Factors influencing logo design

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Format

There are three common formats for a logo:

  • Image & Type — Includes a literal or symbolic graphic with the company name positioned close to but separate from the graphic.
  • Type-based — A specific font in a specific color is used for the company’s image. Creating a type-based logo or “logotype,” requires more than selecting a font and typing a name. In these logos, letterforms are adjusted and spaced in a unique combination and treated as art.
  • Integrated — A one-piece logo, incorporating graphics and type together so the name and graphic becomes one unit. Companies that use only initials frequently employ this format.

 

Direction

Design development of the logo generally follows one of three directions:

  • Graphic — Literally describes the company’s activity, such as choosing a tree or a shovel to depict a landscaping company.
  • Conceptual — Conveys an abstract quality of the company, using geometric or symbolic shapes to express a non-tangible aspect.
  • Neutral — Relies on font choice, weight, shape, spacing and color rather than imagery to convey the message.

 

 

Style

Color, font and format choices assist in building an impression.

  • Traditional — Achieving a classic image calls for timeless shades of red, navy and forest green. Choosing an elegant script or serif font like Vivaldi, Times or Palatino, as well as creating a balanced layout reflects a traditional image.
  • Modern — Companies looking for a contemporary image should consider modern elements. Sans Serif fonts like Helvetica, Myriad and Eras offer clean lines and simplicity. Brighter colors, unusual combinations and multiple hues are appropriate. Modern designs are often structured and grid-like, or asymmetrical.
  • Casual — When a relaxed image is called for, a casual style may be needed. Fonts that mimic handwriting, script or graffiti, such as Papyrus, Curlz and Comic Sans are in this category. Casual styles avoid a stiff, formal corporate image, using vivid hues to warm tones.

 

Uniqueness

It is important to be aware of the images around you. Creating a logo that is inappropriate for your industry, too close to a competitor’s, or reminds viewers of another company can sabotage communication. A logo should be like a fingerprint, one of a kind.

Logos have many elements that can be coordinated to deliver maximum impact. When developing an image to reflect a brand, consider these key points for aligning visuals with the verbal and experiential message of your company.

 

Language of color

The use of color in graphic design is a powerful tool for eliciting an emotional response from the viewer. When used correctly color has the ability to influence how the audience perceives a product, service or company. Careful consideration must be used to determine the correct use of color.

Dark blue is a great color for corporate business; it is no mistake that many corporate logos and business suits are this color. It is symbolic of trust and reliability. Blue is a poor color for the food industry, mainly because it isn’t a common food color.

The one exception would be for a food product aimed at young children who are excited by novelty. Take a look at the major fast food restaurants and you will mainly find warmer colors such as yellow and orange in their logos and interior decorating. These colors have been found to elicit a hunger response and are associated with food, so it makes sense for these companies to use them.

In a world already full of acronyms and codes, who would have thought that something as simple as color could join in the confusion? Knowing the different color models and how they are used is not only helpful in getting the visual results you want it is critical to staying on budget.

Of the many color models available, there are really only three in which you need any fluency: CMYK, PMS and RGB.

 

CMYK Color

CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. It is commonly referred to as four-color process and is the model used for printed material. These four colors combined and layered on paper allow the creation in theory of all colors. Any printed item can use all or some of these colors and the price of the printing is greatly influenced by how many colors are used in the creation of the design. A one-color print will be far less expensive than one using all four colors.

PMS Color

Pantone colors are used in the printing process when you want an exact color match. Pantone color is used in the design of logos and corporate identity. If you specify pantone color for a print job, the color will be exactly as you want it from one printed piece to the next. So if you are looking for consistency in your color it is best to specify the use of Pantone color.

If you have a brochure printed for your company, you would probably have this done using the CMYK model, but to insure the company logo looks exactly as it should you would have the logo printed using a Pantone color, this is commonly referred to as a spot color. The use of spot colors will increase the cost of printing, but is necessary if you want a consistent look throughout all of your printed material.

If you are using a printing service, and specifying the use of a Pantone color, then the color should be consistent from one print job to the next. If the color isn’t consistent then you need to find another printer to do your work for you.

One limitation of Pantone colors or any ink is the type of paper that your design is printed on. A Pantone color on glossy or coated paper will not look the same on an uncoated or plain paper. So your color will be very consistent between print jobs, but is influenced by your paper choices. Your printer should be able to make adjustments to compensate within reason, but don’t expect the same quality on newsprint that you get on your business cards. A good printer can make adjustments so that your printed material looks the best, but they are also limited by what you are willing to spend on materials.

RGB Color

RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue. This is the color model used for what you see on your computer monitor or television. Since the color used for web design isn’t meant to be printed there are no cost limitations on the use of color for the web.

At one time color use was limited to what are called web safe colors for the design of web sites. These colors were used because of the limitations of the then current technology. Today we don’t have these limitations and can use the full range of colors available. The rules of color psychology still apply, and good design will use the best colors to elicit the desired response.

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