Unless you’re a graphics designer, you may never design a brand’s logo. But it doesn’t hurt to know the “rules” of good logo design. You can use them in evaluating proposed designs, and you might use them when interviewing logo designers for an assignment.
Jeff Fisher, Engineer of Creative Identity, at Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, has compiled the thoughts of several logo designers of his acquaintance about the rules or guidelines they will normally apply to designing a logo.
You can see the entire article by clicking logo design.
I derived three rules the designers seemed to agree upon, and strangely enough, so do I. They are:
1) Begin with a creative brief of some sort. Be sure you know the vision, mission, goals and capabilities of the client. Define your major markets. Determine the “tone” you wish the logo to possess. Know the applications the logo might find itself applied to.
2) Start “doodling” designs in pencil and in black and white. The pencil gives you freedom to sketch and refine without the “discipline” of computer design software. Once you’re ready to prepare “comps”, use a vector-based program (Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, Macromedia Freehand or Xara Extreme). But continue to design in black on white. (Adding color(s) can clearly enhance the design, but the logo will also be required in the one-color version first. If it works in black and white, it’ll work in color.)
3) Keep the designs simple. There’s the temptation to use all the features of a full-fledged design program – gradient fills, drop shadows, extrusions and the like. You also want to keep the number of elements and colors to a minimum.
Another “rule” I impose on logo designs: Don’t resort to incorporating a name’s initials. Monograms are fun and visually appealing, but unless your company name is made up of initials only – a bad idea to start with – they direct people to use the “shorthand” instead of the name you so lovingly crafted.
And then the article discusses the need to know when to break the rules.
Incidentally, Jeff Fisher’s blog is filled with good advice about logos and other aspects of branding and graphics. I recommend it.