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Typography in logo design

Typography in logo design

Anyone can take a nicely illustrated graphic, plop the latest and greatest font on it and call it a logo. It takes a responsible and smart designer to understand that a logo is much more than that. Simply typing out a name in a font and adjusting the kerning won’t do either. You need to get in there and get your hands dirty. The following are a few things to consider when designing your next logo:

Learn about typography.

I am a strong believer that designing with type is an art that must be learned and then perfected. It can be self taught, but it requires the understanding of numerous do’s and don’ts that are essential to good design. There are also a long list of terms related to the anatomy of type, too many to list in this post, that are crucial to understanding before attempting some of the suggestions laid out in this post. A book that helped me while I was going to school was Typography & Typesetting by Ronald Labuz

Find the perfect fonts.

This takes significant research into who the brand or company is, what their brand essence is and what is the brand’s message. You wouldn’t want to make a technology company look like a food manufacturer. It will help to get familiar with the company, what space they are in, and research similar companies within the space. This will give you a good basis for understanding what your sets of “rules” are and how far you can bend them to make your design stand out from the crowd. This process should take time, and will require a lot of patience, but proper research will always net a better end product.

Complimentary contrast.

Try not to limit your selections to one font, or even font family. Get crazy. Choose several fonts from different font families, to add contrast to your design. Just make sure you are picking fonts that feel the same, and are complimentary. Pick fonts that look like they are at least within the same neighborhood in tone and structure. Just remember that different fonts can work as long as the design doesn’t resemble a ransom letter.

Modify the font.

Always change the font. Never keep it as it came. Modify it enough to own it, while still preserving its essence. It’s OK if you can still make out what the typeface was, but it is usually smart to edit or modify it enough so as to make it your own. A little swash here, and a larger x-height there. Modifying a typeface gives it your signature, and eventually, you will see your style emerge. Your calling card so to speak.

Make sure it’s legible. At any size. In any medium.

This may seem redundant, but it is extremely important to understand that your design needs to translate across multiple mediums, and in varying sizes. You have to think of how the logo will look on a billboard on the highway, as a social media icon, all the way down to a favicon. The brand needs to be recognizable at any size. And it doesn’t stop there, you can go as far as understanding and thinking of the design if applied to an alternate material, printed in spot colors on a package, or even in motion as part of a motion graphics project. Understand that this design can, and probably will, live everywhere.

The point of all of this is to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack, and really stand out as someone who thinks about the work they do, and who takes the time and effort to perfect their craft. Without taking the time to create something memorable, then you are just a technician plugging away at a computer, and who wants to be that?