Logo Creation 101

Okay, so I’m not a teacher. I just thought I’d grab you with the title. 🙂

Have you ever thought about what goes into creating a logo? I’ve been working with customers for over 15 years trying to help them come up with a face for their business. Some of them have a pretty good idea of what they want, there are others that haven’t got a clue, they will just know it when they see it. Hopefully when you are ready to go to a designer with your logo request, you at least have an idea of the elements that you would like included in the design. Trust me, when you are paying the average designer by the hour, you want to have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for.

When I worked in a print shop, we used to cringe when people would come in with a logo that they had the company that was creating their sign or a high profile graphic artist design. The reason? It wasn’t because it was a bad logo or that the previous designers didn’t know what they were doing. It’s just that sometimes sign media and print media don’t mix. The cringe part came in when we would have to tell them that if they wanted to use their logo as is, it was going to cost them a fortune to have full color letterhead, business cards and envelopes printed. Granted, the prices on full color printing has come down substantially, but full color letterhead is still a little pricey and with it you are usually limited to white paper stock.

Ironically, I am now a freelance graphic designer who does a substantial amount of work for a local billboard and sign company. Go figure. The difference I see in myself as far as graphic design goes is that I worked within a print shop for 10 years. That gave me a pretty good background in what does and doesn’t work in the paper printing world.

Now, back to the logo creation part. I’ve said before that one of the hardest logos for me to create was my own. I don’t use it on hardly anything except for business cards and as my ID on line. However, if I were to decide to use it on something else one day – say formal raised print business cards or letterhead, or maybe even t-shirts, I have made it easy to convert to 1 color.

Granted, the color is better, but the logo that is all blue is still workable. Don’t know if I will ever use it like this, but the important part is that it can be done. So what happens if it’s too late. You’ve already had a really cool logo created by someone that is full color and you don’t want to start over. As long as you’re willing to compromise a little, nothing is impossible. I love a challenge…. (my mantra – have you noticed?)

One of my customers had a new website designed and the web designer came up with a great looking logo. The realized that it wouldn’t be conceivable to use it on letterhead, envelopes and note cards. They asked me if I could convert it into something that could be used if they ever wanted to use it as a one color logo. Here’s the result –

The only element that I added to the logo that isn’t on their website is the pony. It had to be done. If you know anything at all about Chincoteague, Virginia you know that it is synonymous with ponies. The basic elements are all there and it is easily recognizable in either form. Now they can use their logo on just about anything.

Sometimes it isn’t that easy, but it helps if you go to a designer with an open mind and ready to take suggestions, and even give suggestions if you need to. Chances are they are used to customers who want to use a logo in more than one way. Have fun with it, be creative. Hopefully it will turn out to be a logo that people will immediately identify with your business for years to come.


6 thoughts on “Logo Creation 101

    • When I have a possible logo, I may have to run it by you first! 😉 Before I read your post, I was only thinking in terms of a logo for a website, but how that logo translates to a letterhead or business card is also extremely important.

      • It’s something that people don’t think about at first. You can see by the samples how even full color logos can be translated. It’s just easier to do it if you think about other ways you may want to eventually use your logo before you start. Glad the post was helpful.

  1. Thanks for stopping by Sarah, and it’s good to know that I explained it well. One of my favorite things about graphic design is creating a design for someone that is functional but is still what they envisioned for themselves – no matter how raw the material is that they give me to work with. I’m trying to decide what my next post will cover. Hopefully I can keep it informative and entertaining. Right now it seems that this and book reviews are the only writing I am getting in. 🙂

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