Thursday, February 25, 2010

Logo Design - Art for Businesses

Logo Design by LogoInn: Beardsley IceCream and Snacks

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Starbucks Logo – A coffee logo with no steamy mug and beans

When it comes to logo design, many design artists and their clients fear to experiment. They do try to be unique but they don’t want to get carried away. Probably that’s the reason we don’t get to see restaurant logos with nothing culinary about them, or cafĂ© / coffee house logos with no mugs in them.

A logo is such an image that quickly defines your business and creates an image of it, so may be most clients would think that coffee beans and a steamy mug would quickly remind people of their association with the coffee.

However, let me ask you who sells the most coffee in the world? Yes Starbucks is the largest chain of coffee houses and cafes in the world. They made $315 million USD in 2008 selling coffee and other goodies. Surprisingly, the world's most famous coffee giant does not have a steamy mug, coffee beans or even the color of coffee in their logo.

The Official Starbucks Logo Showing a Twin-Tailed Siren (Mermaid) Wearing Crown

The Starbucks coffee logo, shows an illustration of a two tailed mermaid wearing a crown. According to company spokesperson, the twin-tailed mermaid shows company’s heritage and their belonging to the North West Pacific coast [Starbucks is head quartered in Seattle].

Over the years the logo of Starbucks has changed to meet the company’s expansion plans and to be more acceptable in different parts of the United States. However, when Starbucks opened in Saudi Arabia, they completely altered their logo and replaced the Siren/mermaid with just the crown.  Still they did not add a steamy mug, coffee bean or any such stereotypical element into their logo. 

Starbucks had many chances to rebrand itself, but they did not. This makes an interesting study in brand identity and marketing strategy. The name Starbucks is synonymous to Coffee in the United States. 

The important thing that new businesses and logo designers should keep in mind is that when you are designing a logo you are not just offering people a product; you are offering them a name, a brand, a business, and a product to remember. It is not necessary that a coffee shop should have coffee beans in their logo, or a Restaurant should always have food in the logo, or a legal firm must always have the scale of justice in their logo. The point is not to mingle with your competitors but to stand out and shine. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Freelance Logo Design - Not a smart choice

Why you should not hire a freelance logo designer to create your corporate logo design? Even though the reasons are quite obvious, but discussing these reasons might help us better understand our choices.

More people working means More Ideas and Concepts:
Even a smaller logo design company maintains a qualified staff with varying skills and experiences. This means that the client gets a variety of designs and concepts from more than one designer.

Reliability Factor:
When a freelancer is working on your logo there is no one to watch him or guide him except the client. Since the clients usually don’t have a degree in fine arts or design they often fail to communicate with the freelancer. Miscommunication may result into either dismissal of the job or a bad outcome. On the other hand, in a professional logo design company the designers are working under the direct supervision of the company and the client’s needs are communicated through the channels of customer support and sales departments. These departments usually have trained staff that is able to communicate with the clients effectively.

Bigger Projects and Expansion Plans:
Freelancers take much longer time if they are hired to do bigger projects. This time and the monetary resources can be saved by hiring professional companies with skills and staff to handle bigger projects in a timely fashion. Also freelancers have availability issues, for example you might need something to compliment your logo, for example a brochure design, and the freelance designer might be busy with other projects at that time.

Large Pool of Services:
A freelance logo designer may only offer you specialized services in the field of their expertise. However if you hire a professional logo design company they usually offer variety of services and packages to choose from.

In the end work with a professional design firm means better ideas and concepts, more creativity, more reliability and the timely completion of the project. This is how businesses should hire service providers that help them save time and resources and give the best possible outcome of the money spent.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Share Icon Project - One Icon For All Sharing

There was once a time when blogs were called weblogs, diaries and online journals. They were the coolest thing happening on the web at that time. Then came Syndication feeds, which allowed the webloggers to share their content in new different ways. Then there came a variety of feeds, like RSS, RSS 2.0, Atom and so on. So the webloggers who were then already jumped onto Blogger and Wordpress blogging platforms started serving all flavors of these feeds. To display a link to these feeds they needed icon so everyone started using different icons for different feeds.

Atom Icon
XML Icon
RSS Icon

Some used XML icon, others used RSS icon, and some used the orange icon that we see everywhere today. Until one day it was decided by web giants that we should make this icon a standard And so came the RSS icon.

