Today I received a call from a new client… he is starting a new company and wants to print business cards. He was lining up all the information to get these made, including the ever-treacherous logo design.

Where our prospective client went wrong was in trying to rush the logo design as part of a business card design. He was missing the whole point of the logo being a reflection of a well thought out identity definition, not just a representative graphic; so we engaged in a very (very) quick brand development project.

[heading type=”h1 to h6″ margintop=”28px” marginbottom=”28px” bordered=”yes or no” align=”eg. left/right/center”]Considerations when designing a logo:[/heading]

Who is your audience/market? Is it business to business? Will your company target a specific age group? Ethnic group?

What industry are you in? What expectations come with that?  – a doctor may want a more serious, trust-worthy look, and a cardiologist would vary from a pediatrician based on their audience expectations.

What do you do? Write a tagline, even a rough one, outlining in 3-5 words what/how you do what you do. e.g. A exercise clothing firm could consider “Exercising never looks so good.” Not only would this imply that your organization’s market includes those who exercise, but it would appeal to those appearance-conscious. More importantly, feeling good and looking good might make the efforts of exercising more enjoyable…. The clearer the tagline, the easier it will be to come up with a graphic representation of it.

How do you do what you do? Did you ever notice the arrow in the FedEx logo? The company’s purpose is about being quick and direct. The arrow represents that (and them) well.

What is important to your clients? We have a client who’s business is completely based on their location and the local geography they serve. A local landmark represented them well in calling attention to their location.

Has this company had an established logo before? Another client was celebrating  25 years in business. They wanted a logo re-do. Though at the end of the day, it was obvious that what they really wanted was a logo revamp. We modernized some of the strokes but did not change the concept.

What look do you identify with? A lot of wasted time could be avoided. A little extra brain-stormin/digging/Googling, may better help us define what resonates and is appealing and what is not.

Pictures speak louder than words, sometimes.  There is a tendency to think that a logo must include a picture element… But some of the most recognized brands (Coca-cola, Disney, Google) are only words with special font treatments.

Words are also pictures.  Think of the three companies mentioned above. All of them are “curly” which goes well with the emotion each company seeks to convey.

Proportion. We have had to work with plenty of logos. A logo that is very long from left to right becomes unreadable when the horizontal space is limited. Logos should be designed with certain width/height proportions and offer positioning variables. In recent years this could not have become more important when being used in mobile devises with small displays.

Clarity in one color. Even though we live in a colorful world, you may want this logo in a black and white paper. Avoid being limited by colors or colors that don’t translate well into black and white.

Clarity in different backgrounds. Backgrounds are not always white; your logo should look well in reverse over various colors or patterns

Keep it simple, uncrowded, and avoid awkward embedded elements. Maybe you think text in a lifesaver would work well for the yacht club logo, but when that circle is reduced, will the words be readable? Will people tweak their necks trying to read them?

Graphic elements born from the logo. A logo might be just the beginning of a new pool of graphic elements. We designed the logo for the South Bay Entrepreneurial Center ( They now can use the “e” or the triangle independently within company publications. Both are recognizable, attractive and edgy.

 Make it time-proof. Your logo should last… It should be catchy but should not become tiresome too quickly.

Get feedback and pass it around. You might get someone that says “It reminds me of….” being a positive or a cautionary comment. You might also get a “Meh.” People have different tastes. Don’t ask “yes or no, ” ask “why.”

Keep a logo bank. Different medias and uses call for different file formats. The final logo should be available as a jpg, png, and eps (vector), in black, PMS and/or CMYK if applicable.

Now we might be ready to lay out the business card…