To begin, let’s define logo. According to The New Oxford American Dictionary, logo is defined as "a symbol or other small design adopted by an organization to identify its products, unifor, vehicles, etc." This is a great definition. Often we deal with clients who feel a logo must include the name of the company. While many logos do, many more do not. The idea behind a logo is to create a recognizable graphic element to represent the organization or product. Then this graphic is used on business stationery, in advertisements, and on websites, uniforms, signage, etc. Remember, it’s a symbol that identifies the company or a particular product.
So don’t get hung up on the idea your logo must include your company name. Some names are quite long, making for a very busy logo if it’s included. A good example of a logo separate from the name is our own. The logo is just the stylized palette, quill, and mouse. When the company name is added, it’s set in the font Caflisch, but the name isn’t part of the logo itself. The position of the name changes depending on where it’s being used. For instance, on stationery, it runs out to the right of the logo, but on our uniform shirts, it’s on two lines, centered under the logo. So while the company name may be positioned with the logo, it’s not a part of it.
A well-designed logo works well in a wide range of sizes—from business card size to outdoor signage. It also must work as a single color, as on a fax, up to full, four-color process printing if needed. Ideally, a logo illustrates your product, service, or business name.
Starting a logo is the most difficult part. Often, clients aren’t sure what direction they want to take with their logo. To smooth this process we have some suggestions. First, look around at the logos other businesses are using. They don’t need to be in the same industry—just look to see what type of logos appeal to you. Do you lean toward modern, clean designs? Old-style or retro looks? Elegant or artistic script? Playful and colorful?
The next step is to decide what image you want your logo to project. For instance, a financial institute might want to project a stable, strong image while a hair salon might want something more artistic. What image do you want? Professional? Old-fashioned? Conservative? Clinical? Modern or technical? Friendly? Fun? Family-oriented? You get the idea.
Our logo provides a good example of a logo creating the image we wanted, while also representing the company name and what we do. We wanted a logo that would be unique and show creativity. It’s drawn in a modern stylized manner, using elements from our name. The quill and mouse come straight from the company name, while the mouse "tail" becomes an artist’s palette symbolizing "studio" as well as the graphic design portion of our services. This clean design works fine in one-color and is simple enough to cleanly come through on a fax, or in the small size needed on a business card.