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We notice many calls for logos these days. It seems that a site or other group calling for logo submissions is almost a weekly event in the skin and art communities.
A few weeks back, I wrote a piece about logo design. The intended audience was not necessarily the skinning community, or raster artists in general, but the truth is the truth — no matter where you find it, and I have been designing corporate identity for years…
There are, of course, major differences in designing for a website and a corporation. And as well, there are major differences in being hired, and simply being asked to submit. But a lot of the concepts put forth in this article hold true in any logo design process.
So I include it in this issue for your perusal.
A company's logo is their visual identity. It must represent all of the employees, characterize the company on all printed materials, and be a featured item in all the company's advertising.
The most difficult job for any artist or graphic designer is the corporate logo. A client's opinion of what best represents his or her business tends to change from day-to-day, or moment-to-moment, but the company logo must remain the same. It is necessary for the logo to please the client even as this change of opinion occurs.
The designer should spend as much time with the client as possible before beginning the design process. The artist should try to visit the client's office, look over the client's existing print materials, and any trade publications that might be found on the premises. The more information an artist can absorb about the client before the initial design process begins, the greater the likelihood that the initial design will be appreciated.
The design of a corporate logo should always be based on shapes — not colors. A company that takes the time to hire a professional designer will likely want their logo printed in many formats, some of which will not allow for color. For example, die impression printing cannot render color and is often used by larger companies for promotional and advertising material. Also, much of the barrel press industry does not allow for color.
Some clients will want to use custom typefaces they have ‘discovered’ over the Internet in their logo design. The artist should discourage this practice. It is incredibly difficult to trace the copyright on a custom typeface that has not been purchased from a legitimate source. Inform the client that their company could incur large monetary punishments for using an unregistered or unlicensed typeface. This will usually persuade them to use a public domain font, or to purchase a font from a reputable type foundry.
Knowing when to quit can also be an important part of the design process. It is wasteful for an artist to expend hours on a job that is not progressing. If the client and the artist are not making progress in their project by the third round of submissions, the artist is not the right person for the job.
If an artist finds that he is not a good match for the client, this fact should be brought to light and the artist should resign the commission. The client will appreciate the consideration, and the artist will have more time to work on projects that are moving forward.
— Ken Ray, February 25th 2003