Many years ago I was an office assistant with Studio4Associates, the Architecture firm owned by my Great Uncle, Professor David Aradeon (NNOM). There I had the opportunity to see the very intense process of how a luxury building begins. It’s a mix of science and art and everything inbetween. Much as I was running errands; being a more tolerable option to stave of boredom as a result of the industrial strike by the universities academic staff union, I loved the feeling of wearing the cap of an Architect. I observed everything. “Observation is the key to mastery” – my father’s words and a keynote quotation that has sunk deep into my heart constantly reminding me of the need to do so. The fact that I was raised in an art inclined background also adds to the zest.
You need to know how privileged I was to find myself resuming in the office of another God-given master craftsman in my family, such that I would run errands and be back in the office so quickly like my life depended on it. Professor Aradeon is a graduate of Columbia University in New York. An awardee of a three-year Ford Fellowship to study the human settlements in West and North Africa. A distinguished teacher of Architecture not just in Unilag but all over the world. He Founded the Sankore Institute for African Environment and Development in Lagos. Co-founder of the non-profit organization “Build With Earth” for the promotion of building with earth. He curated the African Architectural Technology Exhibition for the Festival of African Cultures in Lagos. He was also curator of the exhibition “Views of Lagos”. He has researched on the Movement of Forms, Antecedents of Afro-Brazilian Spaces. And he designed, among many numerous projects, the entire Campus of the Lagos State University, the entire showrooms and offices of the National Council of Arts and Culture in Lagos, the auditorium of the University of Port Harcourt and the National Cultural Complex in Abuja. He has delivered papers in different parts of the world on his works.
So while with Studio4Associates I was able to observe that to achieve what becomes architecture is the result of the balanced integration of artistic sensibility and scientific methodology. This balanced integration is what creates the new result we now call Architecture. Fast forward several years after, now as a specialist logo maker and Chief Design Officer of Nigeria’s foremost logo making company, I have expert postulation of the Architecture of how a logo works. From the great logo works of IBM by Paul Rand, Unilever by Miles Newlyn, H by Michael Beirut, Apple by Rob, Citibank by Paula Scher, these fundamentals I had the privilege to observe under Professor Aradeon applies.
Logo making is a mix of Art and Science just like in the professional practice of Architecture. The role of Art in logo making is to provide the conscious creative arrangement of elements. While the role of science is two fold: to provide the discipline to follow the principles of size, weight, color & composition. And to ensure the favorable conditions of the mnemonics of a logo. The understanding ensuring this mix is what separates the professional from the graphics guy going about touting proficiency in software as the validation to produce a logo.
Now in making a good logo a professional logo maker has to embark upon achieving the balanced integration of artistic sensibility and scientific methodology. A kind of alloy. It is this alloy that becomes the architecture – which is a new result or outcome. Over my many years of experience, I justify the certainty of this mix with regards to logo making as the architecture, on the premise of one definition that says: “architecture refers to a unifying structure”. And this architecture is what becomes how a logo works. No logo can work to fulfill the intention for its design – which is to be “a special mark, symbol or custom made typeface a business needs to be identified and recognized by the public”, without the impact of the architecture. So what is the architecture of how a logo works? It is the combination of parts – being the new outcome of the balanced integration of artistic sensibility and scientific methodology – working together as a whole. And these are:
1) The science of precision;
5) Harmony with the environment;
Let me break it down.
The Science of Precision:
A logos details is very important. Even when the finished product is presented as a free-hand, it will be justified by its composition and symmetry, nothing will be out of place. A curve will be sleek and a sharp edge meticulously defined.
A logo as a vital corporate visual asset functions as the assurance of key attributes of the business like; quality, authenticity, reliability, strength, power, etc.
This is one of the essential ingredients that gives a logo its timeless nature or character. For instance, the three (3) stripes on the logo of global sports kit and apparels – Adidas, have remained in spite of the refresh or changes to the logo at different times since the brands inception in 1924. This is because the three (3) stripes shaped into a triangle on their current logo symbolizes a Mountain, which in turn represents the challenges sports people have to overcome day after day in their quest to triumph or become winners. A logo’s meaning is mostly derived from the vision, core values or outstanding business essence, principles, beliefs or philosophies of a business. Even when the logo is only a typeface, it is still the case.
A good is logo comfortable to use and deploy. This means it possess the required simplicity, enough to ensure that it is easy and cost effective to reproduce. And an instruction of proper use ensures it is easy to manage and secure.
Harmony With The Environment:
Call it environmentally friendly. When it comes to a logo, the human mind is one of its major environments. Hence a logo works with the understanding of how the human mind works. You and I need to be able to instantly recognize a good logo and immediately associate it with the business that owns it. We must connect with it in many positive ways. This is how we become in harmony with the logo and what it stands for. There are cases where some people even feel a personal sense of ownership to a logo. Hence you see it tattooed on their skin.
A good logo is built to last. The workings behind this is based on the source or inspiration behind the logo. A great story or a myth, something of value that inspires the existence of the business grants the logo its longevity.
It is a professional fact that no building designed in the hands of an Architect is purposed to collapse or fail. So it is for a logo in the hands of a specialist logo maker. The reckoning is the same because of the Architecture of how it works in both professions.
First released in FREIA Magazine published by Luxury Villas Group. Written by Dayo Abiola – Chief Design Officer of Dayo Abiola – Nigeria’s foremost logo making company.