JUDY IS PUNK® | Logo & Icon Design Specialist | Gold Coast QLD
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Judy is punk releases logo design related blogs, discussing benefits for designers, business owners and brands - touching on subjects such as logo design, theory, ideology, how it effects our businesses, our industries, its strengths and weaknesses.

5 Signs you need a new logo

Imagine you’re going on a date with someone you really fancy - I mean damn “How did I get so lucky” type of date. Your date is a very attractive guy or gal and not only that, they like the same music you like, watch the same Netflix shows as you and let’s face it - might just be girlfriend/boyfriend material. You’re nervous and wanna impress them, so you match your outfit perfectly, do your makeup/style your hair better than you ever have before - you put in effort and wanna look the best you’ve ever looked. When you meet up at the bar or restaurant, you just know you nailed it and your outfit/personality matches exactly what you envisioned the week before your date - YOU MADE THE BEST IMPRESSION POSSIBLE.

Well, having a brand is much the same and although you might have an excellent personality, great laugh and awesome stories - if you look like shit, you ain’t getting with that dream person. Having a logo that reflects your tone and identifies with who you are is crucial to success in business. Many people say that this is what you need in 2019 but only if you were born under a rock will you not realise that this isn’t just important in 2019 - its important for decades to come. 2019 will go by quick people, so plan for longevity.

If you have an outfit (shit logo) that doesn’t identify with your personality (business model and story) then here are 5 signs that you might need a logo-redesign.

Hard To Print

As humans, we’re just naturally attracted to colourful stuff, so when you get a designer to create a logo for you, you might just ask for too many colours. He or she will say “That might not be a good idea, you’ll spend a lot on print and might have trouble showcasing your logo in black and white.” Your reaction might be something like, “No designer, I want 11 colours in my logo, I’m a colourful person.” Although you might be a colourful person and your business might sell 57 different flavours of ice cream - the smart idea is to keep colours to a minimal.

Here’s why: The most recognisable logos of all time are simple. Have been and will always be, hands down. So you might ask “but how am I to convey who our brand is and tell our story? WE SELL ICE CREAM FOR GOD’S SAKE!” Well the answer is simple, you can add lots of colour in your branding, website, print material, social media etc. As long as your logo was designed very simply, it will be able to be used in various ways, including in colour!

This will not only solve your colour problem but be identifiable as you change brand strategies and campaigns. A great example of this is the recent redesign of the collaborative platform, Slack. Their original logo had ELEVEN COLOURS! This was proving to be extremely costly as their logo had an overlay look to it (different colours on top of each other). The new logo designed by Pentagram, a New York based design studio, has 5 colours, is way more identifiable, solved a previous creative problem and just straight up looks better. Trim off the excess guys, its worth it!

Inappropriate Typography

While most people think that you can only convey feeling through marks (icons, symbols), letters have an immense power in regards to logo design. In fact, I would say its even more important, as people need to know your name - so it must be legible. Lets go a step forward and say, through different letter types (sans serif, serifed, italic, roman) you can convey all sorts of feelings. If you’re a modern brand who create comprehensive computer programs, you might want to have a san serif typeface. If you run a fashion brand, perhaps a elegant serif typeface is appropriate to your brands tone and identity.

The worst thing however, is when a brand provides a service and within their logo, utilises lettering that doesn’t reflect with what they do at all! If you are a personal trainer and provide an intense workout routine, have a military background and are a hard ass - if you have a cursive, thin, handwritten style typeface..well, need I say more? Inappropriate typography means bad business, less costumers and low levels of trust with your audience.

Overly Detailed

In simple terms, to the untrained - logos are pictures & illustrations. In reality, logos aren’t that at all. A logo needs 3 very specific things. It needs to be appropriate to who you’re and sets a tone. It needs to be distinctive, to a point where people would be able to draw it from memory and above all - needs to be simple. These three factor always ensure success and are applied by the largest brands on earth - billion dollar corporations. Don’t believe me? Ask the guys who revolutionised this belief and design these logos (Chermayeff, Geismar & Haviv): NBC, Showtime, National Geographic, Chase Bank, Mobil, PBS - the list goes on and on.

If your logo has too much detail and illustration, it can hurt you in a many ways. One is, it won’t scale very well, which simply means it will look very clunky and dirty when sized really small. This creates a problem when you go to print. Which brings me to its second flaw, you will have trouble printing it as it will look muggy and washed out. Furthermore, very detailed logos aren’t memorable, they’re not distinctive - its just too detailed to remember. This not only hurts you in the short term but if you’re truly serious about your business, will hurt you in the long term. Your consumers won’t remember you.

Generic

Designers don’t come cheap and this scares a lot of business owners. That’s totally understandable! The skies don’t rain money last I checked and starting a business can be very costly. However, there’s nothing worse than having a generic logo mark as the face of all your hard work, dreams, blood, sweat and tears. You can’t have success without hard work while utilising a bad logo. Vice versa too of course. If you purchase a “ready made logo” or symbol, what makes you think you’re the only one that has it? There are probably hundreds of people with the same mark! How will your consumers remember you? Will they see all your hard work and struggle or will they perceive you as cheap and tacky - pretty self explanatory.

For arguments sake, lets say you purchase a logo online (etsy or what have you) and it states that once this is purchased, its no more. No one else will have it. That’s good for you right? Well, no. Does it identify with what you do at all? Is it memorable? Is it simple and even worse - did others see it up for sale and now notice you’re using it? Thats a big no no guys, instant disqualification in business land and unfortunately, your brand will pay for it. Designers who do this are just trying to make a living and I get that, but there are better ways to sell the unused work you have accumulated, just find the right platform for all the cool stuff you’ve made!

Gradients & Shadows

Gradients and shadows were a common thing in the 80’s, 90’s and even early 2000’s. Although it conveyed a certain feel of trends that were big at the time have since really fallen out of favour. Mullets are gross people, so are gradients. For one, there have been logos designed literally half a century ago that are so simple that have stood the test of time, been utilised on platforms that weren’t even thought of at the time (apps, smartphones) and are so memorable by anyone who sees it. All the previous topics in this blog play a part into why gradients and shadows are a terrible idea for brands.

Tacky, out of date, bad for print and overly detailed are some words that come to mind. What I really suggest is a mantra that most businesses should adopt in their brand - simple is better. Was, is and always be. If you’re using gradients and/or shadows in your logo - its probably time for an update.

Closing Thoughts

If you have 1 or more of these traits in your current logo, its probably time for a re-evaluation. If these factors scare you, well I hate to say they should. Having fear that your brand (your first impression) isn’t on point is what drives you to always be better. Having a bit of fear that your logo might suck is a good thing, it will help you evolve, make better connections with your consumers and most certainly make your business much better - ensuring success, sales and notoriety.

Written by:

John Bresciani