You can bend the rules but can not ignore the rules. These rules will guides you on the creative process to create a logo. I think it’s much easier when you have principles as the foundation to go further.
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
— Pablo Picasso
1. Answer Who, What, Why?
A logo is not just a distinctive symbol, it’s the cornerstone of a brand. Only when you have the deep understanding of client, you can create the logo the express who the client is.
These are questions need to be answered before anything begins. A logo should grow organically from the answers to these questions rather than imposing an idea onto the problem, the problem should dictate the solution.
Who is the client?
Who is the audience?
What does the client do and why?
What is the client’s story?
What is the client’s future?
Who are the client’s competitors?
What emotions does the client want to evoke in audiences?
2. Identify, don’t explain
We are identified with the names like John, Maria or Peter. We prefer not to be called “the guy who lives on Maple Street and works at the pharmacy” or “the woman has a beehive hairstyle and runs a trucking company”. This is long-winded, confusing and forgettable. In the same way, a logo should not literally describe the client’s business, a logo is an identifier. Many clients would like their logo to describe every aspect of their company but it’s problematic and may lead to a restraining identity. The logo is a sign that identifies the company and reflects its attitudes and values.
Coca-Cola does not need to show the soda can.
Nike does not show the image of a shoe.
Or Microsoft does not need to have computer image.
3. Understand limitations
A logo is not a magic button. It can not make a bad product successful or save a poorly managed corporation. But a good logo will always help a good product realize its full potential. Smart design, along with the power of repetition, can make an enormous impact. The logo gives direction and attitude, while the product informs the meaning.
4. Be seductive
The message must be the most important part of the identity’s design, but the form must draw the viewer into it. The more seductive it is, the more people will play attention and remember it.
Just look at these 2 forms, you will see what I mean.
5. Make mnemonic value
When we deconstruct how memory is made, we find there are four critical attributes of the process: 1) We see shape and color. All our visual recognition are based on this. Is something square and red, or round and yellow? From the way we read letterforms, to the way we identify faces, shape and color form the basis of this skill. Once the shape and color of a form have been determined, we 2) position it within our understanding of historical continuity. We ask ourselves, “Does this look contemporary, Victorian, or Medieval?” “Does this have relevance to me at this time?”
3) We then use the information we have from learned responses to form meaning such as blue is masculine, pink is feminine, a red light means stop … 4) Mnemonic value is linked seamlessly with emotional association. It is personal and difficult to predetermine. If a green car hit you when you were a child, you may have an aversion to green.
Being aware of and utilizing these four attributes provides the tools to produce mnemonic value.