Professional or amateur logo: what's the difference?
While it may be tempting to rustle up your new company logo in a matter of minutes on the back of an envelope, believe me, it isn't going to work. Not only is your corporate logotype the most in enduring symbol of your company within your customers' and target customers' minds, from a technical perspective it needs to work in a variety of sizes and a multitude of circumstances.
The signs of an amateur
Typically, the amateur designer will make one or more of a number of common mistakes. Frequently they haven't yet grasped the concept that simplicity is the most important factor in logo design. A simple logotype is both easier to remember and more convenient to work with. Here are some of the other mistakes that amateur logo designers tend to make:
- · An amateur designer may fall into the trap of following the latest trend in design, forgetting that two or three years down the line the result is going to look dated.
- · Over-designing is a common fault made by the inexperienced. Too many colours and multiple special effects will result in a dog's dinner of a logo. Shadows, patterns, bevels and overlays all detract from the simplicity of a design and should be used with extreme caution. Stick with clean lines and just one or two colours for maximum impact.
- · The amateur is often tempted to use multiple typefaces, cursive scripts or shadows and reflections. Corporate logos must be legible as thumbnails, so keep the text to a minimum and keep it simple.
- · You will need to have the ability to resize your logo from a thumbnail to much larger applications. To make this work your logotype should be designed using vector graphics software. If your designer uses a raster image, your logo will look pixelated when you blow it up — the sure sign of an amateur design.
- · If you're starting up a new business, it's understandable that you'll be looking to do your logo as cheaply as possible. However, do not succumb to the temptation to use stock images. Not only will you run into copyright difficulties, but you may also see your logotype image in someone else's artwork.
- · One big mistake that beginners often make is failing to understand the market for which they are designing. They come up with something to their own personal taste, rather than reflecting the business the logo will be used by. A professional designer will have done their research to ensure their design will be appropriate.
- · The chances are that your amateur designer will produce something derivative, a pale imitation of a big-name logo that's already out there. But if you really want to make an impact with your logo, then you need something new and unique — and in a crowded marketplace, that's harder than you think.
When it comes to logo design, it really doesn't pay to cut corners. Your logotype design is your corporate fingerprint and the most constant image in the public view. If you don't get it right from the start, you'll only face a costly redesign further down the road — and that will put you back immeasurably as you try to build brand recognition. Do yourself a favour and use a professional designer.