Let's Go Logo

Every kid with a Mac and a pirated copy of Photoshop eventually gets asked to design someone's logo.

Whether the request comes from family, a good friend, or friend-of-the-family, the assumption is: "Hey now, don't all you graphic types just know how to shake a logo outta that there electronic box of yours?"

Truth be told: No, but we know how to fake it!

If we can't fake it, then we rip stuff off. As Pablo Picasso is said to have said, "All artists borrow; real artists steal."

Creating a corporate identity is as challenging for the family-owned pizza shop as it is for a newly formed global conglomerate; the client is usually inarticulate as to their expectations or what direction to take, and yet they seem categorically opposed to actually listening to the opinion of the designer whom they have contracted for the job.

Oft times the client feedback sessions come close to echoing the words of Homer Simpson's boss, Monty Burns: "I don't know what I want, but I know what I hate. And I hate that!"

And what's more, a swank logo does not a brand make.

For the latest trends in logo design, check out the Third Annual Visual Trends Report at Graphic Design USA by Bill Gardner of LogoLounge.com. Bill writes:

The word “trend” seems to raise the little hairs on the back of some designers’ necks. Everybody wants to be a you-know-what-setter; no one wants to acknowledge the aftermath. But as we march toward LogoLounge.com’s fifth anniversary, we’ve discovered that trends have become something impossible — and maybe unwise — to ignore.
Some of the 15 trends include leaves, weaves, dots, blurs, washouts, whips and more.

[via Mark Hurst at Good Experience]

Also at LogoLounge, Rob Camper, Principal and Creative Director for Times Infinity
(www.thebrandiseverything.com), writes a guest editorial Brand Discipline Redux: Beyond Brand Identity.

Camper writes of the need for designers to expand--and standardize--their branding language lexicon. He sees The Brand as having multidimensional and constructed of different companents: the Concept, the Promise, Identity, Personality and Values:

Making Design Relevant
So how is a discipline that is more neural psychology than visual imagery supposed to benefit designers? First, the work gets focused, targeted, uber-revelant, and is turned out much more efficiently. We have also seen that an otherwise overly fussy client will bow to a design that might be outside of their personal tastes, when they recognize the opportunity of a greater good being served.

Second, the savvy designer will know when to steer a client toward a real branding regimen when the problems run deeper than needing a new logo. Several years back, Sean Adams (AdamsMorioka) did that for a music video network (VH-1) that was primarily interested in a new visual identity. His recommendation: conceptual ownership. Adams and his team came back with a tighter focus, new programming ideas and a comprehensive visual makeover. The network wanted a Band-Aid; Adams performed a triple-bypass and followed up with serious group therapy.

And third, if designers are to reclaim their position up the food chain with other executives, we need to become more relevant – and that means understanding 'brand discipline'.

For a dose of the counter-branding counter-culture, there is Naomi Klein's No Logo.