Part 2 in a series on creating your identity with DC based professional graphic designer/artist Jack Hernandez. Catch up with the earlier post here, Logos & Identity Part 1: Not just for your clients
As I mentioned in the previous post, branding is one of the most important steps to establishing an identity in the public eye, whether you’re Coca Cola or the local government.
The next in this series will discuss the difference between a government logo and a government seal and why both are needed.
Jack has a terrific sense for branding and identity. Here he discusses variations in the formats and designs of logos for different kinds of media.
In developing a logo for Red Boot Media, a start-up new media venture, my client and I established a name that she identified with – one she could identify with on a personal level but that would translate well professionally and in practical design. Sometimes a business name has already been established. In such a case, you can still get clients involved in developing their logo by discussing art styles they are particular to and asking them to search for image samples online that they may like.
Nowadays, when approaching the actual design of a logo, there are several things to consider. More than likely, a logo will see use not only in print (business cards and stationary) but in digital mediums formatted for online browsing or integration in social media and presentations. A logo must be flexible, with components that can be rearranged to accommodate a business’ identity on any electronic platform.
There is a basic checklist that I follow when designing a logo’s appearance. Each item represents a way that the logo will be used and poses questions that will help with developing a solid design that will endure any form of media. I always assume that all logos will be used in each way (eventually).
- Printed media – This will be your main logo, probably the one you register. When possible, it should be designed with a limited color palette, avoiding too many gradients and fine details. Does it convert well into grayscale or black & white? If too many details and colors turn your logo into gray sludge, get back to the drawing board or create a specific gray/B&W palette for it.
- Website logo – A low-res version of the printed logo that will more than likely look exactly the same. Sometimes, you may want your logo to have a transparent background. Do small text or fine details get lost when your logo is placed over color? Perhaps you need a version without taglines or slogans.
- Iconic Logo – From the web icon in your browser’s url bar, forum avatars, Facebook portraits and linked versions of your logo converted into a button or thumbnail, the web has become populated with “square” images. Can your logo fit in a square with minimal white space? Can it be cropped to fit in a square and still be identifiable? Can your logo be simplified to a version that will? If your logo or an element of your logo is reduced to an extremely small size, will it be a pixelated smudge or can it hold it’s shape?
I’m not going to claim that this checklist is the holy grail, but by following it, your final logo design will be flexible for use in any media. Red Boot Media’s final logo selection is versatile – the main logo says it all and reproduces well on printed materials. It can be cropped for other print projects and digital application on the web with or without the tagline. The simple “rb” icon or cropped red boot can be used in avatars and even tiny 30 x30 pixel icons and still retain its form.
That said, don’t forget to remind your clients never to throw away the EPS file they can’t seem to open.