The company I work for part-time wanted me to update their logo. The one they have is low-resolution and they needed a high resolution one for big print jobs or posters. But what they should’ve said is “I want the same exact logo as before–just make it high resolution.” The version they had you can hardly call a logo. All it is is a brush script font and for a “graphic”, they just made the O really big. They are an oxygen supply company so that was their graphic. I knew they weren’t really apt to change, but I did try to make it look better. They ended up opting for the old one. Oh well. I created it, but it sure isn’t going in my portfolio.
Bad Design = No Respect
A lot of people think they know what good design is. The other day, I laughed extremely hard (probably harder than I should’ve) at this app that was being advertised on Facebook. You can see it here. The comments underneath had me crying. Someone said the designer should be fired. I had to agree. The picture looked better before they tried to make him look younger. How sad. Some people should not be allowed to make design decisions. Period.
It makes me cringe when I see bad design. Someone who has no clue what good design is goes into Paint and starts making ugly ass “logos” and calls it a graphic. It’s totally not. You can use Microsoft Word or Paint to create a high quality, high resolution logo. It just doesn’t work.
I’m not an expert, but I know what looks good and what doesn’t. Some people are just better at it. I mean, if you were any good at it, you’d just do it yourself, right? Why hire someone or ask someone to help you with branding only to shoot down their ideas and stick with what you already know. There’s a good reason no one wants to click on your website links. The first thing they see is your logo, or lack thereof, so it makes a ton of sense that they aren’t clicking. First impressions matter.
When you have a nice logo that is consistent on brochures, websites, social media, and on signage, customers and prospective customers tend to recognize the high quality of your branding and associate it with trust.
So how can you tell if your logo is bad or good? Here are a few ideas.
The font should match your company or brand.
The one issue I had with the company I work for was they were using a brush script font. Script fonts are feminine. The company I work for is not at all feminine. Think good old boys, lots of men, and welding. Does brush script really match the feelings of the company or it’s customers? I’d say a big fat NO.
Think about the kind of font you are using and if it conveys a message you are trying to send. There are a lot of great commercial fonts and font bundles online to choose from, so there is no reason to use fonts that come standard with your computer.
The graphics used should portray the company or brand message.
My company used a giant cursive O with a small 2 underneath for “oxygen”. This isn’t totally awful, but it might’ve been better if they used a font that wasn’t cursive and had the O2 created with textures, or possibly sparks around it. Anything that would give the focus of the company’s message would be better than a cursive O2.
That’s not to say that simple isn’t better. Look at all the brands out there like Target, Amazon, or even Facebook. Their logos use simplicity. Target is memorable because you see the bulls-eye and you know right away it’s Target. Taco Bell has the purple bell above it’s name. It doesn’t have to be fancy, over-the-top, or outlandish to be a good logo. It just has to send the right message.
A good logo will convey to others that you have a trusted brand.
Think about it. If you have a logo with bad design, what are you really telling people about your company? Good design will send the message that you care about your business, product, and your customers, while bad design is like saying, “I don’t really care. I just threw this together half-heartedly”. Why would anyone want to do business with someone who uses a pixelated, stretched out, ugly logo? If you want to connect emotionally with potential customers and current customers, it’s a good idea to invest in branding the right way.
A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company.
-Marty Newmeier, The Brand Gap
Another point is, if you don’t believe in your company or brand enough to invest in it, why would anyone else?
Good design means good file formats.
Logos should be created in high quality programs like Adobe Illustrator. They should be saved in AI and high resolution .PNG formats. You should be able to put your logo on anything you want and not have it look like crap. You should have web and print versions of these files too. Print versions should be in CMYK and web version should be in RGB.
Thinking through the message of your logo and branding materials is important to convey a message of trust to others you do business with, or will do business with in the future. This means creating high quality logos to be put on print materials and on the internet and using the right formats to do so. Having someone with no design experience create a logo is like saying you don’t care enough about your business. In a moment, you could be judged as untrustworthy based on a glimpse of your logo. Put forth the effort, money, and time to do it right and you will find yourself in a much better position.
Hat Tip: The open toed boot – Photo Credit to Wired