Coding, logo design, and promotional products… what do these three things have in common? They’re the topics of this month’s The Right Logo for Your Promo- a monthly feature where we share the freshest logo design advice based on the competitions held by 99designs. While dissecting the contest’s competing entries, we’ll give you tools to help you in designing your own logo, from handy pointers to techniques used by the pros.

This month’s focus is the full-service software development company Blue Umbrella. This startup gleaned attention from over 30 designers and received over 130 entries. Out of these, we’ll take a magnifying glass to the top three.

Below are the top competing logos, including the winning design, as they would look screen printed onto our Eco-Friendly Non-Woven Tote Bag (Medium). This snazzy promo is super durable, comes in over a dozen colors, and will get your logo seen by the masses. Envisioning how a logo will look on a variety of different promos helps determine its versatility and overall effectiveness.

Blue umbrella tote bags

The winner: Design #1

Who should have won:
Design #2

Design #2 is easily readable, modern, and creative. Design #1 is sleek and suggests what kind of business the company is, but at the great cost of distracting from its readability.

Design #1 [winning logo]

Looking Cool is Not Enough

Blue umbrella design #1

In coding language, curly bracers “{}” are used to create a function- instructions for a program. What is contained within the bracers are the instructions. With that in mind, the curly bracers made to stand in for the l’s in “umbrella” lack any purpose at all and are merely meant to suggest the idea of coding. Even more pressing, the bracket used to create the “E” in “Blue” does not have a partner- all brackets and bracers in coding must have a pair or the code is incomplete and will result in program error. The thought alone would make any developer panic!

Although griping on the misuse of these symbols in an otherwise effective logo might seem majorly nitpicky, think about this company’s audience. Those who are familiar with code and those who would likely hire this company would see this design as amateur or suggesting that Blue Umbrella lacks knowledge in their field. The best way to prevent this? Avoid arbitrarily using symbols that hold greater meaning.

Design #2

“Keep It Simple Stupid!” (The KISS Principle)

Blue umbrella design #2

For a little background here, the phrase “Keep It Simple Stupid” was coined by a lead U.S. Naval engineer in the 1960’s. This sage advice to aim for simplicity holds true not only for naval engineering but with any type of design at all. In many circles it’s since become a golden rule.

Why does this logo deserve the winning spot? Everything in Design #2 has a clear-cut purpose that would make the creator of the KISS Principle proud. It makes great use of a simple but memorable logomark, a two-dimensional umbrella that can be drawn with a single line. The logomark simultaneously reminds us of the company’s name while the dots on both ends of the line creating the umbrella suggest a circuit board or data charting. What’s more, the Visual Hierarchy (the order in which you might read the logo) is well thought out, taking your eye from the umbrella, to the company’s name, to their motto underneath. Blue Umbrella would have put their business at an advantage had they picked this logo!

Design #3

The Umbrella Paradox

Blue umbrella design #3

You just read this logo as “Blue Jmbrella” didn’t you? Even though our brains are pretty darn smart, nothing can stop this “U” from turning into a “J” as the result of poor design! The idea of using an umbrella to help spell the word “umbrella” seems like it would be a clever and effective idea, so what didn’t work? Simply, the umbrella handle’s “U” shape doesn’t read as such because it resembles a “J” that much more. When replacing a letter with an image or symbol, be sure that the shape created resembles the letter that you had intended and not something else.

A strong logo has the chance to make a stellar first impression and tell consumers a company’s purpose. The image of the umbrella is literal but doesn’t do anything further to suggest what the company is actually all about. This logo doesn’t take any risks and falls short as a result.

Final Thoughts

Even though there isn’t a secret programmer’s code for making the perfect logo, you can rely on our monthly design tips and tricks to help you know a well-crafted logo when you see one- and what goes into making it!

Catch us again next month for another in-depth review of the latest logo design feats and faux pas brought to you by Quality Logo Products®!

Quality Logo Products®

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