I've seen many articles and posts about how to design a logo or how not to design a logo. I think these are good articles but as everything in life, there are things I agree and others that I disagree. Designing logos is beyond any list of to-dos and not-to-dos.

First of all it's hard to analyse a logo just by looking at it. Of course there are cases that it's pretty easy to say that a logo is not good. Are there? Below we have 2 examples of a good and bad logo, but why one is good and other is bad? What makes one stand out while the other sucks?

Branding is Not a Science

The logo is a very important part of the brand of a company it's the visual identity, thus it will be related with the whole market and business strategy of its organization. Therefore if the business model of a company is focused on a audience in the Class C, the logo will have to perceive the image the individuals of that audience want. It doesn't matter if the others hate it. Because of that I would define the process of logo creation in this steps:

  • Understand the business model and marketing strategy of the organization with a clear idea of the target audience and what they expect
  • Validate the ideas of the business model with the audience: do some researches and pools to get keywords, colors, ideas, qualities of what the audience expects for that service or product.
  • Get as many image references as possible and once again try to validate that with the target audience.
  • Brainstorm ideas with the keywords and qualities you get from the audience.
  • Draw ideas on paper. Try to do as many sketches as possible. I had a teacher in College that used to say that to get something new you will have to draw at least more than 100 sketches.
  • Select 3 designs and refine them, so select the one that fits the best with the research you did with the audience.

That is at least for me my workflow when designing a logo and basically that was the script I followed for my graduation work in College, which was the Visual Identity for a hospital here in my town.

Of course sometimes we have tight deadlines that make it impossible to do all those steps. But we can use other tools to get results to fulfill our needs. Google is a good example. It's the most popular search engine in the world used for millions of people everyday. We can use the Google Image search to get some ideas of images related to a certain term. Besides that why not check other designers work, see how they solve some problems and learn some different approaches.

Branding is Not a Science Would you design like this?

Brand experience is what your customers remember about you. It's what leads to lasting impressions, preferences, and performance. This is what sets Landor's work apart: customer experiences that are not mysterious, but real, tangible, measurable – unforgettable. - Landor.com

Logo design is much more than simply design a logo. It's the tip of the iceberg in a corporation and the budget to advertisement is very important when deciding the logo strategy. For small business it's important to create a logo that really relates to the product or philosophy of the company, while for big corporations the simplest the best, because of that we see most of the huge companies using just lettering or a piece of their past logos, such as Nike and Pepsi.

Branding is Not a Science

These companies understand that after a long period, people started to recognize the brand without reading the name, but having visual contact with shapes that were part of the logo. When a company reaches that level of brand awareness, redesigning gets much easier. But a commom mistake when designing a logo for a new company, is making it without lettering, trying to get the nike effect, when nobody knows where the new company stands in market.

Branding is Not a Science

Now, we would love to hear from you, what are the problems you find when designing logos? Are there any steps you usually take, or mistakes you know you can't afford making? Tell us and share it with everyone. ;)

About the author of this post

Abduzeedo is a blog about design. There are all sorts of articles for those who want to look for inspiration. Also you will find very useful tutorials for the most used applications out there, with a special selection of Photoshop Tutorials and Illustrator Tutorials. Of course there are other softwares conteplated like Pixelmator, Fireworks, and web design tutorials.