Over the years the do's and don'ts of logo design have changed slightly, but the fundamental concepts remain. A logo still needs to be simple, memorable, timeless and translate across all types of media. Gradients and transparencies in logos used to be signs of a sub par designer who did not understand scalability or multimedia presentation. Today gradients and transparencies are often acceptable and growing more and more common in professional logo design. Advancements in technology now allow transparencies and gradients to be scaled and reproduced on almost every form of media. Even building signs can now include transparencies.
Using Gradients & Transparencies
Gradients are not new technology, but recently using subtle gradients on logos to create the effect of a light source has become popular. It is fine to use a gradient in a logo, but remember to make sure it will reproduce well without the gradients. Some types of printing and manufacturing cannot reproduce gradations or wide rages of colors (t-shirts are a common example). For this reason it is also necessary to make sure the logo will reproduce well as a silhouette in black and white.
Transparencies are growing more popular in logo design too. Sometimes logos create the illusion of being transparent by using lighter and darker colors overlapped to simulate a uniform transparency. Transparencies that fade off are true transparencies. Now these types of transparencies are easier to reproduce on the web, in print, and with sign materials.
The Design Process and Color Spaces
It is important for businesses to understand the design process and what to look out for when searching for a new logo/identity design. The logo design process begins with research of the company, the industry and the competition. Next there are many initial sketches made which evolve into three final concepts. The client chooses their favorite concept and revisions are made if necessary. Final files are then given to the client in various formats and color spaces. Most times a logo is printed it will need CMYK or Pantone colors and RGB for on the web. The designer or studio will go over this with the client when sending the final digital package.
Bitmap vs. Vector Logos
All logo designs should be in a vector format not bitmap to allow scalability. Bitmaps cannot be enlarged without becoming distorted and pixelated (sometimes referred to as stair-stepping). Vectors are computer coordinates that allow the design to scale infinitely without becoming blurry. Another benefit of vector logos is that they can be easily edited to fit into different marketing campaigns and types of media.
Making an Impact with a Timeless Logo
The best most memorable logos do not use a common font found on every computer. They use typography created custom for the logo. Unique professional logos take time to create in order to be simple, memorable, timeless and translate across all types of media. Businesses should avoid any company that offers twenty dollar logos finished in 24 hours. These logos are guaranteed to not meet any of the above requirements. We hope the information in this post helps any business looking for a custom logo design as well as any designer just getting started in identity design.