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When should we redesign our company logo?

Logos are like any other form of advertising; a logo communicates your online brand. Logos also have a shelf life and all major companies have changed their logo to some degree over the years, i.e., Star bucks, Walmart, Google, Yahoo, Ford, Coke, McDonald’s and many others.

Early Logo Beginnings
The history of logo design and logos dates back to ancient Greece. The word “logo” means a name, symbol or trademark designed for easy recognition. The use of logos as trademarks has existed as long as there have been traders and merchants. They can be traced back to the thirteenth century. They include masons marks, goldsmith’s marks, paper makers’ watermarks and watermarks for the nobility, and printers’ marks.

Why Do Logos Change?
Many factors drive advertising or logo trends. The most powerful force that shapes and drives design is “human culture.” You might say advertising; even logo design reflects the signs of our times. From the early 1800’s to 1940’s, most logos were elegant hand illustrations and lettering. A logo for an electric company during this period was not much more than the company name with a lightning bolt. Some companies have retained part of their original design in their present day logo. In 1920 the Victor Talking Machine Company had a logo of a dog named “Nipper” sitting in front of a phonograph and listening very intently. Today RCA still uses Nipper in its advertising campaigns.

Enter Avant-Garde Design
In the early 60’s the creative works of Andy Warhol presented a unique look at the world. His works came to be known as Pop-Art. This movement permeated the ranks of commercial television, movies and main stream advertising. Logo shapes and design became more “iconic” in nature. McDonalds dropped the little burger guy popping out of the golden arches in favor of the stand-alone golden arches. In the late 1990’s the Silicon Valley revolution lead to a flurry of techie-type designed logos incorporating some sort of Nike swoosh that is ever present in current logo designs.

Logo Formulation
A logo communicates your identity. The mark of a good logo is legibility and strong brand recognition. How do you create a powerful logo for your business? Good question. Let’s get started.
Let’s say you are an attorney who specializes in immigration. A great creative place to start is with a paper clip. That’s right, a paper clip. The idea here is to free your mind of all the typical symbolism, like a gavel or court building, which one would associate with an attorney or a lawyer. Try to think out the obvious iconography. Throw out all your pre-convinced creative notions. Thinking about how a non-associative object might be applied to your logo design takes your concept in a unique direction. Think of any odd item like a clothing iron, clothes-pin, paint brush or kitchen utensil, then list ten concepts of how this item or shape would apply to your new logo.

Research Your Logo
You should market research your logo. If you are designing a logo for a turbine motor company then get on the Web and collect every logo from every company that builds or sells turbine motors. Ask yourself, which of the logos do a good job of communicating. Compare color palettes and the fonts used. Learn from the successes and mistakes by analyzing what works and what doesn’t.

Sketch Your Ideas
Before you open Illustrator or Photoshop, grab some paper and doodle a few designs. This is how many professional designers develop their concepts. When developing the icon or Nike swoosh portion of your logo, don’t worry about typography at this point. Concentrate on the icon. Try looking at logo finished samples.

Incorporating the Company Mission or Motto
Your client may have a company phrase or tagline and may want to incorporate this into the logo. Logos take time to develop, so you’re not going to hit the mark on the first try or even the hundredth try, but, that’s the logo design process. Logos are a very personal thing, so be patient and don’ get frustrated. After some trial and error that special one-of-a-kind design will appear right before your eyes.

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Visionefx President Ricardo Vidallon has been in the creative business of design advertising, branding, marketing, cable broadcast, animation and the World Wide Web for more than three decades.

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