Good logo design begins with getting a written creative brief from the client or, if needs be, after meeting and talking with your client, make one up yourself and get it approved.
It should tell you as much as possible about the company and/or brand, its values, personality, positioning, desired image, USP, target markets, customer profile, and where and in which media the logo will appear (web, print, TV, cinema, out-of-home, corporate gifts, and so on). Keep in mind that the logo is the graphic device which represents the visible face of the brand to the world. Assume that it will appear in dozens of never-thought-of applications over time.
Rule Number 1. Design Logos Using Scalable Vector Graphics
See the difference? Scalable vector graphics (left hand image), enlarge or reduce almost indefinitely without losing quality. Bit-mapped or raster images tend to become pixellated (aliased) which means they lose definition, becoming fuzzy and blurred the more they are enlarged. In short, they’re not scalable.
Rule Number 2. Design Logos in Black On White
The implications here are that any logo which is dependant on colour, texture, or other nice effects or treatments, is going to run into trouble. If the logo doesn’t work in plain black, it simply doesn’t work. Even if the printer can reproduce it on the biz card, think about a foiled logo on a corporate gift. Or a reversed out version. Or a sign made of concrete and brushed steel. Etc.
Design in black first. Then when you and the client agree that the core design is what’s required, you can add colours and any other effects.
Example A: The black design is worked up on a white background first.
Example B: Shows the logo worked up in full colour from the outset using effects to create the cooler more interesting design.
Note! the following logo examples are for illustrative purposes and are not indicative of good or bad design.
While Example B may look cooler from the get go, it gets into trouble when it’s produced in a single color. Reversing it out makes it worse. So, while the full colour and all the treatments version may look sexier to the client to begin with, it’s not at all flexible, and may not transfer well to other mediums.
Example A, on the other-hand, may seem a bit boring or too simple, but once you’ve established the core design in black, it’s flexible. You can fool around with it and make it as sexy as you like (for different applications), without making it unrecognisable. Voila!
Xross That Line!