The Power of One

Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Design | No Comments

The power of one what? One color.

In the universe of logo design, multi-color, gradients, shadows and effects bring sex appeal and glitz to what some deem, boring and plain. I agree, with the first part at least. I love adding a bit of glitz when the right opportunity arises, but when it comes down to longevity, if your logo can’t stand up for itself with just one color, it’s going to fall flat eventually.

My educated guess is that many new logo designers are heavily influenced by icon design. I don’t blame them, icon design has gone from 8-bit atari-esque creatures to gorgeous and surrealistic illustration. Take a look at any modern OS of your choice and each icon is crafted with great skill and attention to realistic detail. When the same approach is applied to logo design, it doesn’t always work out so well. Why? A logo likes to get out, see the city and interact with your client base. Even in this digital age, it’s not always displayed on your smartphone or gorgeous LED monitor. Try printing that gorgeous logo on the side of a pen for a tradeshow, or embroider it on a shirt. It just doesn’t hold up.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you can’t dress up your logo. What I’m saying is, is that if you don’t have a solid, 1-colored leg to stand on, you’re gonna get yourself into trouble down the road. If you have edges defined by color or effects alone, I believe the point has been missed. Every logo I design starts with good old black and white option. Once the primary form of the logo is finalized, then I begin playing with color palettes, and lastly if the branding goals call for it, I’ll consider embellishing it further.

Call me a purist, or old-fashioned, but I like to make sure my logos can walk before they run.

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