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8 Logo Design Tips

logos
It is very important for a company or a professional to have a proper Image in order to shine from their competitors. By creating a logo you are assuring just that.By providing a logo design service you have to make sure that what you are designing is up to a certain standard and can be used anywhere from a simple ball pen to a giant billboard. Achieving this kind of standard requires skill so I have decided to give away specific guidelines that you must follow in order to have a great response straight away from any client.

1. Providing the Service

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Many companies and Individuals spend a lot in their property and equipment but often fail to invest in their logo which is the most important thing that makes their business unique from the rest. People like these end up either with a poor amateurish logo or one that does not reflect what their business is all about. They choose these shortcuts for several reasons the most common ones are either to save money on their initial expenses or they ask a family/friend which has no clue about Graphic Design but probably just basic computer knowledge or good artistic skills.

shake handsFor those who have never practiced design and are reading this post just to make one for themselves do yourself a favour and hire a professional trust me it will save you a headache, time and probably also money.

A general rule for a professional designer to follow before he/she gets hired is to show your previous works A.K.A portfolio so your client can see with his own eyes what you can really deliver. If you can also create a quick logo sample of what you have in mind so your client can choose you with confidence and eliminate any doubt he might have in you.

2. Avoiding the obvious

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Creating a Logo Design that truly symbolizes a company is not an easy task but its not impossible either. Don’t try to take shortcuts by using something ready such as stock logos, logo generator sites, ready made software or even worse clipart! The designed logo must be truly unique in order to create the right impact when someone else sees it so 99.9% these so called shortcuts have been already used by someone else which without doubt increases the chances that the logo is already used. Never try to copy a logo if you try to clone a logo in anyway be assured that people will notice especially if the one you copy from is a well known one.

3. Creating a Timeless Logo Design

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By designing a logo one must consider trends such as bevels, shadows, reflections ecc… When used in most cases these features will make a design look old. A great logo must be timeless and without expiry date and this can only be achieved by avoiding all special effects just keep it clean and simple.

A designer should also know how to deliver a current/modern logo to his client. There are a lot of sites out there who offer logo design ideas such as color and styles some of them also sort them out by business, just browsing through them will help you get an idea of what are the current styles but again don’t copy them. You should also see what the client competition has to offer and figure out where there logos fail.

If you consider the above options designing your client’s logo will be easier since most of the time clients might have seen something they like already and probably are trying to just be better than their competitors.

4. Vector or Raster Graphics?

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image qualityThere is no doubt that a designer must always go for Vector Graphics. The reason being is that with Vector Graphics your design can be scaled up in any size and still keep its quality while fixed Raster Graphics if scaled up will lose quality and get pixelated as shown in the adjacent image.

You can create vector graphics in applications such as Illustrator which does the job quite well. When creating Raster Graphics like most artists you are probably using Photoshop now don’t take me wrong Photoshop is a great application for editing photos, slicing images for web ecc… but when considering that the logo is going to be printed Illustrator or a similar vector program is the obvious choice. There is no doubt that when creating logos Raster Graphics software will double your work as a designer or even triple it when your client has a change and requires further samples. While I know changes can be done with both software its always going to be easier and faster when your design is vector based.

5. Designing without Ego

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Designers how have a lot of self-admiration are common in this business and all they care about is how their work will look in their portfolio rather then how it will reflect within their client’s corporate image.

If like me you have been in this business for quite some time you can spot within a mile where a designer’s had an extra ego boost on a logo design.

The above image clearly shows how a designer can sometimes go overboard just because he likes something. If you have just discovered a cool font or a nice symbol and can’t wait to use it in your next project, please don’t. You have to see if that font/piece of artwork is ideal for your client first and not if it will blend with the rest of your work.

6. Complex Designs

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You know the saying “small detail makes the big picture” well in logo design this saying has to be ignored when you trying to achieve your next master piece. Complex logo designs will often look awful in smaller sizes because they loose that great detail when they shrink and in some cases that same detail will also look like a misprint. Once again its best to leave things simple just look at logos of big pioneers such as PayPal, Twitter, Google or Ebay each one of these companies have a simple logo based on a nice typography which can look the same no matter how big or small.

