Originally published in the book Logo Nest, this article offers advice on how graphic designers can approach sketching as a vital part of the creative process of logo design and branding.
You must determine where your brand is headed to discover what it should say.
Research has a bad rap as the boring part of any graphic design process when the truth is that inspiration is uncovered through this discovery phase.
This second (and unused) concept for Lionhead centres around an abstract lion created by three transparent and overlapping circles representing the Lionhead offering—design, build, and manage—as overlapping and complimentary services.
It’s a small thing—like many impactful moments in life—but in place of a dead end, a custom 404 page provides proof that you care, and of your desire to engage with visitors. It’s an example of how you can take advantage of every possible touchpoint to create a positive and cohesive brand experience.
I was recently hired to develop the branding for Lionhead Management Ltd., a friendly, client-centric Ottawa firm that designs, manages, and builds high quality new homes, as well as residential additions and renovations.
Book jacket design for the novel A Promise by Antonio Roy inspired by the relationships and divisions within in the story.
I was recently hired to develop the branding for 150 Elgin Dental—a new dentist office in Ottawa, Canada providing the latest technologies to their patients.
Printing costs are an ongoing factor for marketing budgets. What are the pros and cons of digital versus offset printing for a series of gift cards?
Business cards can be more than utilitarian, more than a surface to print your name, title, and contact information. They can be an opportunity to create an impactful expression of your brand—a tactile gesture for someone to take with them, something they will remember, and want to share.
The creative process involves tangible actions juxtaposed with the intangible mystery of creativity. It often suffers under a linear approach and blossoms when you dare to ask ”why don’t we try . . .” It’s what makes something more than just an idea. It offers a result via the marriage of imagination, analysis, and action.
The monogram for Westboro Nursery School by idApostle appears in the newly published book Alphabet Logo by Counter-Print.
Part of a larger branding project, these tactile letterpress business cards with the new N45 Architecture logo are informed by the firms design aesthetic and attention to detail.
Don’t Call it That is an insightful, direct, and fun branding tool that delivers purpose for anyone involved in a company or product naming project.
idApostle was tasked with the brand creation—including naming and logo design—for a new company based in Quebec, Canada. Habitude Design promotes locally made Canadian lifestyle products. These laser cut business cards were one of the first deliverables.
Two idApostle logos will be included in the new book Alphabet Logo, a publication focussing on single letter logos.
The logo for Coredge Software appears in the recently published Monogram Logo: Monograms & Ciphers book by Counter-Print.
This grid-based sketchbook is an interesting alternative to the standard blank page.
This book is a comprehensive look into the work of FHK Henrion, including the logos and identities for Tate+Lyle, KLM, Blue Circle Cement and LEB.
Thoughts on Dynamic Logo by Dopress Books, a publication showcasing flexible identities and branding from around the world.
Great brands know a logo can’t carry all the weight. Neither can your name, business card, packaging, or website. Everything must work together to tell a compelling story.
Brilliant, easy to grasp advice from Don’t Call it That: A Naming Workbook by Eli Altman of A Hundred Monkeys.
Branding can simplify your audiences decision-making process. Consistent messaging, removing obstacles, clarifying benefits, standing apart, and aligning values can make the process of choosing you easier.
Branding should not be a pit where money simply disappears. When done effectively, branding should result in an ongoing source of value, inspiration, and direction.
Metal business cards created for Ottawa based furniture designer and manufacturer Exotic Wood as part of a larger branding exercise.
Branding is a never-ending work in progress. To continue offering a clear and compelling choice to people, companies must constantly adapt and reinforce their purpose.
Strong connections with a brand are often the result of memorable moments. Good or bad, it is often in these surprisingly small gestures that a brand develops meaning for us.
Successful branding invests in the intangibles. Things that do not directly affect revenue. They create memorable moments, develop stories, and think long-term.
People always have a choice. They can go to a competitor (direct), use a different solution all together (indirect), choose to do nothing, or choose you. Does your brand simplify their decision?
I recently completed the design of the logo and branding for Ottawa’s Exotic Wood. While I haven’t gotten around to adding the project to my portfolio, and the website is still under development, I wanted to share the wooden business cards we had printed.
