Josh Ryther is the Senior Partner & Creative Director at Deksia.View all articles written by this author
The first thing many people do when thinking about logos is to go for the most literal interpretation. That isn’t necessary the wrong answer; it can be the right answer. But ultimately, the direction should be decided by going back to the research. A lot of the visual decisions are based on who your consumer is, and who is going to be interacting with the brand. We can see brands that are already established that they already gravitate towards, which allows us to be informed by the very personal taste of the customer. That can include very subtle color shifts and subtle color choices and little intricacies like typography.
Previously, Aaron and Joshua discussed the mark we created for Eastown Veterinary Clinic. We had to determine what Eastown’s preferred customer base would respond to, while also pulling in higher-level design thinking. What we do as designers, especially when it comes to logos, is navigate the land of positive and negative space. The interaction between the two is what gives a piece graphic power.
We often go back and look at old logo design, when things were predominantly built on positive and negative. All logos, in my opinion, should start in black and white. If you have to add color to make it good, it’s probably not good. So if it doesn’t look good in black and white, there’s probably something wrong with the balance. A lot of the older designers, like Saul Bass, knew how to work with positive and negative. When you look at the Eastown logo, it serves both well; it even has a dimensional quality to it. By balancing these graphic considerations with a feeling that speaks to the upscale clientele Eastown serves, you have the makings of a successful mark.
When you really get down to the nuts and bolts, you need to start talking about how versatile the logo is. Where is it going to be used? Is it going to be versatile enough to go on a billboard? Is it versatile enough to be broken out and used? Does there need to be a mark separate from a logotype? Typically, we like to design our logos to be extremely versatile. We like to pull them apart, and put them in different places. It keeps them interesting and lively when people look at them. You need to think about where it’s going to be used, and how it’s going to be used. So when you get down the road, you’re not kicking yourself for leaving something out.
It really comes down to refining the message. It’s all about communication in the end. How can we better communicate with the public? And how can we better be what you need us to be? I think all aspects of aesthetics, no matter how small, help achieve that goal.