Lippincott senior partner in design Rodney Abbot is a former judge of the HOW Logo Design Awards. Abbot has extensive expertise in creating visual identity programs that translate brand strategy into expression and experience. Having been at Lippincott for 20 years, he’s created numerous identity and environmental design programs for a diverse range of clients including Dell, IBM, Infiniti, Nissan and Sprint. Here, he shares his top 5 tips for designing a logo.
1. Know who you’re designing for.
You are not the client; your client isn’t the client either. Understand who the end users are, the people who will interact with your work every day, and design to those users. Your goal should be to inspire the loyalists and convert the detractors.
2. Stay true to the brand.
It’s rare to start with a blank slate; there may be visual elements that already exist and simply need to be dusted off and updated. Ask yourself if there are any visual elements worth keeping. If there are, don’t stop till you find a fresh, new way of expressing those elements.
3. Ideas come first.
Push yourself to generate ideas—lots of ideas—don’t get caught up iterating on a single concept. Don’t fall in love with the first idea that pops into your head. Always question if you can push the work further. Focus on the craft only when you have some solid ideas.
4. Stick to the process (don’t take shortcuts).
For most clients, going through the process of creating a new logo is an uncommon and unfamiliar activity. They need to be educated and brought along as you progress. Take the time to do the necessary research, understand the business, dig into the competitors (today’s and future), listen attentively to what people say. And always connect your work to the business.
5. Keep it simple.
Often the hardest part is avoiding the pressure to pile more and more into the design. Instead, strip away everything you can until you are down to the essential idea. Stay focused on that one, strong idea, expressed as simply as possible.
Trust your gut (but don’t take yourself too seriously).
If you feel passionately about the work, your client will see that and be more likely to respond in kind. But don’t confuse stubbornness for true conviction. Pick your battles carefully, stay open, and have fun.
Picture above is a former winner in the HOW Logo Design Awards.
Will you be next? Enter by the Nov. 4 deadline.