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Mar 05 2019

Good Artwork is NOT Good Logo Design

Whether your business is new or you’re re-visioning it, there’s bound to be a lot of excitement and energy around it! In fact, you may even have a very specific idea for your logo, with lush colors, and watercolor effects, and beautiful, finely detailed linework, and…

Okay, hang on. There may be room for really involved artwork in your brand, but for your logo? We’ll need to scale it back a bit.

Keep It Simple. Seriously.

When you take a look at the most prominent logos in the world, or even in your industry, you’ll notice pretty quickly that many of them are simple. There is room for some detail, sure, but they’re designed to communicate the brand in a clear way. And there’s a good reason for that: if you shrink a detailed artwork down to a smaller size, it often turns into a weird, shapeless blob. n>

Take a look at some of these redesigned logos at a smaller size. If you look at the older logos on the left, you’ll notice that, while there is interesting artwork involved, they often have so much detail that you can hardly tell what they’re for. Even a figure as iconic as the Morton’s Salt Girl reads much more clearly when the artwork is cleaner and more simplified.

These organizations have all updated to much cleaner logo designs in their modern branding, and you’ll see that it’s much easier to see, identify, and remember them now than it used to be.

Can You Read This?

Frilly details in your type can also derail your logo design. Decorative cursive and script fonts can look great in design–but only if they’re at a large enough size to take advantage of the style and details. Some of the more decorative fonts become nigh-illegible if you use them at a smaller size, which makes them a dicey proposition for a logo.

Your logo needs to look good and be easy to read, whether it’s on a billboard or a business card. That means you’ll want to be careful about the fonts you use in your logo. If your customer can’t read the name of your company, how will they ever remember it?

Use Your Detailed Artwork In a Better Place

If you have an idea for eye-catching artwork that fits your brand, you shouldn’t shoehorn it into your logo. Instead, look for other parts of your visual brand that can really take advantage of it! A distinctive illustration could make a lovely background or hero image for your website, or it could make a promotional postcard really pop! Both you and the artist will be much happier seeing that artwork in a form where it can be fully appreciated, and that art can still make your brand memorable without muddying the waters of your logo.

A critical mistake that many less-experienced designers make is putting beauty before function. Good artwork always has a place in our world, but it doesn’t do us any favors if its visual appeal takes away from its reason for being. One of the biggest challenges in design is bringing beauty and function together, and you’ll get better results if you stay in touch with your brand. In the long run, you’ll find that your brand is more memorable when it has both clear purpose and an aesthetic to match.

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