7. Color Choices

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Believe it or not the best way to start a logo design is in Grayscale. Every client will need to print in these colors eventually so by starting like this will ensure that your logo is print proof.

When choosing colors you should know the difference between CMYK, Spot Colors and RGB. Before you deliver a logo usually you must also supply a diagram of the type of colors used. Even if your client doesn’t ask for one its in your interest to provide them because most of the time the client has no clue about what he needs to get.

coloursC.M.Y.K which means Cyan.Magenta.Yellow and Key Black is used for printing only. When printing the printer mixes these colors in order to match the ones you have used in your logo so a percentage is assigned to each four (see adjacent example image of what you should supply together with the final version of your logo). However if your logo has a specific color you must know that printers will not match it 100% because during large print runs the color varies a lot unless your client chooses to go for digital printing and not offset. If offset is your client’s choice then be ready beforehand and supply a spot color with the logo.

Spot Colors are specific inks that a printer uses to deliver an accurate color. In order to match one of these colors you have to be sure that when designing the logo the colors you are seeing in your monitor are the same when going to print. Things that every designer should have to avoid color issues are a well calibrated monitor and a Pantone Guide which is basically a little book full of ready printed ink samples all tagged with a specific code which corresponds to specific ink. You can apply a spot color to your artwork in so many ways the ideal one would be to choose them directly from Illustrator since it has all the spot color palettes ready for you. If you don’t own Illustrator an easy way to insert a spot color in your artworks is to choose either Cyan, Yellow or Magenta and tell the printer that one of these colors has to be replaced with your chosen spot color which you would have identified beforehand from the Pantone guide.

RGB are the 3 main colors used in a monitor and is mostly used for web/software R is for red G is for Green and B is for Blue by having these three colors mixed you can get any color you want. This method is only used for digital purposes only and should not be used for printing so when your client asks you to give him his logo for a website or banner for instance you must always use this format. If you also have noticed in the diagram above there is an extra color field mentioned which is called Web Safe Colors these are basically like RGB but used in websites. For example the web color of designerbooster.com would be #c6f74d notice the hash in front of the combination? That’s because the web uses Hexadecimal codes to interpret colors.

I must also point out that if you give your client the logo in RGB for printing the colours will not come out right. Same thing applies for CMYK if you try to place your logo with this format online you will spot straight away that the colors are different from the ones you chose. As for Spot Colors this option must only be used for printing purposes and only if the color you chose is a hard one to match.

8. Font Dilemma

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Bad fonts are often the main reason why logos have no immediate impact on clients. Choosing the perfect font is not easy, I remember when I used to spend hours scrolling through my font library just to find a match that goes with what I was trying to achieve. The best thing to do to reduce time searching is to organise your font library this can speed things up quite a bit. You can also find great font sites these days that have categorised lists and also can show you a preview of what your wording will look like in that particular font.

typographyEven with tools like these you still have to choose the right font that blends with your designed icon/symbol. Finding the right balance between the symbol and the font is a good way to start. For example you cant have a strong font with a thick symbol or you cant have a hand written font with a blocky looking icon. Don’t use too many different fonts in one logo remember to keep it simple. You should try to stick with one font and use different weight on it to achieve the right flow. If you really have to use more than one font two different ones are more than enough in a logo design.

If you see a font while searching your endless list which might work just go for it and don’t k scrolling because while you are working on it you might turn it as a solution to your dilemma. What I often do is pickup 2-6 fonts that I think can work and put them all the same position near the symbol and start using thickness, size and colors rest assured that the right one will stand out from the crowd. It’s not the first time that I have removed the main symbol just because the way I styled the font looked better alone!

Something I should also mention is when exporting the logo in vector format also outline the fonts. Remember not everyone has the font installed on their system. If outlining the font is not option supply the font files as well.

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