We wrap up February with a 99designs epiphany, the new Cleveland Brown logo looks awfully like the old one, some logo nostalgia, Oscar graphics, Lego Oscars, logo design tips and a couple of llamas go on the lamb.
Running a little behind with this, but sticking with our better late than ever philosophy, still publishing this round-up on Monday night rather than on the weekend like we’re supposed to. The last week of February was a busy week, lot’s of stuff to cover, so we’re going to forgo our usual intro and get right down to it.
We culled some logo design tips from all our various lists and blog posts and boiled them down to 25. Then we made this nifty presentation.
As we posted last week, we’ve been experimenting a bit with Slideshare, the Powerpoint presentation sharing site, this being our second outing on the platform. ICYMI, here’s the first, Effective Colors for Logos and Brands. Below is an analog version of the 25 tips contained in the Slideshare upstairs, along with some links to supporting resources.
Photoshop turns 25, a load of new logos, great design resources, creepy emoji for introverts, Obama’s kumbia Terror-Busting logo, how the gig economy is either doomed or the end of us all, history of Warner Brothers’ logos and a pre-Oscars look at the Oscars logo. Etc.
It was a busy week around The Factor (with apologies to Bill O’Reilly, who’s in a spot of bother of his own so he probably won’t mind) what with Valentine’s Day, Canada’s Maple Leaf 50th Anniversary, a couple of snow storms and some of the coldest weather this winter. Still, we managed to shamelessly troll 50 Shades of Grey and explain why you see things in logos that aren’t really there. Now, it’s time for Snippets, our weekly look back at the week that was.
Without further adieu..
It is a logo designer’s worst nightmare. That ever-so-clever symbol is released into the wild and it’s interpreted entirely different than intended, often as something to do with sexy-time. There’s a name for that phenomenon. It’s called pareidolia..
In the most simplest terms, pareidolia (pronounced pare-eye-dole-ee-a) can be considered “mental pattern matching.” It’s whenever your brain sees something it doesn’t instantly recognize, goes rummaging through your file folder of known shapes and patterns trying to find a match and attempting to make sense of something that at first blush, it can’t make sense of. When the gray matter finds what it thinks is a match, it spits out the result, and you believe you’re seeing something you recognize. Usually, it all works pretty well and lickety-split. There are times though, when your brain can’t quite figure out what the object is, so it jams a recognized item, or pattern, into the equation and you believe you’re recognizing something that actually isn’t there. It’s almost a bug in your head’s software and results in some often weird stuff happening. It’s why people think they see pictures of Jesus in burnt toast. Faces in mountain ranges on Mars. It’s how many optical illusions work – think the “is this a vase or two faces?” image we’re all familiar with. It’s the basis of The Rorschach (inkblot) test. What’s this got to do with logo design you might ask? Plenty. See, pareidolia is what allows designers to break items into bare-bones components and symbols and still have them recognized. When it goes well, it’s makes for clever logos. When it doesn’t? Uhm..
Shameless hucksterism and bandwagon jumping aside, this post isn’t about the movie that bears the title. Nope, it’s about your logo in black and white and everything you need to know. It may well involve grey. And a whole bunch of shades that are technically tints..
It’s certainly a colorful world. We’ve been talking about logos and color a lot recently – see our Picking the Right Color Scheme for the most recent – and many of you are probably wondering why we’re talking about black as a color at all (other than to crowbar the name of a movie into a blog post title.) That may be true (the idea IS to get people to read this blog) but black as a color – especially when it comes to logo design and branding – isn’t quite dead yet. In fact, it’s more alive than ever. If we take a look at the 100 Most Valuable Brand Logos, we’ll see that – after blue – black is the most frequently used color for identity design, beating out Orange, Red, Yellow and Green (Purple too.)
In terms of color psychology as it applies to branding, there’s a very legit reason why that should be. Here’s the appropriate bit pulled off that infographic which explains it quite nicely:
Black is very serious. It represents wealth (tuxedos are black for a reason,) elegance and sophistication. It is a no-nonsense color and black is still used by a lot of fabulously successful brands. Apple, judged both the biggest (and one of the most innovative) companies in the world, eschewed rainbow colors in their logo back in 1998, adopting a simple black or white icon that they’ve kept ever since (though it appears with a greyscale chrome effect when a fancier version is needed.)
It’s safe to say that if Apple is using a monochrome logo, it’s pretty safe for you to use a monochrome logo too. Among the top 100 brands, the majority do.
Am I suggesting that all logos should be black, grey or monochrome? No, far from it. Color is, and will remain, an integral part of most effective brand systems. Though, if you’re a design buyer, you should be at least open to the suggestion. If you’re a designer, you should be at least open to suggesting it. Remember, black (or monochrome) logos are the most versatile.
They can be printed black on white, reversed white on black, and are lovely when used in areas where you have no control over the surrounding graphic colors. Think social media platform Twitter and Facebook with their cacophony of sometimes conflictingly colorful “user generated content.” The pics, slides and shares on Twitter and Facebook have no rhyme or reason, and The Logo Factory uses a neutral black version to compensate for that. Monochromatic logos can also be printed as any one color you choose – great for trinkets like coffee mugs and pens – and where a more complex multi-colored logo may present some technical (read: expensive) challenges. A black (or monochrome) design is the logo stripped to its quintessential simplicity.