There are four “C’s” that you are told to look for when you pick out a diamond – Clarity, Color, Cut, and Carat – but no one tells you what to look for when you decide (or design) what logo will represent you and your company to the world…until now.
The need to address this came to me today as I was trying to incorporate a client’s, shall we say underdeveloped, logo into a design. This logo is so bad it hurts my brain, but what can I do? I have to incorporate it into the prescribed design requested by the client. In order to ease my future pains, I present to you – clients and designers alike – a simple guide to the five “C’s” of logo design:
Color: The colors chosen for your logo can say a lot. Think about the feel that you are looking for in the logo design. If the look is “retro” maybe look at movie posters from that era. If you’re looking for something in a specific field, check out what colors other companies are using – to stand out use colors that contrast with your competitors. Colorcombos.com is also a great resource if you already have a color in mind and need some help with color harmonies.
Always design your logo with two color schemes in mind – full color & black and white. This applies for you web people, too. Yes, your company is online only, but one day you may need to photocopy something with your logo, or maybe decide to sponsor an event that requires you to dumb down the colors to only black and white. Do it at the beginning so you don’t frustrate yourself later on.
Clarity: Whether your logo is text based, graphics based, or a combination, you want your message heard, or read, with understanding. If your message is lost within itself no one will get it. This doesn’t mean you have to shy away from a complex logo if it is the right solution to your branding goals, just keep the focus on what your message will be. Have you seen the logo for the 2012 Olympics in London? Look at it closely and you can see that the logo shape actually forms “2012,” but don’t look to long or you might start convulsing. The metaphor is lost in the goat rodeo of color and shape.
Composition: Balance. Balance. Balance. Design 101 comes into play here. Your design does not need to be symmetrical, but it does need to be balanced. Think of a balance scale with weights on it. If you have a one-pound block on one side, and one 1/4 pound block, two1/8 pound blocks, a 1/2-pound block on the other side, it will have more pieces on one side, but still be balanced. The same is true for your design; juxtapose a large single element with a quantity of smaller elements to achieve aesthetic equality.
Compatibility: What is the final output for your logo? Logos get reproduced in arenas that we tend to forget about. Sure your company is solely web based, but one day you may want a sign, a t-shirt, giveaways, awards, billboards, vehicle wraps, or even corporate sponsorship with your prized logo on it. Think about the logo going on these items and ask yourself: What colors look good behind my logo? What color is horrible behind my logo? Should I have a vector logo instead of a raster logo? Hint: always choose vector unless there is a really good reason not to.
Content: What does your logo say – literally and metaphorically? There are some fantastic logos out there that are pure text, and there are some logos that a gorgeous by just being metaphoric. Some of the strongest logos choose to combine these elements. For example look at amazon.com’s logo. Simple text based logo with a yellow metaphoric swoosh. What does that swoosh mean? Well it might be smile, or is it an arrow pointing from a to z?
Now you are ready go forth and choose (or design) a competent logo. With every logo you look at, remember the five “C’s”: Color, Clarity, Composition, Compatibility, and Content. Good luck, and happy branding!
In the wake of Pizza Hut becoming “The Hut” another familiar name is dropping that little part that says anything about what they do. RadioShack is migrating into “The Shack.”
Why would both of these companies shorten their name to two words most people would use to describe a scary building in the woods behind their house – yes, that one; the building that at one time held tools, but over the decades has just turned into a decrepit place that features in the local children’s ghost stories.
A recent report from Wailin Wong of the Chicago Tribune cites some reasons for the change:
“Companies rename themselves for a variety of reasons. William Lozito, president of Minneapolis-based brand-naming company Strategic Name Development, calls RadioShack’s move a “name-ectomy” […] The shortening is a nod to the abbreviated, text-message-driven nature of youth culture, Lozito said.
“For RadioShack, what the heck do they have to lose?” he said. “They have to become more relevant. There’s very little downside to giving up ‘radio’ — who buys radios anymore?”
It’s as if these corporate execs are trying to get hip to what the young kids are doing by just changing their name. What’s next, will we be calling the White House “The House” so that these youngins can remember the name of where “The Prez” lives? Shortening your name works for some companies – Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened to KFC. Why did KFC work as a shorter name…because everyone was already calling it that. I have NEVER heard anyone refer to RadioShack as “The Shack.” I have heard a large amount of colorful names associated with the electronics store, but never that one.
RadioShack in Canada was bought out by Circuit City and renamed “The Source by Circuit City,” after Circuit City’s liquidation another company purchased the franchise and named it “The Source.” This makes sense. The Source says they have solutions to my problems, and I can get what I need by going there. The Shack sounds like I’m getting spare parts from my cousin’s junk computer collection – ooh, look! Punch cards and reel-to-reel recorders, fun!
There’s an entertaining post about the RadioShack’s rebrand on The Y Marketers Blog. I agree with them. I can’t count the number of times I would walk into a RadioShack, and ask if they have something only to be told they never carried it. Then 5 minutes later find what I was looking for and proceed to explain to the staff what the part was, what it does, and that, yes, they have a whole shelf dedicated to it. Facing this new economy isn’t about slapping a trendy band-aid on your brand and hoping that people will flock to your establishment because it’s hip. RadioShack is having trouble because it’s letting the consumer down on their needs – Give your stores a facelift, pay attention to the market, and look for legitimate long-term solutions.
What happens when you combine tourists with 78 mile per hour winds in a space the size of a telephone booth? If visions of them changing into Superman, or skirts blowing like Marilyn in the Seven Year Itch come dancing through your head…sorry no such luck.
It is entertaining to see that people actually pay $2 to stand in a small booth and have air shot at them while watching a screen about hurricanes. On a hot day it might be nice to feel a blast of air for a minute or two while walking in the open air portion of Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, Florida, but I can’t justify it, especially when there’s stores that have real air conditioning just a few steps away.
The booths claim to be a “franchise-alternative business opportunity” and are licensed by a guy in the Tampa area. They also offer advertising space on the small LCD screen inside the unit. One irony is that a good feeder band from a real hurricane could topple the whole thing.
To me this appears to be a knockoff of the Gulf Coast Hurricane exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida. The exhibit puts a small group of museum goers into a wind tunnel, cranks the winds up to 74 mph, and teaches people how to “Get Smart, Get Ready.”
I think this kiosk concept could be sound if it were repurposed as a traveling exhibit in connection with hurricane preparedness seminars. We see this concept with fire department smoke houses, and other safety based presentations.
I do enjoy sitting on one of the benches around this kiosk and watching tourists, usually kids, pay their money and get blasted with air. It’s like you’re really there, just with out the rain, debris, fear that your vehicle will be in one piece afterward, etc…
The funny thing about hurricanes is, as Ron White said, “Now, lemme explain somethin’ to ya: It isn’t *that* the wind is blowin’. It’s *what* the wind is blowin’. If you get hit by a *Volvo*, it don’t matter how many sit-ups you did that mornin’.”