It is a familiar refrain of mine that, at their very core, logos should reflect the idea behind the business. They should immediately reflect the values, ideas and story of te business, be recognisable, and work across all media and in all situations.
Many people, especially those outside the creative industries, seemed to take great delight in criticising the new Google logo, mocking its simplicity and lack of knobs and whistles. Sadly they were not only mocking from an ill considered position, but also in isolation.
It is rare that a logo is only used in one or two places and all on the same media, for example only on stationery. A new, small start up accountancy firm may believe that they only need the logo for their business cards and letterheads. Then they find a brass plate for the door maybe required, or perhaps a sign for their office. Their simple, uninspired logo may work on a simple website, matching their stationery but when they come to social media they find it doesn’t work as an avatar, looking awkward in small scale. Most businesses need their logo, and their branding in many formats and across many different forms of media.
This is very much reflected in the Google logo design. The lettering style, the dots (animated in digital use) and the capital G can be used pretty much anywhere and the colour palette will tie products and services back to Google simply and without fuss.
When considering a logo look at the bigger picture. What does it say about you, about your business? Will it look the same wherever it is used? Does all your branding match? Are you using the same colours and fonts everywhere? If not is there a reason? What is the idea behind your logo, and call you explain it?
Many years ago, in the early days of Gabriel Design, I was attracted to a competition from a London based creative services company called The Fink Tank. They were looking for the most esoteric, clever, abstract logo for their new business. Many graphic designers entered their competition and a lot of the design entries were, in hindsight, obvious with visual interpretations of military or fish tanks. Others however pushed the boundaries, and I was inspired.
Based on the ephemeral nature of a lot of graphic design work, the very temporary nature of it, I came up with a very different idea. This was a have the company name written, in an artistic style, in the sand on a beach. The logo would then be videoed as the tide came in washing away the design. This video would be used on presentations, if possible on the early websites of the day and in the office as a back drop. Meanwhile various stills would be used as images for print. The full logo on stationery or on signage, the almost washed away version for the back covers of proposals, and so forth.
I didn’t win. The winning idea was one where they employed someone to be their logo, and actual individual who would actually give the idea behind the company, be a physical presence, be an ambassador for the company.
Now I’m not suggesting that you need to go to these lengths when considering a logo for your business, however I do suggest that giving the whole concept a little more thought might be a great idea.