If Logos Could Talk

In our last blog, we explored seven essential steps in approaching the design of your company’s logo. This week, we’ll solidify our reputation as total logo nerds by showcasing a designer who takes the whole logo thing one step further.

Swedish art director Daniel Carlmatz specializes in creating logos that magically reveal the things they illustrate. His designs, which combine a minimalist graphic sensibility with some wicked wordplay (the word “bike,” for example, has its letters “contorted into the shape of wheels”), are brilliant and a lot of fun.

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Seven Steps To Logo Success

At Cronin Creative, we enjoy working with clients and companies at the various stages of their branding and marketing development. And we really love the process of developing a brand from the ground up. For me, designing the logo – creating the face of the brand – is the most exciting part of that process.

Effective logo design requires a special combination of research and inspiration. Getting to know and understand the client and their company is essential, but for the inspiration part, I’ll often turn to a favorite book.

I recently pulled “Logo Design Love” off my studio shelf. Written by internationally recognized designer, David Airey, the book offers a helpful array of visual examples, along with some good advice. His “seven ingredients” for effective logo design serves as a useful, back-to-basics recipe. While I learned all of this back in art school, revisiting this stuff can be instructive not only for the designer, but for the client as well.

1. Keep it simple. The simplest solution is often the most effective. Why? Because a simple logo helps meet most of the requirements of iconic design.
2. Make it relevant. A logo must be appropriate for the business it identifies. For example, as much as you might want to use a witty design that makes everyone smile, that’s probably for the local crematorium.

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And Your Brand Can Sing

When quality design and great copy come together to make a big impact, it’s almost like a song. Actually, it’s exactly like a song. And like a song, when it’s great, when it really works, it moves people. And moving people with your marketing is key to growing your brand and your bottom line.

The songwriter works with two entirely distinct forms – words and music – applying craft and inspiration to fuse the two into an entirely new, third thing – a song. How cool is that?

A similar alchemy occurs when quality design and highly distilled content come together. Great copy and great design should always complement each other. Like a song, if the two aren’t working in sync, the whole thing falls flat. But when they work together? They call that a hit.

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The Very Essence of Cool

As a member of the “vinyl” generation, I have fond memories of hours spent in record stores riffling through the albums, making those potentially life-changing decisions on what to bring home.

Back in that pre-instant gratification era, it could be tough choice, usually based on what I knew about the artist’s music. But every now and then, it was the album art, that singular combination of photography and graphic design, that grabbed me. I had to have that record.

Some of the best examples of that kind of album-art seduction can be found leafing through “The Cover Art Of Blue Note Records: The Collection,” a book that sits on my studio shelf and that I refer to often for graphic inspiration.

With trailblazing artists like Art Blakey, Cecil Taylor, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Thelonious Monk, and so many more on the label, Blue Note was at the forefront of an exceptionally vibrant jazz scene in the ’50s and ’60s, a label known for the quality of both their stellar array of artists and their state-of-the-art recordings.

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Good Design Is Good Business

Clarity By Design. For the past several years that phrase has served as both tagline and prime mission statement here at Cronin Creative. We understand the vital role design plays in establishing and differentiating a business in today’s overcrowded, highly competitive marketplace. Thankfully, our clients, having experienced the real difference that carefully considered, expertly executed design can make for their businesses, understand this as well.

It’s accepted wisdom these days that quality design is healthy for, and even integral to, a company’s success. But when Thomas Watson, Jr. took over the reins of IBM from his famously successful father back in the early 1950s, it was something of a revolutionary idea.

The story goes that the younger Watson happened to walk into the Fifth Avenue offices of Olivetti and was blown away by the brightly colored, highly designed typewriters displayed in a modern, brightly lit showroom. Comparing Olivetti’s innovative, design-centric approach to his company’s rather drab, lifeless look, Watson decided then and there to change the face of IBM.

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