Thursday, July 12, 2012

Logos Exist Within a Context

Every designer and client wants a logo that's unique. But there are times when it's a good idea not to stray too far from an industry's general feel.

Why is that? Every logo exist within a particular context. And that context is determined by the type of audience that industry attracts. What I mean is that within every industry there are audiences that come with it, who have expectations.

So, the initial question to consider when designing a logo isn't necessarily about its uniqueness, but is in how the logo should hold up in the audience's mind. How should a logo look to an audience interacting within a particular industry?

For instance, we naturally compare businesses in similar industries just by their logo and presentation. Don't believe me? Compare any a pizza company in your area with perhaps a Pizza Hut. If you like Pizza Hut, and you know nothing about these other companies, you will make a judgment rather quickly just by the look of the logo and website. There are some logos and websites that give the impression that the pizza is probably not very good. As you can see, most of our opinions are formed rather quickly just by the look of the website and logo.

This doesn't mean that every pizza logo needs to look the same. But it does mean that the level of professionalism, use of color, and its consistent application should match or even exceed the competitors in a given market.

So when we as designers, or our clients, want to stretch the uniqueness of a logo, we had better understand why that industry's logos look so similar. And why they seem to work with a given audience. Then we will be able to make informed design decisions that lead to successful solutions, rather than creating uniqueness for the sake of uniqueness.

Photo courtesy earl53 of

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