Just as writing an engaging story takes skill and finesse, so does designing an iconic logo. A business owner is the author, and their company’s logo is the first chapter of their story.
Smarter Writers needed a new logo to start their own story as an online platform for writers from around the globe to meet, discuss their process and works, and become better, smarter writers. Through 99designs, a website that matches designers to businesses, the company held a contest to find a fresh new logo for their writing hub.
Smarter Writers requested that the logo’s design be something that could be printed and promoted with ease. They also noted that the logo should include a clear and inviting writing motif, such as a writing utensil or book. Twenty designers approached this logo design challenge, but just one found their fairytale ending.
Let’s take a moment to compare the top three designs on our Bella Rib Three-Quarter Sleeve Raglan T-Shirt (Women’s). Can you guess the winning design?
The winner: Design #1
Who should have won: Design #1
The winning logo, front and center, does it best. This concept shines with straightforward imagery and a great sense of design hierarchy. The logo is easy to interpret and emphasizes what’s really important: writing and doing it smartly.
Design #1 (winning design)
Keep it Simple, Smart, to the Point
The best logos are comprised of simple, easily discernable shapes that relay a clear message with just a glance. Everything from the pen nib, pointing upwards in a seemingly triumphant gesture of “aha!”, to the rays of light fanning out from the bulb shape, paint a perfect picture of an inspired writer. The use of two colors was appropriate here, but we can see that the designer even considered occasions where it may be printed in just one. All things in red appear bolded while the font in black has a lighter touch.
Even if the colors weren’t there to distinguish hierarchy, other design elements were put in play to ensure that we always know where to look. Placing visual emphasis on the most distinguishing parts of your logo enforces memorability. When planning your logo, test to make sure that your design is effective in black and white, even if you are planning to use more colors in the final rendition.
Don’t Leave Any Mysteries
This logo design is a sleek and more modern approach to Smarter Writers’ desired concept. Although it looks visually appealing, the logo doesn’t follow through in clarity. The bold lines of the “S” and “W” wordmark blend together and the pen nib, made from the negative space of the “W”, becomes a little too abstract.
Combined with the not-so-recognizable boxy “S”, it’s very possible that some part of this logo might not be recognizable without the company’s name beneath. A logo shouldn’t have to be solved, instead prioritize it being easily digestible for your audience.
Don’t Get Lost in the Details
Although this design is conceptually almost identical to the winning design, it places emphasis on the light bulb iconography, causing the pen nib to seem more like an afterthought. This is largely in part due to the directional “light rays” guiding our eye inward to the filament of the bulb, but also a result of the sheer density of shapes making up the bulb versus the single shape denoting the pen nib.
When looking at an image, our eyes can get caught up in cluttered spaces instead of seeing the image as a whole. To create better hierarchy, the pen nib should have been added in at a larger scale. The human brain takes in images before words, so a large pen nib would catch the attention of the brand’s target audience in an instant.
It’s also crucial to consider how a logo will look at different sizes, whether printing it on a business card or a billboard. This logo, although it would read effectively at a large scale, would get muddled at a small size and runs the risk of the small lines bleeding together in print. When in doubt, aim to use the fewest lines possible in your logo- simplicity is key!
A great company should be matched with a great logo. Just as a well-written book will attract publicity and readership, a well-designed logo will grant your company staying power in an ever-changing market.
Think of your logo as the main character in the story of your business- it will be the figurehead of your products or services, and what clients will picture when they think of your company’s name. Need to do more research? Check out our previous logo design articles for more tips that will turn your logo into a starring lead.