What are logos used for? Why are logos important?

Do graphic designers make logos?

Part of being a designer is having an opinion on visual aesthetic representations of a company, a brand and its identity. As the expert’s graphic designers make logos and these logos are often used for commercial purposes and are very important for a variety of reasons. Often the very first thing we think of when associating a company with its logo is its brand colours and ideals. Logos are more than just a small image with a drawing, writing perhaps and a bit of colour. A well-designed logo takes time to come to fruition since it the fruit of planning, ideas, thought and more planning. The artist or graphic designer will have an agenda or intention to say something (an ideology) which follows the brief given by the client whose logo it belongs to.

Done correctly the logo is self-explanatory so that the person, company or brand does not need to explain their business, as the work has already been done by their logo. So, if you are thinking of making your own logo and designing it alone, remember that there should be something indicative, which explains the business of brands. 

Think back to when you remember seeing a famous company logo and think what attracted your eyes to it? Do you recall what you saw first?
When we look at something, we don’t read first we take in shape and colour. Once the shape and colour are enough to hold our attention, then we’ll read it.  For this reason, the logo is the single most important visual for a company and what the logo represents is as important.

A brand is not a logo although they are indeed closely connected. Market CRM leader Hub spot says “the terms ‘brand’ and ‘logo’ are often used interchangeably. But though a logo can be the symbol of a business, it is not the entirety of a brand.” 

Is the logo important?

Logos are very important for the representation and association with the company but also because the logo is often displayed on websites, merchandise and all though the organisation’s correspondence. For the person making the logo (the graphic designer), the image is a set of ideas symbolizing the ideology of the company or organisation. It is a design that is used for its identity and commonly included in its letterhead, and marketing collateral as an emblem by which the company can easily be recognised- this is also referred to as logotype. The logotype is a graphic representation of a company umbrella identity, trademark or simply its shorter name often uniquely designed for quick identification. The success of any business identity depends on a lot of factors- not just a logo although it is a big chunk of its identity. A brand also needs to be visually pleasing, unique and attractive, one that can make it recognizable anywhere.

What are subliminal messages in logo?

While logos aim to bring instant brand recognition, there are cleaver maintained hidden or subliminal messaging that both conscious and unconsciously aware audiences or end users may spot.

Let’s look at a case study: FedEx

Consider the logo of the postal delivery service organisation FedEx. A close inspection of the FedEx logo reveals that the blank space between the letters ‘E’ and ‘X’ depicts an arrow, which is a fantastic example of an agenda message – that being a pointed direction which in turn also suggests delivery accuracy and a forward-looking business dynamic.  Hence it is the perfect example of a subliminal logo conveying a simple truth; unpretentious, ideological (has an agenda).

Tips when making a logo

Unfortunately, quite often logos can be over-complex and lack simplicity which in turn tends to create unnecessary cross messaging, confusion and unconscious clutter. This is one big part of logo designing, which quite ironically is ignored by both the client and the designer. The client may often dig deep into their pockets and thinks since they’re paying good money for a logo to be designed it should be executed with lots of details, while the designer might think if I simplified the logo, the client would not justify my bill for the work or even doubt on my skill (which might, in turn, lead to no more briefs or work projects.  In this respect, the result will be a complex designed logo, which may not fulfil the needs of the consumer, spectator or audience. 

What software is best for making a logo?

At Blue Sky Graphics we often get asked by students how to make a logo which is part of the syllabus on our Graphic Design Course. We use the many advanced features that Adobe Illustrator offers to create stunning logos- some of which can be found on our portfolio, but also we teach students icons, drawings, logo prototypes and much more. As Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor, all logos (and other artwork) created in Illustrator perfectly scales based on the client’s requirements. Therefore, logos have been and continue to be mostly designed applying vector graphics editors as they allow the graphics to be scaled up or down without any quality loss. In addition, its type tools can be used to add textual elements in logos which is huge advantage.

Let’s look at a logo case study: UK high street bank NatWest bank

This famous UK bank logo was commissioned to Futurebrand.com, a forward-thinking modern design agency.

The bank’s brief was simple and ambitious. Visible, transformational change for a household name. According to Futurebrand, their goal was to make “a new identity that would signal the seismic shift in NatWest’s positioning, from faded British icon to loved brand built around people’s lives.”

In this way the logo emits a new identity and therefore differentiation in a market being reshaped by competition and rival brands, where customers are looking for proof that banks are changing for the better. The NatWest logo comes from the shape of a tower built in the City of London in 1980 (Tower 42) where at the top there resembles that of the NatWest logo – the three chevrons in a hexagonal assortment. NatWest built a corporate tower in 1980 that the footprint was designed around its logo; the building now houses other companies. Further information on the architect of the NatWest Tower can be found here.

What resources are available to make the best logos?

The best logo makers are graphic designers. Blue Sky Graphics Master Graphic Design Tutor Han argues “No prefabricated algorithm or tech-bot, robot or such-like-bot can equate to the natural anatomy of some good old fashion human being judgement!” A logo design app is simply not going to create a branding work of genius – but it could create a basic starting point. Some people are simply looking for a quick, cheap or free logo that reflects their start-up brand until it has expanded enough to merit a full brand identity created by a professional designer or agency.

We offer you 2 of the better logo design websites that are overall fast, sophisticated and good value, but if you have time, passion and creative zest inside you enrol on a graphic design training course and make a logo from scratch.  

Resource 1 is Hatchful

Hatchful is a good place to start as it is easy to navigate and is preloaded logo generator catalogue which allows you to enhance and choose your logo within limits from hundreds of colour combinations and icons.  The nice thing about Hatcher is that you can experiment with logo variations and create a relatively unique logo appropriate for your business needs. Think about those needs and don’t make it too complicated though! 

Resource 2 is Canva

Canva is as fantastic as limited fantastic goes and the browser-based graphic design platform has a great logo design tool among many of its other tool like postcard designs, invitations and social media icons. If you are expecting something as substantial as Coral or Adobe Creative Cloud think again but do expect to find easy to use logo tools and inspirational learning resources that can help to construct your branding. 

Summary

Logos are amazing in their capacity to evoke ideas in the branding and company identity goals of a business can be achieved if the logo is made effectively.

One of the most interesting parts of being a designer is that you get to learn new things with each new project. Every client is different, and even in the same profession, people do their jobs in many ways. 

If you are planning to make a logo our advice is experiment with ideas and to make it easier for agreement to be reached on your design idea between client and creative persona, ensure to ask your client the who, what, why and where questions: Who is your brand for? Why should the customer choose your brand? What do you value to most in your desired goals? Where specifically are you directing your audience towards? 

Those questions might seem quite simple, but they can be tricky to answer, and they will usually lead to further questions about your client’s audience or consumers which give you weight behind your logo design.

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