non-contrast colors can blend together. Minimum size has high importance since the 16px * 16px favicons on websites, so logo has to work out on that small too. This problem does also exists in the print industry. Different print technologies have different quality levels they can provide, and some can’t work with thin lines, small forms and gaps. To choose the appropriate forms is as important as choosing colors. Some small motives can loose their importance or blend together after reducing size, so we try to avoid them.
In the image above, you can see two logos in different sizes. Everybody can decide which is a better.
In these days, when PDF and Color-Standards, Color Profiles, Color Management are existing, different printing technologies can produce different results while processing the same graphic design. Differences can occur as the consequence(s) of non-maintained color-management, different ink types and qualities, and the possibilities provided by the technology itself. These differences are not inevitable. But some technologies do not provide printing thin, sharp lines and small gaps. This problem resurfaces every time a logo has one thin line or more thin lines close to each other after reducing size. In these cases the hairline doesn’t appear or they blend together.
We as designers are up to fulfill the changing needs of our customers. This consequential development appears in the print industry too. To expand the boundaries of production technologies, they develop innovative substitute techniques. In many cases a substitute technology can be applied, and in this way the problem (caused by bad design of the logo) can be solved. But our logo design process is attentive to the most possibilities the logo will be used for and displayed in most of online and offline technologies today. To do this, knowing the possibilities, quality standards of these technologies is a must.
Besides the basic color-psychology theory, there are more factors influencing the re-usability, productivity, effectiveness of color choice in logo design. But the K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid) policy works, so the less color is used, the more remarkable the logo becomes. We would like to emphasize less color from the perspective of print design, so the CMYK values of the colors are also significant. For example a red color displayed on the screen can include 2 or more colors like magenta and yellow. When designing a logo – if it is not directly requested by the client – we avoid using of gradients and this way we make post processes and production easier. Behind all these kinds of decision and suggestion made by us, there is one simple rule. The screen can display anything in almost any color, but when it comes to print production bad color choise can lead to some unwanted results.
If we take a look at the image above, the logos of the world top brands use only one color and avoid gradients. If a gradient occurs in the logo, a usual solution is to create a “Simplified” logo, so it can be used in technologies where small half-dots and very detailed graphics are not supported. If a gradient is needed in the logo, we always design in a way so the simplified version can be developed from it. But in most cases simple colors are applied.
Other concepts about color choice:
- We don’t use too bright and neon colors, which are hard on the eyes.
- First we think in black-and-white, because if a logo doesn’t pop-up in black-and-white, colors won’t make a difference.
- We always keep in mind color-psychology.
Vector or Raster Graphics?
Our short answer for this is always Vector Graphics, if we are talking about logo design. The main difference between Vector and Raster graphics is how dots are rendered. In pixel (raster) graphics every pixel has color and brightness values, while in vector graphics dots and curves are calculated mathematically and displayed so.
In the image above, you can see the same graphic design in the same magnification but in raster and vector formats.
Both techniques has pros-and-cons. We collected the ones significant for logo design.
Advantages of Vetor Graphics:
- There is no quality loss caused by resize.
- Some technologies only support Vector Graphics.
- Vector Graphics can be rasterized. In the prepress one process is to rasterize the images (create half-tone dots). The more dots rendered in 1mm, the more accurate and detailed the technology is and so the graphic can be. Vector Graphics are always sharp no matter the magnification or size. According to this, the sharpness of the image depends of the rasterizer. A sharp vector curve will be sharper after rasterization, than a pixelated one.
- With modern online technologies we can display vector graphics on the internet (SVG format), so a logo can remain detailed and sharp on any screen size and dimension.
Disadvantages of Vector Graphics
- Photographic image display is not supported.
- Highly-detailed and complicated graphics can cause large file sizes.
Advantages of Raster Graphics
- It is perfect for Photography.
- Detailed images can be stored in relatively small file sizes.
Disadvantages of Raster Graphics
- Quality loss if resized.
- Some technologies do not support it.
- Raster graphics can not be vectorized, only if redraw.
Despite the big advantage of Raster Graphics with small sizes on detailed images, we avoid raster graphics in logo design due to all the factors already detailed.
Online File Formats
Thanks to the latest online technologies, we are out of the only JPG, PNG and GIF pixelated world. Since the invention and integration of SVG format into the web, we are not limited to minimum and maximum values, and don’t have to worry about quality loss caused by resize. Using Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) we can display logos on the web in vector format. As the Vector Graphics are always sharp and detailed on any size and magnification, logos displayed in this format are always at the best quality.
It is possible that not all browsers support highly detailed and complex SVG formats. This confirms our statement that we always have to create the most simple solution possible. This vector format has the same characteristics as the ones listed above.
Think in wider perspectives at the beginning and it gives you more possibilities later.
By now you may realize how complex and difficult job, logo design is. It is not only graphic design, but application of psychology, marketing, typography, knowledge of press and online technologies through the whole process. An effective and long-life logo design is possible, only if the factors above are taken seriously.
Besides our article analyze this process from many different view, the top secrets and experience will remain in our possession. If you think we “scratch the surface” in this job, and you would like to give us a chance designing a logo, just send us a message in our contact site.