Computer scientist Alan Kay said it perfectly: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it
.” With so many people laid off or looking for change, the recession has been ripe for innovation, inspiring countless entrepreneurs to start new businesses. Networking, building client lists, and showcasing talent are all at the top of the to-do list for new enterprises, but often logo and brand development are overlooked - with company names appear as simple typefaces on a word document. The bottom line is that for a business to emerge at the top in this market, it needs to promote its services and products with distinctful, thoughtful and impactful graphic design that builds business even on a tight marketing budget. A new facelift and logo can kick start a business and gain audience share.
We encounter logos daily probably by the thousands. Each of them tries to gain our attention in advertising, multimedia displays, and even on business cards. They say the most about a new company, organization or product with the smallest amount of words, and they’re typically the first things that a consumer sees. Think McDonald’s Golden Arches, Olive Garden’s bunches of grapes, Mercedes Benz’ three pointed star and H&R Block’s green box. A logo is usually the piece of a brand that has the most longevity and has the potential to remain unchanged for decades, even hundreds of years.
Even if you aren’t a leader in your field, a logo is one of the simplest tools that can transform a business’ identity in one glance. A new entrepreneur can look like a big deal from the start with specifically designed branding and logos that speak volumes. Though each are different, successful logos are the ones that are distinct, forward thinking and able to generate interest and spark conversations. In their simplest form, they are a symbol of who you are, or who a company is trying to become.
“A client’s ideal logo is always iconic, distinctive and easily identifiable,” said Ira F. Cummings, a designer at Alphabet Arm in Boston. “During the design process, we focus on the aspects of a company’s character and values. From there, we distill their most important elements into a visual form. It should be something you've never seen before, but understand instantly, and that says everything about the business as if it were a person.”
Here are a few lessons learned from companies that needed an instant makeover
Cable Car Cinema & Café, Providence, Rhode Island
The new identity came about as a change of business ownership. The new owners felt that the cinema lacked an image that separated it from the other film art-houses. The old signage was inconsistent, dated, and lacked a cohesive guiding principle. The new logo needed to reference its history while signifying its new life.
AFTER: The fresh and modern composition, color choices and font selection refer to the theater's rich history and the cable car era. Says the owner, “Our independent cinema is considered a local institution and is deeply embedded into the cultural fabric of the city. This logo speaks to the spirited past by using a unique and specific color palette and an evocative form
Channing Johnson Photography, National
Working with artists often means encapsulating a feeling or philosophy behind a body of work. The photographer wanted a dramatic new identity that captured his unique viewpoint as a photojournalist and wedding photographer. His current logo consisted of a stock typeface that was stodgy and said nothing about the artist's personality or individuality.
AFTER: The new design utilizes a script typeface that alludes to the sophistication and elegant nature of his photos. The imperfections suggest the rawness and immediacy of his journalistic style.
The Wine Bottega, Boston, Massachusetts
This wine retailer’s previous logo was a simple type treatment that lacked distinction. It used a simple, Disney-esque word mark that didn't speak to its sophisticated audience or communicate the business' spirit.
AFTER: The new logo differentiates itself from clichéd grape and glass wine iconography and appeals to a consumer who might not be well educated about wine, but appreciates a quality vintage. The new "Wine Explorer" figure is a metaphor for the journey of searching out a quality wine that ends with a destination. The image is a conversation starter. Says the Wine Bottega owner, “Everyday at least one customer comments on our logo. The creativity of the logo sets us apart from other wine stores and lets people know from the moment they see it that this is not your typical shop
Aaron Belyea is founder, owner and senior designer at Alphabet Arm, a full service design studio known for its bold, creative and striking print designs. Its creative team specializes in Logo Design & Branding, Marketing & Collateral Design, CD Art Direction and Merchandise Design. Alphabet Arm’s clients include advertising and word-of-mouth agencies, entertainment venues, entrepreneurial start-ups, higher education institutions, non-profit organizations and retailers. More than 50 of Alphabet Arm Design’s logos are included in industry design publications. For more information, please visit www.alphabetarm.com