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What is a logo?

By: Eric Fregeau at LogoBee Inc.

Submitted on Tue, Sep 1st, 2009 10:22 am

A Logo is a design symbolizing ones organization. It is a design that is used by an organization for its letterhead, advertising material, and signs as an emblem by which the organization can easily be recognized, also called logotype. Logotype is a graphic representation or symbol of a company name, trademark, abbreviation, etc., often uniquely designed for ready recognition.

You may also think of a Logo as a simple visual mark to identify your company product or service.

There are different types of signs and emblems easily recognized and associated with purposes. For example, crests are used to identify a country or family. There was a time when only big enough organizations could afford to make their own crest. They were in some cases very detailed drawing with many objects to enrich the crest. Cost was not an issue and more was considered better. Then flags were used due to their larger format. They were visible from the craft fields from long distances. Road signs were designed for informational purposes. They use such techniques as contrasting colors, simplified and yet stylish formats to identify and attract more attention and convey information.

Now days, the most popular and successful companies continue to say that"simpler is better", especially today when everything is moving so fast you have less and less time to impress your customers. So it has to be done in a very stylish manner yet remaining conservative so that it`s easier for the eye to catch and the brain to memorize your logo design.

These days you also have to consider the reproduction cost. More detailed and colorful logo designs are harder to reproduce and they of course cost more. You also have to consider the size that your logo is going to be used at. The perfect logo design will look great on a sign board as well as on a business card or on a pen for example.

We have talked about the general use of a logo. Now we are going to get into a more detaile look at the logo.
There are some general types of logos:

Iconic Logo - Some kind of graphical element related to the business field or just an abstract image, for example: Nike, AOL, Micheline.

LogoType - Logo based only on the company name. A unique font, or unique layout style can make a great logo, for example: Sony, Coca- Cola , IBM.

Let's talk about each kind separately.

Iconic Logos can be very different. The classic variation is to make the symbol fit any of the basicgeometrical shapes. For example:

The best shapes to use are symmetrical geometrical shapes
They can be placed almost anywhere and still maintain the balance; they are very easy to handle.And at last there is no obligation in what kind of shape to use , you can use any free form shape you want, but you have to be very careful with the placement, so the logo doesn't look like it is falling apart or going to fall. By selecting the shape, you should consider how conservative and stable your company wants to appear.

Selecting the concept

Now the most important part is to get the concept for a logo. It is almost the same process as selecting the name. First you have to determine what your logo should say about your company. There are many different ways to represent a company.
1 You may come up with an image related to a business like a house for a real estate company, or a car for a car dealership.
2 You could use just an abstract image representing the company`s philosophy. For example some kind of blocky image would suit a stable trustful company or even just a pyramid. A very dynamic image with orbits and swooshes, sparks, particles could be used for a very modern, young, high-tech company to represent electrical activities or just cutting edge meteoritic technology.

One very important thing is that not all businesses can be easily associated with any kind of particular image. For example a programming company doesn't have many images to be associated with (except a computer), so in this situation it is recommended just to concentrate on an abstract image and just try to represent the feel of the companiy's business rather than attempting to come up with a symbolic image.

Some companies may bedealing with more then one business, so they would prefer to have a more generic image, but still you can make it look more technological by implementing straight lines in combination with curves, or make it more corporate with more proportional, symmetrical and/or geometrical shapes.

People can easy memorize a simple logo design that have some kind of symbolic meaning. Some companies use different mascots like the 'TireMen' of Michelin or the 'Beaver' for Roots. The challenge with the mascot is that for it to be a good logo, and easy reproducible it should be very stylized and simplified as much as possible.

Another major issue is that when people order a logo they want it to look like some other well branded companies like McDonalds or AOL. Those are of course great logos, but they are very recognizable only because they are well advertised. When you come up with an image for your company you should already be thinking about the best way to advertise your company towards the targeted audience. Your logo should not just not just be noticeable and memorable, but should also be easy accepted by the market.

What kind of feeling does a logo transmit just by standing alone and in a crowd? Too many sharp edges can create a feeling of danger or caution. Also consider your colors, so the logo design looks noticeable but not too intimidating.

A logo can be related to many different aspects of business, it just depends on the purpose of the company and the marketplace. A logo can be related to a particular place, industry, or person. Also, consider your personal preference of type of art. You can use any style of art style for a logo as long as it is unique, easily reproducible, and is suitable for your market.

About the Author

Eric Fregeau
LogoBee Inc.
Tim Liboiron

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