March 18, 2011 Integra1

Does Your Business Have a Pretty Face?

How to Build a Strong Logo

Case Study: TH Trade

In an age of extreme sensory overload, only the logos that truly standout will make an impact. This is no easy task, given the countless business’ out there, all of which have logos floating around in space.

Even so, some people will have you believe that logos are designed quickly, with little preparation and even less revision time. But we’re not going to lie … elbow grease doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Inspiration from the Source

Once upon a time, a renowned graphic designer was commissioned to create a logo for his client, McBride’s Bar and Grill. After about four hours of work, he showed his design (a big yellow “M”) to his wife, asking her for a critique. Her reply? “Boy, I really feel like going for McDonalds.”

You may not be able to be original in every design you do, but to help, check out what other people have done before you first.

When IMG designed the logo for TH Trade, a business that offers a comprehensive range of furnishings exclusively to interior designers, we looked at logos from other furniture stores and any brand using the letters “TH” in their name. Our favorite places for inspiration are Brands of the World, World’s Top Brands and, of course, Google Images.

Every great logo has to start with a concept, just don’t steal someone else’s!

Pen to Paper

The next step is to bring your inspiration to life. IMG goes through literally hundreds of hand-sketched ideas before picking the few diamonds from the rubble. It’s easy to weed out designs if you revisit the primary use of logo. If a design is too vertical or too horizontal, chances are they’re not going to be as versatile as you’d like. You won’t be able to use the logo on a Web site, business card, etc.

Once you’ve narrowed your sketches down to your favorites, scan them into the computer and draw them there. We like to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

If you have trouble starting your design, the best way to spark creativity is to work with any letters you want in the logo. Fonts are powerful tools in any circumstance; the way letters interact with each other can generate genius.

In TH Trade’s case, we wanted to focus on the fact that TH Trade helps designers build their visions. We liked the idea of drawing blueprints, but it wasn’t until we tried a variety of different fonts that we realized using Lansette Display SSL font allowed both the “T” and the “H” to have perfectly straight lines. And viola, we could make them into grids!

If a business already has their own brand colors, it may be a good idea to stick with those colors. But if you have free range of the color wheel, the more options the better!

Unwelcomed Feedback

Even though sometimes we hate it, feedback is a big contributor to making a good logo great. With anything we work on, we ask for feedback — from our mothers (our biggest fans), neighbors (which in New Galilee is oftentimes a cow), and, of course, the client. What they like or don’t like will influence the direction of the logo.

But remember, if you really like a concept that others hate, you shouldn’t give up on it. Just keep working on your idea, tweaking it along the way, until the potential you see comes through to others.

Believe us, TH Trade’s logo would look completely different if we didn’t take every criticism with a grain of salt.

Just When You Think It’s Over …

So you’ve got a killer concept, the right font and it’s looking like a logo! But that’s just it – it looks like a logo. What comes next is the ever important step that takes a “logo” and makes it the gorgeous face of a company. What can you do to make your logo stand out?

For TH Trade, we added four different colors, a reflection and scaled the “TH” to make it more prominent. When you’re close to the finish line, push yourself to do the little extra effects. That’s what will stand for your brand’s personality.

The Wow Factor

Remember that in the dynamic world today, logos can go beyond print on a page. What will your logo do on a Web site? What will it do in a TV commercial or on a Facebook page? Adding different, unique elements to your logo will help it stand out from the ordinary.

To “build” TH Trade’s logo into something bigger, we wanted to literally “build” the logo. We took our blueprint grids and added animation so that it looked like the logo was being constructed right before our eyes.

TH Trade Animation (Version 1) TH Trade Animation (Version 2) TH Trade Animation (Version 3)

We tried different versions of  assembling the blocks before finally settling on a real show stopper. But even that wasn’t enough. Using the blueprint mocks, we decided to include some of TH Trade’s furniture into the background of the blocks. With a few bells and whistles at the end, we had finally done it.

If you’re tired from reading the blog post on the construction of the TH Trade logo, you should have tried making it! Like we said from the beginning, creating the face of your business is not something to take lightly. But if you put in the time, effort and skills, you can stand out from the rest.

Want to see the finished product? Check it out here.