There’s no formula for creating the perfect logo, but there’s definitely a perfect formula for creating a terrible one! Mind you it’s a secret formula, but we’re feeling generous today. Designers can sometimes spend their whole lives getting logo design right, before they finally figure out how to get it wrong. So let us save you a decade or two with these four mind-numbing tricks of the trade.
1. Use Photoshop
AI > PS?! Don’t make me laugh! The straight dope is that Photoshop can do everything Illustrator can and more. Pen tool? Check. Brushes? Check. Filter effects? Check. Sounds like all the ingredients for a killer logo to me! True, Photoshop can’t save to vector, but just make your original file huge, and you’ll be able to scale it down to suit your needs. That’s the cool thing about Photoshop – there’s always an easy fix. But Illustrator? Good luck rendering lightning and lens flares, man!
2. Keep it stupid, simple!
Nike’s Logo tells me nothing. Great American Pizza’s logo tells me everything. Literally. I mean you’ve got a name, contact info and proof of patriotism – what more could you possibly need? Plus, if you look close enough, G.A.P’s logo even forms a capital letter “G,” reinforcing the brand. Now that’s just freaking icing on the cake! Nike’s logo, on the other hand, reinforces nothing, and seems to just form… a toboggan? Who knows? Logos are prime real estate for telling your story, so feel free to exercise your illustrative muscles, and don’t shy away from “clutter.” Anyone telling you to “keep it simple, stupid,” obviously has no idea what they’re talking about, so ignore them. And follow your heart.
3. No picture ? No logo.
Hate to break it to you Disney, Coca-Cola, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Fender, Amazon, GAP, and Christian Dior – simple text does not a logo make! I dunno who you all paid to make your logos – if you can even call them that – but you got totally swindled. If hopping into Microsoft Word, and spelling out your company name is all it takes then sign me up! Unfortunately, the real world isn’t that simple, and logic dictates that pictures are like a bajillion times easier to remember than words. So don’t even think about including typographic designs in your deck. Doing so shows your client that you just don’t care about their brand, and that you aren’t taking them seriously. Remember: pictures, people! Pictures.
4. Go generic
Logo creation isn’t a game of one-upmanship – you aren’t trying to make a logo that outshines a client’s merchandise. So stop showing off. All you need is a good, solid logo that will grab attention, but not distract from the client’s product line by bringing too much attention to itself. This is why generic logos work so well – they can walk that fine line. There are, however, a ton of generic design elements to choose from, so use this link to peruse through some of the best. Of course, the person who compiled this list talks about generic logos as if they were a bad thing, so just ignore the commentary and pick out what you like!
What kinds of rules have you discovered in your quest to create the perfect bad logo? Let us know!