Do's and Don'ts of Logo Creation

June 5th, 2015

UI/UX // Sergiy

Do's and Don'ts of Logo Creation

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression (unless there's memory loss involved) and for your business, your logo and company name are the key factors in creating that first impression. 

While a company name is not as easily changeable, your logo, on the other hand, can evolve smoothly. We have collected a few examples of good and bad rebranding, so when you'll be making a decision regarding your image, keep these in mind.

Good Trends

Think Positive: IHOP

One of the recent rebranding efforts and we think it has been a rather good idea. People often anthropomorphize various logos and images, so this is an important factor to consider. Previous IHOP (International House of Pancakes) had a "sad grimace" in their logo - not something you'd want for a restaurant where food should bring happiness.

Simplicity: Starbucks

Internationally well-known logo of a coffee company that has been on the market for over 40 years. Back when they started, the logo had a more retro feel to it, however, over time it evolved, becoming less and less complicated. The mermaid has become such a recognizable character that it no longer needs the name "Starbucks" next to it to be identified properly. 

Adaptability: Whitney Museum of American Art

Considering the range of printed materials technology allows you to make now (as well as other various media where your logo can be displayed), it is important to think of the adaptability of your logo. It should look recognizable in small or big size and it is good when you have few options of objects placement (to make logo horizontal or vertical if needed). Whitney Museum of American Art took it even a step further. Their logo, a letter W, can fold and unfold, is easy to draw by hand, and it responds to the needs.

Changing Colors: Melbourne

This has been one of the best city rebrandings in the past decade. The previous identity was very diverse in presentation and there was no one "corporate" style to it. The new design, however, allows to adjust the logo as necessary and sometimes you don't even need to full logo for the style to be recognizable. 

Redesign Fails

Here We Go Again: Gap

If you are a beloved brand, then you should approach a logo redesign (and / or name change) very carefully. Otherwise, you can end up in the same basket as GAP, who launched a new logo... only to return to the old one after the backlash from the online community.

Whoops, We Did It Again: Kraft

Just like with GAP, Kraft has followed the suite. They wanted to change a recognizable stamp-like logo for a longer name with a fire show and a ribbon. Besides looking like another company's logo (check out Yoplait), it just wasn't a good substitute. So they made a wise choice and returned to the good ol' logo with a few tweaks added for refreshment. 

Yahoo: Less Yahoo?

Marissa Mayer launched an interesting campaign called "30 Days of Change" where every day a new version of the logo was posted. Finally, on the 30th day, Yahoo! unveiled the final logo. Mayer talked about how she has spent hours with the design department and how Adobe Illustrator is the best thing since sliced bread... But the design, while sleeker and less yahoo than the previous one, makes one think that perhaps it is better for the CEO to stay out of the design department and let designers do their job without interruptions. 

Oversimplification: University of California

There are organizations and companies in the world that have to stay current because being on the edge of technology is their thing (think Apple or Google). Whenever it comes to universities, however, the older they are the more respect they receive (think Harvard or Oxford). Possibly, University of California thought that they should become more hip and cool for their students and decided to change the logo. Well, they have considered the audience age group, but forgot about the essence of their organization. 

Check and Doublecheck: Sci-fi

Sci-Fi (aka SyFy) spent $250K on a rebranding campaign. Everything was great, except for the name they have chosen. According to the Urban Dictionary, Syfy is a slang word for syphilis. Whoops, not something you'd want for a name - even if everything else in your campaign is great. 

Context is Everything: Catholic Church's Archdiocesan Youth Commission

This was the logo of the Catholic Church's Archdiocesan Youth Commission back in 1973. The original idea was good and understandable but given the context of the Catholic priests' history, instead of seeing this logo as a man with a happy kid with raised arms, one sees a child molester. Context matters. 

The views expressed in this article are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Grossum company as a whole.

Let's develop a beautiful product together!

Author: Sergiy

Sergiy is the CEO of KHALABUDA, a design agency located in Kyiv, Ukraine. He and his team are Grossum design partners and share their passion for pixel-perfect precision in UI/UX.

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