November 24, 2014
The do-it-yourself revolution is not a new phenomenon. Back in the 1980s, when Macintosh computers were the next big thing, a colleague coined the term “stove-top publishing.” By that, she meant that the rise of the Mac led to the rise of the mindset that you didn’t need a graphic designer anymore because “you had a Mac.”
Admittedly, there’s a satisfaction that comes from doing something yourself – fixing a leaky faucet instead of calling in a plumber or building a deck instead of calling in a contractor. A quick Internet search allows anyone to learn to do just about anything, even how to do graphic design.
And admittedly, by doing something yourself, you’re potentially saving some money. But a do-it-yourself solution doesn’t always measure up to your expectations. Just because we can do it ourselves, doesn’t mean we should.
When it comes to graphic design, there are dozens of high quality tools and pre-designed templates available to the average user. Anyone can build a website or design a brochure all by themselves. But tools are just tools – they are not the key to creative thinking and do not affect the mindset in which you approach a job.
And here’s wherein lies the difference. Graphic designers may use many of the same tools as the do-it-yourselfer, but they approach every new project with expertise, a unique perspective and a concrete understanding of visual communication. They understand what cuts through the clutter and what sticks.
Professional graphic designers take the time to understand your business, your vision and your needs and then apply that targeted knowledge into creating unique products that speak directly to your prospects and audience and differentiates your business from those of your competitors.
As a trained communicator, a graphic designer understands why you’re doing what you’re doing and whom you’re doing it for.
By investing in a professional, instead of opting for an off-the-shelf solution, you’re experiencing an in-depth process and receiving a solution that’s targeted to meet your needs and reach your audience. And that’s not something that you can find on the Internet.
November 10, 2014
The answer to that question isn’t a simple one. As the overarching identifier of a brand, an effective logo is distinctive, appropriate and practical yet conveys its intended message as simply as possible. It is the final touch on every product and emphatically states, “this is who I am.”
Now that we know the definition of an effective logo the question should be, what makes a good logo for your business? Because what’s effective for one company may not be appropriate for another.
Big name corporations such as Apple and Nike all have instantly recognizable logos that are often sited as examples of ones that are done well. These distinctive logos became trendsetters when they were first launched. Take a look at other logos designed in the late 1980s and you’ll notice that many appear to have a curved design element in an attempt to capitalize on the success of the Nike swoosh.
Mimicking a trendy logo is not an effective approach to creating one. A logo should be unique and set you apart from your competition. And, although being a trendsetter is a great idea, the Apple and Nike logos are both multi-million dollar endeavours by companies that have the time and resources to evolve and roll out the perfect logo.
And not all companies have the time or the resources to invest in logo development of that calibre. But that doesn’t mean that these same companies should skimp on developing this key identity piece. Instead, small to mid-size businesses might consider investing in developing a wordmark.
A wordmark is a stylized rendition of the company name. It may be almost entirely font-driven, or it might have a small graphical touch or illustrative flourish which distinguishes it. Either way, it’s clear and visually appealing and allows a company to stand out from its peers. A wordmark is most-definitely not a second-rate logo – the Google logo is a wordmark.
The process for creating a wordmark is pretty much the same as the process for creating a graphical symbol (a.k.a. a logo). You begin by looking at your direct competition to determine what you like and dislike about their logos. From there, you paint a picture of your vision and determine what you want your logo to say about your company and your designer builds from there.
An effective logo that has the legs to last can be created regardless of your development budget. As long as it clearly conveys your message, reflects the tone of your company and stands apart from those of your peers, then it is an effective logo.