Considerations for Logo Design
A well-designed logo is one of the most important things you will have for your business. You will use it in all sorts of business promotion, from brochures to banners. Some people make the mistake of creating a logo from clipart in a word processing program or pictures they have found on the web. These things may give a quick fix for creating a logo, but in the long run they could lead to severe consequences. In this article we will discuss some common mistakes in designing a logo and how to avoid them.
"I Made My Logo in Word"
Chances are, if you started a small business and just needed something quick to put on a business card or flyer, you might have opened up Microsoft Word or another word processing program and created a quick logo. You probably used the clipart provided in the program or pictures you found somewhere else. For a tiny business just starting out, this may be fine for a while, but if you're growing and beginning to acquire a larger client base, it's important not to step on any copyright laws. If your logo came from clipart anywhere, that means it was created by, and therefore owned by, someone else. The last thing you want to do is completely change your logo once you've already put it on a website, created business cards from it, put it in your brochures, or maybe even put it on a TV commercial or billboard. Since you don't own the rights to the original clipart, you're running this risk every time you use the logo containing it. If you're a growing company with a logo whose rights you don't entirely own, it's critical to create a new logo that belongs to you.
"My Logo is a Photograph"
Photographs are great for illustrating concepts very concisely. However, they aren't the best choice for logos because they don't scale well. Imagine for a moment that you want to use your logo on a business card. Now you need to take that photo and smoosh it down into a tiny box on the upper left hand corner of a 3.5-inch by 2-inch space. How good does that photo of a lion (or car, or house, or waterfall) look now? Can you even tell what it is? Next, you might try print it on a banner to hang outside your business. If you have a standard size picture (which usually prints at 6 inches by 4 inches) and you try to blow up that image to fill a 4-foot by 2-foot area on your banner, it's probably going to look very fuzzy and grainy. People will be able to tell what's in the photo, but it'll appear extremely pixelated. If the photo belongs to you (meaning, you took the photo, or you have permission from the person who took the photo) you can salvage this kind of logo by using the photo as a springboard from which you create a new logo that will scale to any size you like, be it a tiny card or a huge poster.
"I Really Love X Font and I Want to Use it as My Logo"
This kind of logo isn't inherently problematic. Logos that are text-only can, indeed, be very beautiful in a simplistic kind of way. The problem arises if you've used a font that belongs to someone else, and even more so if it's the only thing in your logo. If your logo is comprised of text and picture, then the text is only part of the logo and typically it's not a problem to use a font that allows for royalty-free commercial usage. Carefully reading the license agreement will reveal any terms preventing you from lawfully using the font. The author may require you to purchase a special license for using the font, or attribution, or something else entirely. The takehome message is, if you are in love with a particular font and want to use it for your logo, take time to read the license agreement and make sure you're not going to run into a lawsuit later on for copyright infringement.
"So How Can I Create a Good Logo?"
The best logos are carefully planned creative works of art that represent your brand without cluttering your marketing materials. A logo can be simple or complex, but it must follow rules of good design, be created in such a way that it can be easily scaled, and be a completely original work of art that you own the rights to. If you're creating the logo yourself, avoid using stock photos or clipart of any kind. Instead, draw sketches on paper of what you think you'd like, and then try to create that in an image editing program. If you are familiar with vector graphics, it's optimal to have your logo done in vector to maximize scalability. If you're still struggling with creating your logo, nHarmony can help you turn your sketches in to a logo that will last you for years.
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