Great branding invests in the intangibles. Things that do not directly affect revenue. They create memorable moments, develop a story, and think long term.
Four logos designed by idApostle have been selected to appear in two upcoming design publications by Counter-Print showcasing monograms and pictorial symbols.
Being ‘the best’ rarely guarantees success. Better ideas, people, and technologies fail all the time. To cut through the clutter, brands must invest in expressing why they are special.
It’s shocking how many companies claim to be unique while looking, sounding, and behaving the same as their competition. Great brands stand out. How else would we take notice of them?
Much of the advice we commonly give our kids regarding character also applies to branding. These ten tips are meant to help companies look at their brand as a living entity that demands constant care and attention.
While great brands may speak of target audiences, they always speak to people as individuals.
Great brands impact the lives of people. We would care if our favourite brands no longer existed.
I’ve always liked the simplicity of the Logik word mark, and was thrilled to have it included in the publication Design Elements: Typography Fundamentals.
Great branding reduces barriers between a company and its audience.
Successful brands have a strong vision and voice. It allows them to edit and stay on point
It’s your company and your product but it’s our brand. The public determine a brands meaning. You can only work to influence it.
By thinking more about your particular audiences needs, every company—including yours—can discover small ways to create meaningful connections with big brand impact.
Rather than broadly answer what makes them ‘the best’, clients are better served by determining what specific aspects about their offering are meaningful to a particular audience.
Strategy informs and equips a designer to properly engage in a business exercise, and not just dabble in creating something pretty but potentially ineffective.
Currently featured in the iOS App Store is a Get Stuff Done (Productivity) category. I found it interesting that the first seven Apps all use a check mark prominently in their icon.
Clear communication between graphic designer and client is essential to the success of every branding project. Here are a few tips to encourage communication.
Out of the many apps I download for the iPad and iPhone, very few end up being used regularly. The following is a list of the apps that survived the year on my devices—the ones that I think most graphic designers will find make their working day a little easier.
To be effective, every brand must make decisions regarding when to say “No.” Your brand must embrace aspects that some individuals will perceive as a ‘dead-end’. A brand must do this to benefit from what your actual audience views as a strength.
The logo/branding for Ottawa-based Coredge Software is included in the recently published book, Mastering Type, the Essential Guide to Typography
A look at the book Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming containing thirty tools and techniques including brand matrix, action verbs and rhetorical figures.
Graphic design, logo and branding books pile up on my bookshelf with the usefulness and weight of a pile of bricks.
Sigh. After having two recent clients hire me after going through the crowdsourced logo route, I take a glance at some recent logo competitions.
Well, at least that’s the opinion of the new book Damn Good: Top Designers Discuss Their all Time Favourite Projects by Tim Lapetino and Jason Adam of Hexanine.
Ben Day, is a 1996 black comedy by Dana Arnett. Ben is the ficticious creator behind Happy the Hamburger Helper Hand, Americas most beloved corporate icon. After an eight year rut, Ben finds a new source of inspiration in ‘closet man’ and his groundbreaking work results in both awards and an unparalleled ego.
The logos for idApostle, Processed Identity and the Ottawa Food Bank are included in this design ‘cube’. I love the publications clean layout and how every image was given its own page, providing focus on the work. I should have ordered it sooner.
Every audience has particular desires and influences, and no single solution can meet everyone’s needs. Understanding context is the key to creating meaningful connections. It’s a designer’s and clients best opportunity to ensure their audience smiles wide and proud.
I wince when hearing a potential client say “I know what I want”. This phrase is quickly followed with an explanation describing how this knowledge will make the project quick and easy. The monologue is then wrapped up with a plea for reduced costing.
Two idApostle logos appear in the recently published LogoLounge book, Master Library: Type and Calligraphy. The publication is “a highly organized collection of 3,000 typographic logo designs. Interviews with such top-tier logo designers as Miles Newlyn, Jessica Hische, and Ken Barber provide insights on the values, traditions, and future of designing with typography.”
I was asked to contribute an article for the quarterly publication on the subject of logo design—specifically how design should be approached as a business exercise and not simply a task of crafting a pretty visual. Armed With a Purpose outlines the importance for a graphic designer to understand context through research and not simply be a taxi driver.
