Iconic clothing brand, The Gap, unveiled its new logo October 6th resulting in a frenzy of outraged designers.
I have heard it said, design means being good, not just looking good.
When I graduated college with a degree in graphic design over 30 years ago, I was often asked, what is graphic design? This seems humorous now in a time where “graphic designers in the U.S, outnumber chemical engineers by four to one.”*
What I answered, then, is very different than what I would answer now.
Then: Graphic design is arranging type and art on a page to look good.
Now: Graphic design is visually communicating with intent.
This brings up the question, is design just about looking good?
What is good design? It is definitely more than just “looking good”. Keep in mind, “design” can mean the design of anything.
Metaphors are representations. They represent an idea but are not the idea itself.
We use visual metaphors in design to create a familiar experience for people by focusing on ideas and objects they understand. The metaphor associates two objects that appear unrelated at first but unconsciously, the mind makes the association almost immediately. So people stop and take a second look. You get more than 4.7 seconds with this creative strategy.
From swish to smile.
The swish inspired by the Nike “swoosh” has been a visual element used in logos for about 20 years now, and it seems it has finally seen its day. Make way for the rise of the “happy and friendly” smile!
That’s the amount of time you have to engage a prospects attention as they walk by your booth.
How do you achieve this? Show-stopping graphics are a great place to start.
Are you using easily identifiable visual communications that connect uniquely and quickly back to your company? Are you paying attention to the way your visual brand is used across mediums? Do your website, Twitter account and Facebook profile use the same overall visual features so viewers know it is your company they are experiencing?
How can you build a memorable visual brand appropriate for print, web, trade shows, signage and social media?
Color attracts attention.
There is no doubt about it, the eye always looks at the most vibrant element in the space. A good logo not only needs to be simple… it also needs the effective use of color. This doesn’t mean you need a large variation of color. It just means the color needs to be appropriate, pleasing and complementary to the brand.
Prudential’s “Logo Evolution” of The Rock® is a perfect example of the simplifying of a logo. What began as a detailed illustration in 1870 has now evolved to its most simplistic form, displaying more of a symbolic visual icon. As mentioned in the last post, simplicity is one of the keys to a great logo. And great logos gain recognition.