I came to this conclusion after having quite a lengthy talk with a client that I’m very honoured to say is a close friend of mine. Essentially, I’ve been having a hell of a time working on his logo. The fact that there is a personal side to this project with him since we have this very “bromantic” relationship (those who watch How I Met Your Mother on CBS should enjoy that) makes it difficult to come up with something I know I can feel comfortable with handing off to him. Moreso because there is a sort of constrained creative freedom on this project with knowing his background and the symbolic elements I want to include in it for him.
Up until a couple of days ago, I felt that this was wrong on me. No. It’s not. It’s not wrong on my client either. Just because I spent a good deal of time working on a couple dozen concepts to show him doesn’t mean that I’m any less of a designer. I realized that since there was such freedom in the project that the brand needed to be further defined so the logo could take shape.
If we develop the brand now, the logo will come later.
As a designer I’ve often found myself being asked to design logos. I don’t contend to be a logo designer by any means as what I always end up developing is a very distinct brand and style to my clients’ websites. I develop the brand, and the logo comes later. That doesn’t mean that I don’t design a logo-ish element in my design to represent the company, but by no means is that the final logo. It is after developing this brand and style that I know what direction the logo needs to go in.
So am I telling everyone to stop designing logos forever? Yes and no. Hear me out:
- A logo is a part of the brand. If a brand isn’t defined and organized in terms of how it will be carried about in style and business strategy then the logo is useless.
- I’ll ask you as I did in my previous article on DesignInformer to think about Apple. If we didn’t know Apple as a brand and only looked at their logo, we would say they were apple farmers in the U.S. It’s because we know their brand that we know what Apple is as a technology-related company. Similarly, all of Apple’s products have a distinct style to them that are known to be “Apple.” For example, if you were to dissect an iPod (prior to the touch) and show someone only the turnwheel who had been influenced at some point by Apple, they would know “that’s the controls on the iPod.” An effective brand is one that has many elements and that, even when separated, distinctly represents the company.
- A logo is a very important first impression of a business. Much like us designers judge books by their covers, a logo is the first glimpse at the company through a client’s eyes. While I’m not saying we necessarily design logos that (like Apple’s) are completely off-track from what the company is all about, we need to ensure as well that the brand defines the company. Not just the logo.
What Do You Think?
What do you think of this idea? Do you think it’s more effective to design a logo than a brand? Share your thoughts in the comments below!