Social media services like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ can provide companies with insight into how their brand is viewed. These services provide opportunities for interaction, to strengthen customer relationships, and can be used to research your business space.
Choice can provide an illusion of security, a false guarantee that quantity will result in something good. The reality is that more crap results in a bigger pile of crap—it doesn’t make it better.
Successful brand design relies on understanding, strategy and hard work. Design services that offer unlimited logo designs and revisions also offer very limited understanding and strategic value.
Like rushing headlong into tattooing your lower back during a drunken stooper, fast tracking and penny pinching a logo will leave you with a painful and expensive reminder of a bad decision. Slowly, the full effect of your uninformed choices will come to light. The work might have been done by a relative, a “desktop publisher” or an online logo warehouse but the result will be the same—regret.
On a recent trip to San Francisco, the identity that connected most with me, was the logo for Muni. It’s a great example of how standing by a well designed logo rather than ‘keeping up with the times’ can sometimes provide a deep feeling of authenticity. The identity feels real, lived in and stylish to me—a reflection of San Francisco.
I discovered a new website this week offering customers unlimited logo designs for $20. What do their customers expect in return for the price of a movie ticket? Do they really believe they are getting a custom identity? Thinking $20 pays for enough of a graphic designers time to create anything worthwhile is like believing in miniature hippos.
The most common example of hidden imagery in a logo is likely FedEx and it’s arrow. For me however, it isn’t what first comes to mind. As a child I saw something in the Kentucky Fried Chicken logo that I can’t help continue to see to this day.
Logo design should not be approached with the goal of filling that blank spot on the top of your letterhead. It is not the time to recklessly do something trendy and cool. Most importantly, it is not about getting a task off your to-do list so you can move on to selling widgets to your customers.
This was the first idApostle and had over 300 entries.
Following publication of idApostle logos in three new design books, I am very happy that LogoLounge has selected the Stealth Security and Ricochet Creative Thinking logos for their upcoming book, Master Series: Type and Calligraphy.
The competition is being run by Adobe Creative Juices, a community ‘powered by Adobe’ aimed at a UK and Irish creative community. Graphic designers are being asked to design the new Creative Juices logo with the winning entry receiving an Adobe CS5 product. In return, they promise that the winning logo will be “seen everywhere.”
I am thrilled to have contributed the article The Role of Sketching in the Creative Process to Logo Nest 01. The newly released book is now shipping and I am giving away two copies of the limited edition run.
It is incredible just how many cropped logos adults can recognize in only black and white.
For the past year I have been very active on Twitter but have completely ignored Facebook. Having recently seen that People Use Facebook 44% And Twitter 29% For Social Sharing, I have decided to take the leap and start using the service. I will be posting more frequently on Facebook than I do on this site with unique content related to logo, branding, graphic design, and design ethics.
Here are a few logo, brand and graphic design related links I enjoyed this month.
Four idApostle logos appear in the recently published Logolicious!, Design DNA Logos, and LogoLounge 6 books. Logolicious! is “a tasty collection of the best logos from around the globe” and showcases the logo for Jennifer R. A. Campbell and the Westboro Nursery School.
“Over the years, I have traveled a great deal all over the world. When I arrive at the airport in a city, I have a business problem to be solved. I am at the airport and I need to get to my hotel. As I leave the terminal building, I usually see a number of taxis waiting to take passengers to their destinations. All I have to do is tell the taxi driver exactly where I want to go. The taxi takes me to my destination, and I pay a fee for this service.
Every month HOW magazine compiles a list of resources they feel graphic designers should know about. The folks at HOW were “ . . . so taken with your site that we have listed it as one of our website’s Top 10 sites to see this month”.
Here are a few logo, brand, logo and graphic design related links I enjoyed this month.
A logo is often the fastest way to build brand recognition. It is the easiest way to consistently apply a visual brand, and is usually the most powerful single visual or verbal brand asset companies possess—apart from their name.
Inevitably all graphic designers are asked (or told) to make the logo bigger by their client. Possibly out of a sense of pride? A need for their logo to be bigger than their competitors? Concern over an aging population, and their ability to see clearly? Whatever the reason, logos seem to be getting bigger and bigger.
