Let’s start this discussion on Logo Design with some simple, clear facts.
The following thoughts are the personal expression of the Logoholic team and is by no mean sold as “the truth”. But we’d clearly like to hear your impression and feelings on the matter, so the more comments the better.
So, we’re to dance!
Logo Design is not always limited to logo designing, or at least it shouldn’t be. Logo Design is a very complex matter, it’s a Job not meant to entertain the crowd. Instead, it is studied to express a wide range of emotions and meanings, gathering them in one place within one coherent visual. It’s the very foundation of every company – and most important, it’s the foundation of its brand, if rightly addressed.
It’s the first thing that people see and the one they’re gonna remember the most. That’s why such a matter, to be mastered, needs highly professional figures, trained over and over through many years. Not everyone can design a good logo and surely, not everyone can claim the title.
During the time, we’ve seen very few Masters in the field, such as Walter Landor, Paul Rand, Milton Glaser, Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv etc.
But lately, there are less and less of them, with worldwide Logo’s quality clearly decreasing, following a heavy, geometric progression trend for the low. Nowadays, almost everyone can afford a Computer – and vector software tutorials are available for free all over the internet.
Not a bad thing by itself – but for the Logo Design field, this has generated wave after wave of untrained creators, with no basic knowledge both in the very specific field and in Typography, a matter that is indivisible from the first.
Those newcomers eagerly adhered to trends (which is widely demonstrated, logos don’t have to stick to trends, logos should be crafted to be timeless) – the worst of them being their self-proclamation as “Specialists inside logo design”, while doing “just for fun” logos.
What are Just for Fun logos? – and why they’re no good.
As explained, Logo Design is a practice that addresses one problem and gives out one and only solution (still, different designers will give different solutions – and a lot of trials and errors will be encountered down the road, but that’s okay).
Just for Fun logos (or JFF logos), whose examples are easily available on the whole internet, finally encroaching upon even past highly-professional spaces such as Dribbble and Behance. How sad – are logos (notice the missing capital letter) done without a client, without express request and requirements, without a much needed brief (for the real world Graphic Designers out there) and so based out on purely thin air. Just for the sake of chauvinism.
All these logos look almost the same (and we all know a Logo must be unique) and are composed by: the union of two or more objects, sometime contrasting, with a “clever” contraption of both names to form a more “catchy” one. Sounds cheesy? Maybe ’cause it is.
These kind of logos are built by the supposed designers to showcase their skills, but may as well fail hard in such scope, for the following reasons:
- the lack of specific knowledge by part of the creators, clearly visible by “the-almost-standard” layouts, as well by the choice of almost-standard typefaces;
- the non-existence of a brief, or a specific client to relate to, unlike yourself. This point is clearly the most important, as different clients have different needs: you need time to research the field, the competitors, their attitudes, their potential target, how to address it and much more, which usually prove as the strong points to build upon for one logo and it’s related brand. You need to listen to the client, to their requests, their personal taste, discuss it with them. This is usually one of the parts in this job where you can prove you’re worth it.
And it all proves, in the end, to be one and only job and result.
With JFF logos, all these aspects vanish: no client to talk and discuss with, no target, no strategies, nothing more than yourself and the “brilliant” idea you had. Welcome to the real world: cool company names like AirBalloon (not cool, sorry but I cannot think that way) are pretty rare, to say the least – and you won’t be able to address a real name and Logo problem. We’ve really seen that happening recently.
There is a bigger scale problem too: we all like to think us as professional doing a job no-one else is capable to, we all like to whine on poor budgeted clients or even worse, people who want us to work for free. Well, you helped creating this impression.
Doing so will and already have convinced people that Logos and the subsequent identities aren’t carefully crafted, they’re shot out like balls from an automatic ball launcher, that they are and should be nothing more than cool looking images; that they are nothing special and surely not worth fair prices; that we are just having fun and everyone can do them. Do those considerations sound wrong to you?
At least they should. JFF logos are, as well, one of the reason why our job is getting worse, with lower rates and less understanding of our figure, why it exists as a professional one and where it fits.
And last but not least, a lot of them also look like copies or rip-off’s from official ones, the same basic idea getting played over and over again, leaving a certain generic standard.
So, why to do them?
Some of them are done by people with no clientele. To gain one; fair motive, but this lowers general peoples’ acknowledgement on the matter and their expectations.
It’s said to be part of the learning process, that helps and progresses conceptual thinking, that helps exploring and developing both ideas and styles.
Let me break this one through different points:
They may be part of the learning process, true is the fact that sometimes such things are deemed as Uni homework or exams. But the author usually states the fact – and having more time and a professional figure as a Professor may be on your back will be a definition of the quality.
(Don’t believe all professors though, heard about one that teach his students that is okay to trace Google found images with no clear blocking licenses – for the purpose of Logo Design. Plain wrong.)
As I said anyway, you can usually separate those from the rest. For the others: you shouldn’t post fantasy based exercises on high-demanding quality networks as Dribbble or Behance. Those aren’t the works that define you and your style; that “style” is common, childish looking and overused. All negative things in the Logo Design field, until expressly requested – and then discussed.
It aids conceptual thinking and helps developing new techniques, new textures and styles – true and correct. Still, there is no need to post it as a real work and call it a “Logo Design” when it isn’t. You can even explore new techniques and styles without trying to sell them as logos.
That said, there are still other important matters in such a complex world as the one that Logo Design is, such as highely regarded professionals – which produce logos whom visuals are poorer, unimaginative than most of the ones founds on crowdsourcing websites; negative, un-clever spaces which really aren’t anything more than missing parts; professionals who use one and only style and almost always the same font; and that’s impossible to be good for all clients, ranging from luxurious wineries to charities.
Still, one thing for sure: JFF logos needs to go.