These days there is a variety of websites every offering buttons that you can add on your blogs or websites and allow your site's visitors to share your content with their social networks, bookmarks and email contacts. Some websites offer fancy buttons that expand over to accommodate the dozens of social sites. Each of these websites used their own style, design, logos and icons for sharing and it became confusing to figure out how to share quickly without leaving a webpage.

There was a definite need to have something that tells the visitors that if you click on this button or take your mouse over it you will be then showed a list of sharing options that you can choose from. The purpose was to avoid confusion and make it easier for web surfers to share the information.

ShareIcon  Project, offered the solution to the problem. Alex King creator of the Share This sharing service shared the ShareThis icon with the web community to freely use as the standard sharing icon.
The icon of Share this is shown below:

However, there is another project called Open Share Icons a project run by ShareaHolic. They also suggest that there should be a common icon for sharing and they offer their own icon for this purpose. However they oppose the idea of using the ShareThis icon for the purpose. Since ShareThis icon has copyright restrictions, they suggest that a more openly licensed icon should be used for the purpose.

OpenShareIcons recognizes Alex King's efforts but they present their case in these words:
The design of the Open Share Icon is inspired by Alex King's original Share Icon - . The original Share Icon, designed with community input, driven and popularized by Alex King was later sold to ShareThis/Nextumi, Inc.
Since being acquired, that icon has been subject to take down notices by ShareThis/Nextumi, Inc, and its original intended usage restricted in practice. We, as a community, felt these actions by ShareThis/Nextumi, Inc did not reflect the original spirit with which the original share icon was created, and hence felt the need for a new, truly open, free and more flexible community-driven alternative.
I personally go for openness when it comes to technology and ShareThis icon is definitely not open. So I personally recommend using the Open Share Icons.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Restaurant Logo Design

Restaurants are probably the most common of all small businesses. But unlike many other small businesses most restaurants close in the first four years of their business. Reasons vary, sometimes the tax environment is not good, sometimes it is the location, but most of the time it is the competition that eliminates these new businesses.

Diners tend to perform a little better than a full restaurant. Even these diners have to compete with the other already established restaurants for lunch crowd, and breakfast hours.

Marketing plays a very major role in the restaurant business. Effective use of online tools, better design, better services can help a new restaurant build a loyal customer base. Unfortunately after spending so much on the equipment, the dining furniture, decorations and lighting there is very little budget left for marketing. Bu thats the beauty of marketing online you don't need to have big budgets to target your market.

As mentioned in the previous posts an effective marketing campaign begins with a good logo design. In such difficult and competent marketing, every thing needs to be unique and so does your logo design. You will find many graphic designers who would want to do your logo design but the thing is that you can't just hire anyone. You need to be sure that the person you are hiring will bring up some ideas that would knock out the logos of your competitors. Not only a new restaurant needs a good and uniquely interesting logo design, you will also need refreshing new ways to present your restaurant online and you can't do that without a website.

Once you have got your logo design, you can move forward to getting a web design. Signing up for social networks like twitter and facebook, running an e-mail newsletter, or perhaps a blog. Advertising your website in your business card and brochures so that people can connect with you online where you can show them just how wonderful your restaurant is.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Calm and Soothing - Logos of Spas and Saloons

It really fascinates me how so many logo design artists come up with the same idea when designing a logo for a particular type of business. For example, when they are designing a logo for a law firm you would see that a great many of them will come up with the idea of incorporating the lady justice or her scale into the logo.

Some might argue that it is such a shame that these cheap logo design companies come up with stereotypical ideas. Well actually it is not that they are lazy, its just that they have professionals who do not care much about creating something a new instead they would just stick to the rule book of logo design that they have hidden in their desk drawer.

For example lets have a look at the logos of Spas and Saloons created by some logo design companies and the artists. Notice that almost all of them incorporate the same style element into their logos. These elements are elegance, femenine touch, colors, curves and lines that represent female body.

This is the logo os some Real Spa Thalasso. Notice the colors and the curves. 
This is the logo of Maiden spa, instead of using the shades that i mentioned they used black and white but a figure of female body and elegance element is still there.

Now have a look at a non typical logo of a Spa.

This is the logo of a Girl's Gotta Spa Inc. Visit their website 

This logo design is different and creative. It uses a combination of different colors prominently pink, even though it does use a female figure but the femenine curves of the body are replaced with a fun looking portrayal of a comic character. The typeface is not so deadly elegant but a fun elegant. Now even though it does use the similar style elements but it is not an stereotypical logo design of a spa and people would definitely notice it and love it.
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