Photographers grumbled, and now logo designers are whining as stock takes over, making them obsolete.
This seems to be the sentiment of a comment left for my recent guest post on the Logo Design Love website. I agree in part. I have heard the grumbling and whining, and I do see a similarity between the increased use of stock photography and stock logos — change does not equal progress.
Here are a few logo, brand and design related links I enjoyed this month.
What is the best question to ask in a Creative Brief? If you were only given one question to ask a client about her business, what is the most important?
Duane Kinsey the co-founder of Logobird, an award-winning design studio located in Melbourne, Australia contacted me about doing an interview on his site. I was happy to talk about logos, graphic design, branding, the design industry, and the role of the creative process.
It’s not very often a brand surprises me and creates an immediate connection. What was once the domain of Girl Guides selling cookies seemed very rock ’n roll today. It convinced me there would always be alternative ways to reach your audience while remaining authentic to your brand.
After taking the summer off, I am slowly getting back into things. Here are a few logo, graphic design and branding articles I have enjoyed this month.
Two idApostle identities were selected to appear in the new LogoLounge project, “Shapes and Symbols”, the third book in the new Master Library series. Another two have been selected to appear in “LogoLounge Volume 6”.
It seems that, as a community, we are feeding off pretty pictures with very few words, creating a daily “show” of work with very little “tell” to accompany it. In the process, we are all missing a great opportunity. Writing is an investment in your own education and it’s a way of expanding your knowledge and awareness in a way that looking at an endless parade of pretty pictures will not.
I was approached by Applied Arts Magazine to be involved in this series of interviews that highlight some of the “online Canadian creative community who help bring creatives of similar interest together through their words.” It was a great experience and an opportunity to talk about the Processed Identity site—my experiences so far, and where I see it heading in the future.
The two current posts on Processed Identity have me thinking about the importance of authenticity in branding. Design Kompany has created a reflection of their personalities that is warm, personal and caring. Kaboom Schneider is the opposite—extreme, aggressive and opinionated. They are both authentic and they are two great examples of why we can’t be all things to all people.
As logo designers we are trained to make things look good. Much of the creative process can sometimes appear as a struggle to maintain both the strategic and the aesthetic nature of the solution. As a group, we are opinionated and are often very quick to point out what we like and dislike. We have dozens of graphic design sites that thrive on the idea of praising pretty design, but does everything really need to be pretty? Is the best solution always what is both traditionally believed to be ‘good design’, and the beautiful examples we go out of our way to praise?
My creative process has radically changed over my twenty-plus years of designing logos. The greatest change is the shift away from visuals, and towards words for inspiration. Back in college, every graphic design project I completed had to be accompanied by the material that inspired it. As design students, we had to show how we got from point A to point B through the reference materials. We looked towards other designers work for inspiration, and rarely towards things like data, articles, or market analysis.
A few logo related design articles and tweets I enjoyed from the last seven days.
The upcoming publication Design DNA: Logos: 500+ International Logos Deconstructed by Matthew Healey, and published by Rockport Publishers, will include two idApostle identities.
A few logo related design articles and tweets I enjoyed from the last seven days.
I think ideas are overvalued. Like billing design by the hour, I believe it is another misunderstanding both clients and designers have about logo design. You certainly don’t need to be a good designer to have lots of ideas. Ideas are relatively easy to come by, but ideas are not the key to logo design. Describe any great logo as an idea and it sounds ridiculous.
A few logo related design articles and tweets I enjoyed from the last seven days.
Deadlines force designers to act, to focus, and to create. Without a deadline, projects can easily drag and lose momentum and the designer’s interest along the way. I find the most difficult creative projects are the ones for myself. If a client inched a job along the way I do when working on my own identity, I would go nuts. Like many designers, I feel limits are what drive inspiration and creative problem solving.
The first Process Study is by We are Him+Her, a very talented team out of the UK. Their study explores the development of their own logo. My experience is that as far as clients go, it doesn’t get tougher than designing for yourself.
If you work with me there is a good chance you will be getting a copy of this in the future. I think this is a great tool to inspire anyone involved in a branding project.
A graphic designers’ job is to solve problems. One of these problems is helping clients understand the creative process and in turn the value behind design