A logo is a unique graphic symbol used by companies as an emblem or mark that is identified with their company in the public arena. It is often a figurative or abstract design that may or may not include the company’s initials or name.
Designing logos is an important aspect of graphic design because it visually signifies a particular business or organization. A logo is central to the identification system of a company and as such it extends to all communications that come from the company. The company logo will be incorporated into the organization’s visual identity system and therefore it is among the most challenging designs a graphic designer is asked to create.
There are three separate categories of logos, which can, and often are combined together:
- Pictographs – Representational designs that often become iconic.
- Ideographs – Totally abstract in nature, like the logo for Nike
- Logotypes – Incorporates the company’s initial(s) or name, a wordmark like the M (or golden arches) for McDonalds
One of the most important components of logo design is its color because it often differentiates the brand. This is due to how humans visually perceive images so color and contrast is key in visually detecting details. Furthermore, we all acquire color associations and connotations via our natural cultural conditioning, which affects how we think and feel when seeing a logo’s color.
Selecting the color for a company’s logo is a critical decision because it will be identified with the company forever. Plus, it has a role in differentiating this logo with those of competitors. The method most graphic designers use in selecting the logo’s color(s) is color mapping. It’s basically through the process of elimination. Existing colors of logos are carefully identified, mapped and critically assessed.
The process of designing an eye-catching logo usually involves teamwork. The graphic designer teams up with key marketing members of the company or organization. They start with a clear understanding of the values of the company and the concept the brand is seeking to convey. The target audience must be clearly identified as well.
The entire logo design process involves conceptualizing, research, initial design proposals and alternatives, choosing the design and refining it. Once the logo is designed it must be tested across products before it is finally adopted and used on all company communications, marketing campaigns and products.
In the digital interface world of today, a logo can expect to be continually formatted to fit everything from small handheld devices to large computer screens. With the never-ending changes in size and all the reformatting that goes on, logo designers now tend to use a bolder, more simplified approach. You will notice more solid colors in logos, with heavier shapes and lines. This minimizes confusion when logos are mingled together in small spaces and when they’re being scaled to fit various media.