Logos to the right are designed by Dayo Abiola.
Quite often, people send me their logo for my viewing pleasure and of course, more importantly for my opinion. From a vast majority of near disaster logos out there, I am ever so happy seeing the few I almost literarily give a standing ovation. SMEs in Nigeria and across Africa find themselves owning, using and to a shocking extent, adopting from the internet, very poor logos.
Acquiring a good logo should never be out of reach to any business. However, I realised it is not the unavailability of a good logo that’s the problem, rather it is the lack of awareness of a what a good logo is. This been the case for both the client and the supposed service provider – the untrained graphics designer.
A good logo – I have postulated, is one that “must easily install in people’s memory”. This means it must be simple and memorable. I’d vote for a properly stylized font based logo than one with a baggage of graphics, especially with incongruence. Such a logo will fail to attract people’s respect for the business even if they don’t tell you. And with fast dwindling attention span, people won’t even remember to connect the logo with your business in their mind. A brand will never be built with both or either of these as outcomes.
So to more technical and professional know-how about a good logo. The following are a must do, a must know and a must-must!
1. Your Designer Must Request A Brief From You: A brief is like a useful summary of the business. It will contain the ingredients needed to guide a professional designers creative, psychological and intellectual thinking towards making a logo.
2. A Good Logo Must Be Easy To Reproduce And Consistent To Manage: 3D, graffiti or medieval style patterns – wow! as they may seem are a nightmare for print production especially on a low budget. It will usually never come out right. And it’s not the printers fault. This is the same for logos with multiple colors. If you’re a small business, and its not like you want to always spend a fortune on printing stationery, a professional designer knows to keep your logo on one or 2colors max.
3. A Good Logo Is A Custom Made Product: Yes! It should be exclusive as much as possible to your business. For example the brand ORANGE – telco giants – is a simple font based logo, sitting offset in white on a bright orange square. However, there’s a custom edit to the font. Obvious as the font type may seem, it can’t be replicated exactly. Unless you have the secret to the way it was custom made. One reason pulling something from the internet is outright BS!
4. Yours Truly, What Does Your Logo Mean? Big brands use their logo to justify or support the new trend of brand story telling. Or as well use to promote their unique industry position. This is same for smartly run SMEs. Only a logo made to mean something can do this. In today’s world a logo has gone beyond just a unique identifier for a business, to a corporate visual statement or an unspoken message convener. Whichever way, it has to say something meaningful. The sum total of shape or graphic elements, font and color all must mean something to say something. A designer shouldn’t just use blue when you want people to see your business as friendly or warm or it’s not pertinent to your industry. A font that’s cursive or Gothic shouldn’t be used when you’re not a women style magazine or heavy metal rock band. Fonts are depictive and so inspire meaning as well.
5. Thinking Outside The Box Is Great: A good logo is one that is also crafted with witty research based results, using from conventional to unconventional representation. What I sometimes call #smartlogo. It requires a bit of adventure, imaginative exploration and outsourcing from the para-normal to achieve logos of this kind. However, one thing should be clear, it will always be designed with simplicity. This itself is the essence of intelligent and functional creativity.