Did you say logos?

Posted by on May 28, 2011 in Blog, Custom Illustration, For Slider, Logo Gallery, Logos | Comments Off on Did you say logos?

Did you say logos?

Though I enjoy doing just about anything I do, I really enjoy doing logo work. Not because it earns me a great deal of money mind you, but more because doing such work often affords me the opportunity to shift my skills into maximum-overdrive, creatively speaking. Once I’ve got the basic research done, gears churn, buttons get pressed, and stick figures get drawn out with the sweep of my mouse. As fit & figure comes more and more together, ideas take shape, eventually realizing themselves in the happy faces of those I do such work for (and me, of course).

Take the logo for this site, for instance.

I originally began with the one you now see in the header, which worked fine while I got caught up sprucing up this new site. Once things cooled down a bit, I began focusing on what I really wanted to accomplish and how I might best represent myself in logo fashion.

Being a bit of an extrovert—the kind that will chat with total strangers on a crowded bus—the “hi” in “high” literally stood out in a rhetorical fashion (no pun intended). So I latched on to that, coupling it with my want to make my mountain climber a bit larger for those who might not have been able to figure out what the smaller version was. Mountain climbers and heights often go hand in hand, of course, and together with the hi in high peaks (where I currently live and work from), the two fit together like those hands and a pair of well-tailored gloves. This train of thought led to the version that resides just above this paragraph. Still, it wasn’t quite “there” yet…

Wanting to be able to use the logo for High Peaks Publishing in all kinds of places, whether this web site, on a business card and stationary, or even on a flyer I might mass produce, I decided it would be best to spell out the full name, then make the whole thing web 2.0 appealing (hence, the reflection). Finishing this work, I came up with the final result, which both represents what I am, the sort of person, as well as the quality and type of work that I do. I also like the idea that the coloring of the logo lends itself readily to adaptation, and that it’ll be easy to stick it just about anywhere:

High Peaks Publishing Logo Example

All this really amounts to is something called branding (for the less knowledgeable), which has a great deal to do with identity (which is not necessarily the same as branding). One’s identity is very important when it comes to the business world, whether we’re referring to my, your, or some giant conglomerate’s. It should speak volumes about who one is, what one does, how well one does it, and create the sort of impression that makes for a lasting one—whether your brand, mine, or theirs, for that matter. And when someone experiences it represented in something like a logo, depending on the sort of experiences they may have had with those associated with it, they’ll hopefully be willing to try out your wares and/or services, and come back for more.

Logo Design Concepts

To ensure you and your stakeholders have a minimum understanding of the attributes which make for a quality logo that speaks your brand, a few basics follow which will come in handy when choosing and working with a logo designer:

  • Your logo’s color: The color of your logo is very important, and can impact the way others view your organization and its offerings. For instance, the color blue tends to make us think about the sea/water and often conveys a cooling effect. Red on the other hand can impart a sense of danger or forbidden things, while green can impart a feeling of calm (e.g., grass, nature, etc.), the opposite effect. Using colors in the right context in logos can and often does manipulate people’s thoughts in positive ways.
  • Your logo’s complexity and compatibility with a variety of media: The development of new media these past few decades represents an important fact in logo design. Historically, marks, logos and trademarks were used only in print; the quality of color and even style wasn’t as important as it is today. That said, a modern logo can be used in any number of ways, including print, in very high-resolution images, on a web site, a banner, business cards, the sides of a vehicle, and even on T-shirts. Today, the best approach is to keep your logo simple and versatile. A good example of this is Nike Corporations “Nike” logo, which is simply a small black swoosh; it looks the same on all types of media, and when people see it, they think “Nike.”This quality is also called versatility
  • Your logo should be easy to remember and understand by everyone: Again, simplicity is the key to good logo design. In the creation of a logo, the human mnemonic value must be considered, as it greatly assists in determining what makes a logo memorable.
  • Your logo’s shape: The shape of a logo is also important. A complicated shape can make a logo’s interpretation difficult, making it difficult for others to determine what it is/who you are (especially when sized small) which, in-turn, makes it harder to understand the message you want to convey.
  • Your logo should be able to answer the questions who? what? why? A logo doesn’t have to necessarily explain what a company or organization does, but the logo should inspire (potential) clients and other interested parties to think of your services, products, and/or other offerings in ways your organization wants them to. In determining how best to answer these questions, you should keep that in mind.

On Different Types of Material

You can also have your logos added to almost anything, whether screen printed, stamped, etched, or engraved, on all sorts of materials like paper, cardboard, cloth, glass, stone, metal, and what-have-you:

Work I’ve Done

Following are just a few of the logos I’ve done for others, please feel free to browse them:

usable docs logo

Usable Docs (usabledocs.com) was a site I thought about creating a few years back for the purpose of advertising my technical documentation services (usable technical documentation). I created what essentially amounts to a splash page for those services, with the intent of developing it further sometime down the road. Right now, it’s a client portal, a place where my clients and I can store files that are shared between us.
Keene Central School Community Education Program

Back in the fall of 2010, I was asked if I might be willing to assist with web site work by the folks who run the Keene Central School Community Education Program, a project I gladly took on. The existing logo for the Keene Central School needed some clean up though (you can view that one here), so I decided to recreate it in Illustrator and Photoshop, for use in the new site. The site itself turned out to be a fairly useful tool, one which more or less remains dormant during the Spring and Summer, until the next active semesters (Fall/Winter).
The Ultimate in Pool Care logo

Another update of an existing logo, one originally designed in-house by its owner toward the end of the eighties. The owner wanted to maintain the feel of the original logo, while giving it a fresh look, one that could be used to update his company’s identity to suit the times. This updated logo was used to design new business cards for the owner and his employees, as well as a full set of corporate stationary, including presentation folders. A web site redesign was also accomplished also here.
Shining Lamp Publications logo

Then there’s the shining lamp (Shining Lamp Publications), my other main presence on the web, though its use is now mainly archival in nature. For the curious, L.A.M.P. is actually an acronym for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, Perl or Python. Its use first became popular back in 1991 in Germany as a means of defining how the MySQL database was used in conjunction with the Linux operating system, Apache httpd server, and either the Perl, Python, or PHP programming languages. Since those days, many believe L.A.M.P. has come to represent the open source web platform.
Keene Business Association Logo

Though differing from what actually ended up being used by them, creating a logo for the Keene (NY) Business Association was a fun job, part of a much larger project that included the design and development of their new web site. Being a Keene local (and the Secretary on the Business Association’s Board), I was able to actively participate in the collection of design requirements that were needed to put together a web site that truly illustrates what Keene, its folks and businesses, and its beautiful area are all about. They’ve used the logo pictured on their web site to add informative posters to the kiosks at various hiker parking lots, as well as included it in all their stationary and business cards (work I was also involved with).
Urban Garden Connections Logo

Some of the additional logo work I do for non-profits includes that for Land Trusts. The logo pictured here is actually one of three similar logos that are used by Urban Garden Connections, an umbrella organization for the Manhattan and Bronx Land Trusts. These logos accompany new web site designs I did for two of their sites, one of which you can access them here.

In Practical Use

Lastly, a simple example of [my] logo in use (as well as one of those QR codes that I blog about here):

Example of logo usage