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DESIGNING POWERFUL

LOGOS


To four generations of creative Webers

Designing Powerful Logos Š Copyright 2013 by Bill Weber. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced, distributed, or otherwise transmitted without the express permission of the author. All designs are copyright by their respective owners.

Bill Weber Studios P. O. Box 4004, Valley Village, CA 91607 www.billweberstudios.com


CHAPTER 4

The 7 biggest mistakes in logo design Mistake 1: Thinking logo design isn’t important. We live in a world of very high design standards. People who live in rural towns are exposed to sophisticated design through television, the internet, and the design of their pickup trucks. Open your refrigerator and look at all the beautiful food packaging. The difference between dollar store tissues and Kleenex starts with the designer’s touch. A good designer knows that graphic design makes a difference, and you should, too. Good logo design adds to the perceived value of products and companies. A good logo creates both an intellectual and emotional response in the viewer, thereby creating good will and, by extension, good sales. Logos are also the key to making money in ancillary product sales. People actually spend money on logo merchandise if the logo is cool. Think about how Google dresses up their logo at holidays. Wouldn't you buy a cool "Father's Day Google" shirt for your dad? Especially if he bought stock when it was $85 a share?

Google’s holiday logo for Father’s Day

DESIGNING POWERFUL LOGOS

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At college football games, the great-looking college mascot shirt always outsells the ugly one. How many times have you walked into a deli or pizzeria and seen a t-shirt – with ugly block lettering – collecting dust behind the counter? You don’t want that to be your company’s products. Mistake 2: Not doing research. Of the many factors that contribute to the success of a logo, one of the most important is competitive positioning. Your logo should stand out from the competition. The right design positions you as a leader and dresses you for success. But if you don't research what the competition is wearing, you may end up at the dance wearing the same dress as your rival. It's important for logo designers to check the local yellow pages, the internet, and industry trade magazines to learn what everyone else is doing, what to avoid, and what to do better. Here’s my design for an accounting recruitment firm:

My research showed that the company's competition used monograms and wordmarks with names like AccountStaff and ForwardLife. My solution positioned his business as very human and interested in helping accountants during their long careers. This is also an example of a graphic picking up the slack for a weak company name. Years ago, I was at the New Jersey shore and saw a logo for a company called Shore Automotive. It was a giant sun and an ocean wave with a picture of a Camaro coming out of the surf. On that same vacation I 4

DESIGNING POWERFUL LOGOS


saw the logo for Roberto's Pizzeria. Guess what it was? A giant sun and an ocean wave with a picture of a pizza coming out of the surf. This story is funny when it's about two tiny beach businesses, but it’s not so funny when it’s about two internet companies fighting for attention – or you. Mistake 3: Meaningless acronyms. A friend of mine has a company with a great name: Campus Resources, Inc. He helps ivy league colleges raise money. Before we were friends, he had a logo designed that had the letters CRI in big fancy letters. I offered my critique: "Are you crazy? (He was – and still is – a friend of mine.) CRI sounds like some impersonal collection agency. You have this beautiful name, and you are hiding it behind meaningless initials. I know you don't answer the phone 'CRI,' so this logo can only confuse people.” My redesign? A stylized ivy leaf with the words Campus Resources underneath. This leads me to DPL (Designing Powerful Logos) Rule of Thumb #1: The way you answer your phone should be the way your logo reads. Mistake 4: Meaningless symbols. Nike can get away with a swoosh. But most companies can't. Nike spends millions of dollars in advertising to make sure that people make the connection between swoosh and sneakers. If you want your logo to earn money for you, it has to be done right – which means it must communicate something real about your business. I see a lot of logos made up of blocks stacked on top of each other, or words with a swoosh through them. I don't know what they mean, and potential customers don't know, either.

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This mistake also applies to companies that use globes or mountaintops or pictures of buildings as logos. Unless you sell globes, trips to Nepal, or real estate, keep away from them. DPL Rule of Thumb #2: A logo design that's meaningless is a wasted opportunity. Mistake 5: Slapdash execution. A good logo must not only be well-designed, but expertly drawn so that it will look as good on the side of an airplane as it does on the side of a pen. Everything that is supposed to be symmetrical must be. Every outline that is supposed to be the same thickness must be. If your logo is just slapped together, you're going to be severely limited in what you can use the logo for. Here's an example:

Joey’s before and after renovation.

The original Joey's logo had a peculiar charm when seen on small things like business cards. But as the company grew, they needed proper art to put on their warehouse, their truck fleet, and products. If you're going to pay thousands of dollars for a truck paint job, internet ad, or highway billboard, your logo needs to be ready for its close-up. Mistake 6: Not getting the formats right. In the old days, there were photostat cameras. The artist drew the logo in India ink, and whenever you needed to use it, you stuck it in the camera and made a print of it to size. Every stationer, silk 6

DESIGNING POWERFUL LOGOS


screener, ad agency and sign maker could take the photographic print and do their job. Today, everything is digital. And there is no one standard for stationers, silk-screeners, ad agencies, sign makers and webmasters. They need your art in different formats. And those different formats – .ai, .bmp, .cdr, .eps, .jpg, .psd, .pdf, .tif, etc. – can be a headache, especially if you don't have the one you need. I design packaging for the Good Deed Foundation. The only logo art they had was a small jpg file. It’s on the left.

On the left, bad resolution, stubborn file format. On the right, crisp and flexible.

Jpgs have many limitations. It is not easy to take the art apart and work with cleanly. To enlarge it is to lose resolution. I needed the proper art files, but Good Deed didn't have them and couldn't get them. So I re-drew the logo. The new, improved, result is on the right. Notice that the trademark notice (TM) is now in a better location, that the scroll is now symmetrical (both up-and-down and side-toside), and that the edges are crisp. If the art was available in the right format in the first place, it would have been a lot easier and less expensive for my client.

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Mistake 7: Thinking it’s all about you. While the logo is your face and your signature, other people are going to use it on their websites, Facebook profiles, consumer products reviews, and the like. Did you take the time to prepare usage guidelines before you released it to the world? Is it in a size/color/format that your affiliates, friends, and, undeniably, competition, can use? You have invested in a design that you may not have a lot of control over (the internet is filled with bad design and bad designers), so you’ve got to plan and consider, early on, what’s going to happen when you send your baby logo out into the world. *** The best way to avoid these mistakes is to use a logo design specialist. Professionals have the knowledge, experience, talent and tools to avoid these 7 mistakes and create designs that empower companies, build pride among employees and customers, and contribute to the bottom line. Professionals: ! know about computers, print and web production, and software

compatibility. They will print the job out – actual size – so that you can see what the design really looks like business card size. ! understand copyright, trademark, and internet domain laws to help

keep you out of trouble. They will properly transfer their rights to the design to you. ! work with reputable vendors, like printers and promotional product suppliers, who won’t rip you off. ! get the job done on time and charge appropriately. ! are as dedicated to their work as you are to yours.

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The 7 Biggest Mistakes In Logo Design  

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