Logo designing isn’t just about naming the brand, it’s much more than that. Logo designing isn’t just about using a symbol or icon, but it’s about explaining the whole company’s profile. It has to be conceptual, well defined and more elaborately explaining the services or brand’s identity.
Here some questions arise as how to identify the icon of a logo?
1- What exactly is brand identity?
2- What are the three most important parts of logo designing?
3- What is the difference between a logo, an insignia and a monogram?
All these and much more will be discussed in this article giving you a complete insight of logo designing.
Logo is the foremost important item of any company’s profile. It mainly comprises of three most important elements:
- The icon or a symbol
- The font (Typogrophy)
- The color palette
In order to discuss these elements, it’s important to first know why these elements are essential parts of logo designing. Just as a song is composed of several notes and is harmonized to become one great composition, similarly a logo is a harmony, a balance and comprises of all the design principles discussed earlier.
The icon of a logo is a symbol, a simple and direct or indirect messenger of the company. Symbolism has been used as part of designing even in ancient times. As you study the history, you would come to know that the first medium of communication was through symbolism. Symbolism can be direct or indirect. To know this much elaborately you must know what SEMIOTICS is. Semiotics is language of signs, some signs give you a visible meaning but there are signs which have hiddden meanings. These hidden meanings are referred as ARCHETYPES. The archetype is a tendency to form such representations of a motif – representations that can vary a great deal in detail without losing their basic pattern. This representation may convey several meanings to a viewer who have different perceptions.
This symbol misght just be some curved lines of different sizes for many, but actually has an archetypal background also, like the curves may represent speed, power, energy or rapid movement. Whenever you are using any icon or symbol, you must also keep inmind it’s archetypal quality.
Similarly rapid movement, fun, frolic and intensity can be perceived in this symbol. Compare this to a sign like this one from Debellis Branding, which has more basic design and has no distinguishable archetypes.
Same is the case with STEROTYPES. Stereotypes are generalizations, or assumptions, that people make about the characteristics of all members of a group, based on an image (often wrong) about what people in that group are like, which means whatever images or icons you are using you must represent your actual thought or concept in the most true manner. The icons used are mostly very simple because of the fact that logos are usually for printing purposes. A logo must have a quality of great expansion and great contraction without losing it’s quality. A logo which has to come on your business card can also be used for other purposes like embossing, carving or sand blasting. This is why use of gradients, shadows, highlights are never reccomended. They should therefore be vector based and simple.
The second part of logo is the font. The fonts play a very important role in determining the character of your design. Funky, stylish typography is used for fashion icons or any other brand depending on it’s profile. Straight dynamic fonts are powerful, energetic, thus conveying a deep message. Curvy fonts convey feminism and can convey graceful meanings. Just by selecting the fonts from your available list might not be a right choice. The true essence of typography must be understood since fonts have different personalities. There are businesslike fonts, fonts that look educational, fonts that are funny, and others that are clean and modern. Your font also has the added job of being legible, both at large sizes and when your logo is very small. You don’t want viewers to struggle to make sense of your business name, so use a highly legible font that makes your name readable at a glance.
The Color Palette
The third part is the color palette. Colors have different emotional effects and psychological meanings, some meanings understood by everyone and some hidden meanings. Before deciding the color palette of your logo you must know what printing process your logo will go through. What is the client’s budjet, is he affording the four color logo or does he want it to be 2 or 3 color. Are you using any special color like golden or silver which is definitely not just because you want your logo to stand out, but there must be special need of it. Some colors have universal meanings e.g. Red is hot, bold, energetic and maybe dangerous. What is the wavelength of a color? This must be kept in mind. Yellow is warm and to some people a color of hatred. Blue is royal, it’s vast just like sky and so on. Our minds are programmed to respond to color. The subliminal messages we get from color shape our thoughts. As humans our very survival is hung on the identification of color. We stop our cars for red lights and go on green, we look at the color of certain plants and animals to determine whether or not they are safe for us to eat or touch, the bottom line is that color is a very important part of our daily lives. It’s important for us as designers to use color appropriately and understand the meaning behind the colors we choose.
Red as said depicts energy, power and strength is the core element of the above logo.
Similarly blue, the color of vastness, sky definitely is inculcated in the logo of NASA, vey well depicting it’s essence.
Colors that stand out do not necessarily have to beautify your logos. But yes they make them bold, which actually depends on the company’s profile.
Determination of icon, font and color must be coherent with the brand’s identity.
Different brands have different characteristics and one part of it becomes their identity. In other words this is what we call as “Brand Persona”. Persona literally meaning mask very well signifies what we are talking here. Every brand has a special persona which is signified in the logo and later in other advertising. E.g. Coke has a brand persona of “WE”. On the other hand Pepsi has the brand persona of “I”. To further elaborate it let’s discuss with the mentioned examples.
In all the advertising campaigns of Coca Cola there is always a group of people enjoying Coke. The drink becomes a part of celebrations and mingles with everyone. On the other hand Pepsi always becomes a star. One person or a few having some trouble and Pepsi saves them or cheers them up or lifts up their moods, thus becoming “I” the great. These very simple examples portray how brand identity is inculcated in the designs esp the logo. As we say archetypal message in Pepsi is the white part differentiating from the other two red and blue keeping the identity of “I”. Coca cola is curvy, it’s cheerful celebration and is hyphenated joing the two sides…the bond between the two making “WE”. It has waves, the movement and intersection very well defines its identity.
Difference between Logo, Insignia and a Monogram
A logo as already discussed is a very simple identity of a brand. Insignia on the other hand is much detailed, with lots and lots of smaller elements and details just like we see few government and semi government logos. These have a quality of retaining a specific size.
A monogram is with less details, e.g. logos of institutions.
Logo is specific of its simplicity and minor details…the simples the better.
Whatever icon you take, the font you use, the colors, identity, but you want to make sure that the logo you decide on will work well. Many business owners make the mistake of basing their logo choices on their personal preferences. But your ‘likes’ should have very little to do with your logo design. It should be conceptual, lucrative and most importantly should display the brand’s characteristics.