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Art or Craft? Nevertheless, Not a Casual Undertaking

Logo Design for Businesses

A distinctive and appropriate logo is a good thing for any business that has public recognition. Too many businesses, big and small, don't understand the value of a logo as a simple, visual icon by which the public — and their customers — can immediately identify and associate the goodwill and image of an enterprise.

Logo Design of My Own Concocting. The Resource Systems logo at the upper left is, in all probability, not one of my most inspired or detail-sweated logo-design efforts (but it's grown on me over the years — although I'm not the target audience for it). One seldom has much time to invest in self-promotion, even when it's in one's best interest to do so. All I can say, therefore, about the RSS design is that it incorporates in three, parallel vertical design strands, a suggestion of the company acronym, R - S - S. Do you recognize these suggested letter forms in the logo's execution?

It also follows a fundamental set of design rules that provide the foundation for effective and proper logo creation:

  • It's simple enough to reproduce well as a monochromatic execution (i.e., looks okay in black in white);
  • Can scale well to fit on a lapel pin and still look discernable and reasonably clear — or enlarged will convey a properly balanced presence on a billboard; and
  • Is consistent and complementary with the larger corporate or company image. In other words, the logo does not suggest anything via its graphic image that would be contrary to the larger, productive "corporate identity" to which it is associated.

Not all logos, some of mine included, align consistently or completely to the above tenets, sometimes for reasons beyond the designer's control.

glenco logoAn example of which is the logo at the right. I was commissioned to design this by my employer, who had just launched a new subsidiary. He wanted the logo to embrace the units of energy supported by the company (a gas flame, an electric bolt of light, and even a lump of coal), as well as the states served.

Obviously, including all of these elements would make for a complex image. Although so doing would undermine the fundamentals laid out previously, there is another cardinal rule of design that has nothing to do with design but, rather, with customer relations, survival and common sense:   listen to the customer, particularly if it's your boss. (Fortunately, I was able to omit the lump of coal from the logo.)

Stonefield logoStonefield.™ This logo, commissioned for a real estate developer, needed to convey a sense of — you guessed it: stone — and a rustic, serene simplicity. I created it in Adobe Illustrator, using some of the application's basic effects in order to gently bump and roughen the edges of what began as a circle, that it might convey a rustic sense of open-field stone.

BRPAW Color Logo BRPAW™.  I was asked to design a logo for the Business Recovery and Prevention Association of Wisconsin, and this one of two or three different approaches I presented and, ultimately, was the one that was selected. I can't recall the design parameters or symbolic associations that guided this design. Perhaps there were none. The original, however, was done as a greyscale for printing simplicity. The color was added strictly to enhance this page.

DEFC animated Logo DeForest Evangelical Free Church.  This was a pro bono effort and, obviously, the printed logo is not an animation. Nor is the logo as executed on the street front sign. The cross symbol is the obvious element; the line art underneath it suggests both a church rooftop and the head of Man underneath as well as, and perhaps more notably, the fingers of a pair of hands reaching up in praise and unity.

A Brief Evaluation of Logo Design Elsewhere.  One might presume the modern generation of logo design was begat, whether implicitly or explicitly, with the debut of the AT&T logo I have erroneously believed this logo to be a David E. Carter design, and have had two sources recently contend it to be a Saul Bass agency creation. In any event, the trend they helped beget — that of iconic-based logo design — has pervaded, guided or inspired much of mainstream corporate identity design since. It also was enhanced for use by computer-based designers with the development of vector-based applications that made creating bezier curves so tempting — programs such as Adobe Illustrator and, soon afterwards, MacroMedia FreeHand (originally an Altsys product).

For the most part, I tend to prefer iconic logos as well, although it isn't always the most suitable approach for all customers. Like boilerplates, no approach or philosophy is a good fit for all they corporate, or the ones with an actual pulse. (This is not a slam; legally, corporations are persons, but they only derive a pulse from the breathing, organic, living creatures that are employed by the corporate entity. Therein lies the distinction.)

More to this dissertation could get me going, if and when I find time to do so..Until then, a minor text update (correction), posted 24 May 2002 and a fix to the cascading style sheet implementation at page end, 24 May 2003.

Stay tuned.