July 4th, 2010

Here are the so far definitive laws of logo design that I practice. Are these and industry standard? Hardly. Should they be? Perhaps. As I have over 15 years of professional logo and design experience, there is a lot of thought and effort that has gone in to defining these rules. That being said, I am still doing my best to refine them and I would love to get your help and input to assist in that refinement.

The fact is, as every logo is supposed to be unique and memorable, so too are the rules that guide their creation. The goal here is a general set of foundational axioms that, depending on a given project, should be applied with various weight. In other words, the importance of each of these rules is specific to each unique logo. A logo that is heavily dependent on text, for example, might find that the most important rule is one related to letter space and kerning. A logo that is more iconic may very well find its foundational aspects to be more color or line-weight specific.

When designing logos the important thing to always remember is simple: A truly unique mark requires a unique approach.

here are the laws of logo and brand identity as I have so far refined them:

1. THERE SHOULD BE A REASON FOR EVERYTHING. – The line widths and thicknesses, the colors, the font styles the shapes, the spacing the overall ’shape of occupied space’, the negative space – all of this needs to have a reason.

2. EVERY ELEMENT EXISTS IN RELATION TO EVERY OTHER. THEY NEED TO BE CREATED WITHIN CONTEXT. - we have to think beyond the context of the logo itself here – we  have to co0nsider its current and future usage, its various potential applications, etc., etc..

3. CREATE A SET OF RULES THAT GUIDE THE GENERATION OF EVERY LOGO. FOLLOW THEM PRECISELY. - As each logo is unique, each requires a specific approach. Create guidelines that will help you get to your final destination in a strategic, organized manner.

4. IF THE RULES COMPROMISE THE EFFECTIVENESS OR READABILITY OF THE LOGO, CHANGE THE RULES. - Sometimes, as we go through the process of development, new question and/or concerns arise. DO NOT IGNORE THESE! Embrace them, and alter your design strategy accordingly.

5. EMBRACE THE CLIENT’S PERSPECTIVE AS ANOTHER CHALLENGE TO THE FINAL DESIGN – NOT AS A ROADBLOCK TO YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS – this one is often the most difficult to embrace. However, if you do in fact have a strategy and a reason for all aspects of what you are doing, you can easily and effectively justify the choices you are making. In doing so you educate the client in the process, the result of which is at least better rapport with a better educated client. The more important results of this is a better educated client – a client that will make informed decisions rather then emotional subjective ones.

6. THE RESULT SHOULD BE A FINISHED PRODUCT. - What I mean by this is, the final logo should address all the questions and concerns of the client, the designer and the marketplace. As this blog has readily suggested, there are a lot of good ideas and good directions that are not taken through the important steps of refinement and finalization. The unfortunate result of this is potentially less impact on a exponential scale. If the final details are left incomplete, then you have not finished your job and have done a disservice to both your own integrity and your client.

Logo Rebuild #003- Pacific Blue Foundation

January 11th, 2010

Welcome to the South Pacific….

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Logo Rebuild #002 – Kruger Armor

December 29th, 2009

Okay, so time for another redesign! This was for a client, Kruger Armor. They basically build custom cars that can withstand bomb blasts and sniper fire. here is the original logo:

kruger logo

Once again, given their business, this logo has many appropriate characteristics… and many issues.

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Logo Build #001 – MyShoDog

December 8th, 2009

So, in this logo, we will apply the rules I set forth in my earlier post, Logo Appraisal #001 and build this bad boy out. came to me with the intent of skinning their portal site, built on an ASP Net 3.5 platform. An interesting project I was excited about, and then I saw the logo I had to work with.

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Logo Appraisal #001

November 23rd, 2009

I was traveling this past weekend and spotted this Neal Electric truck at the airport. The logo? It made me sad…Why? Well, this is a perfect example of a good foundation that was not seen through to it’s real potential. I aim to fix that, just for the hell of it. Well, not just for the hell of it -  as an example that will extend to you the philosophy, rules and process that guide my designing.

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Logo Rebuild #001

November 19th, 2009

When working with new clients, you often have to work within the confines of their existing branding. On many occasions, that branding is terrible and you just have to deal with it. On other occasions, the idea is there, but not fully developed or simply poorly developed. I recently worked with another design company on a logo, for example. The finished product they sent me consistent of an iconic mark, which I didn’t love and a typeface that was straight out of the box: no kerning corrections, no letter bar or spacing corrections… it was terrible. More terrible yet, they charged a very high price for what I considered a logo that was only half completed.

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Design Evolution Study #001

November 19th, 2009

This is a quick example of a quick greeting card design and it’s evolution…

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A matter of perspective

November 19th, 2009

My friend Tracy forwarded me a link to the following video clip entitled, ICL New York State of Mind. After watching it, consider how art and design is obviously a creation of a particular artist, their unique perspective and tools available to them. Read the rest of this entry »

Photoshop revisited

November 18th, 2009

A cool take on the photoshop tool palette… Read the rest of this entry »

Design Gods – The Introduction

November 18th, 2009

As a long time professional designer, I have developed not only specific design protocols and techniques, but an important philosophy that guides everything I create. This philosophy is ever evolving and the purpose of this blog is to nurture its evolution in a more collaborative environment; it is important to me that the final principals that define this philosophy are discussed and debated within the larger design community.

The goal of the Design Gods Blog is build on some fundamental realizations that my many years of designing, illustrating and creating have brought forth as my own personal truths.

I hope to find that these truths have universal appeal to other professionals in the creative field and that the meaning and value of these truths can be better defined and focused. Ultimately, I hope to generate a designer’s manifesto – that is, a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives, that will serve as a guide to designers and creative professionals across the board.

The foundational aspect of this design philosophy is pretty straight forward:

We, as designers, are the Gods of our creations.

The implications of such a statement are far reaching and complex. Firstly, such a statement sounds pretty egocentric to those who, on a daily basis, are not creating things. One must first accept the postulation that, for example, a logo designed today did not exist yesterday. It is new to this world, to our reality, the brainchild of it’s creator.

What does this mean? There is no simple answer to this. We can talk about the effort, the energy, the commitment and passion, the work, etc., etc., that went into it’s creation. We can talk about the variables that needed to be considered – the client, the marketplace, the demographic it needs to appeal to, the inherent values it needs to express. And what about the tools we used to create it? And what about the financial limitations associated with any given project and how these limitations interact with our artistic integrity?

I hope, through this blog, to fuel a meaningful conversation on all of these topics. That will happen in good time. For now, let’s just consider what being a God of our creations entails. Let’s investigate the commitment and responsibility it implies and how it guides us through the act of creating.