How To Design A Logo (Other Designers Will Wish They Designed).

How To Design A Logo (Other Designers Will Wish They Designed).

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& A (Fancy) Cheat Sheet.

By Becka Gruber

brandr /Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

The term “branding” comes from an Old Norse word “brandr” or “to burn”, actually meaning “to mark by fire”. It’s in reference of the practice of branding livestock/ “mark permanently with a hot iron.”

Below is my logo design method. I don’t believe many designers talk about their methodology too openly. It’s probably because method is something that takes years of experience to put together.

I once had a college professor tell me “I will tell you some design things, but not all design things- because I could be pitching design against you one day”. It never set well with me. Not so much that he was withholding information (even though I was paying a premium for his class), it was his fear I disliked. I think that knowledge is powerful and can be built upon and should be shared openly with dialogue. So I am going to share my Brandr Method, and I’m not going to ask for money or your email in exchange for it.

I formulated the Brandr Method on the back of a design degree, loads of client work, working at many agencies, reading many books and articles on logo/ brand design, watching loads of videos, going to conferences, as well as talking to other designers, and leading other designers in their process. All of these contributed to the creation of the Brandr Method.


Things to Keep In Mind:

These items should be like background noise when you determine what approach you are going to take with the logo:

Discovery Phase:

Of course I advocate an in-depth Client Discovery Phase. Companies see a big return for hammering out culture and brand guidelines. Keep your clients vibe at the front of your thinking. The logo should reflect THEIR company (not you as a designer). Sometimes when doing client work, I make a playlist on Spotify that reminds me of what that client feels like/ keeps us in the right mood.

Make a playlist on Spotify that reminds you of your design project: to get you in the mood for that style of work.

Differentiator:

Logos should have a meaning behind them that conveys the businesses differentiator. How is this company different from others that offer the same service? What sets them apart? Highlight that difference visually. The cheat for this is creating a tag and dropping it under the logo — but if the logo is well designed it can speak visually/ compliment the differentiator as well.

Application and the Pencil Test:

Logo On Pencil /Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

Where is this logo going to be used most of the time? Of course logos should be dynamic and suitable for mobile apps, websites, flyers, shirts — but it also needs to be able to have legibility if it were only in one color and printed (small) on a pen or pencil. Thus, an “illustration” won’t work as a logo. App icons and social media profiles are small in size but flexibale in color and can retain more pixel data. 

 A pencil is the least forgiving (printing crudely on a thin piece of wood) so that’s always been my mental “go to” test. Know the anatomy of a logoLogos need to be a simplified mark. Some applications include very large format (bus, plane, or billboard for example). The logo may end up in a intro or outro. These types of logos that require animation can’t be flat. They need movement built into them. Keep these things in mind to “test” the strength of your logo and branding solutions.

MAKE A BRIEF TO KEEP YOU AND YOUR CLIENT ON TRACK.

We have multiple methods for this. The most simple is the use descriptive word clouds — or, for more intensive jobs, mind maps (more important the word the larger the real-estate it receives). These briefs show the words that are descriptive of the company. The logo design should reflect the same words that describes the company. For example, if you had a cutting edge photographer, a feminine flower logo would NOT be a good solution, no matter how much that photographer likes flowers. If your client disagrees on what you prescribe (and your prescription has sound logic and matches the agreed brief), you need to know ahead of time if you will put work out that makes no sense- or if you would sever ties with the client. That being said the client is the expert in their line of work. So collaboration is critical. This process should not be about “being right” but truely finding the best solution.

GET OUT YOUR SKETCH PAD.

Keep it practical before you go digital.

Sketching is critical so you don’t create a logo that looks like the million other logos out there.

A logo should be a unique identifier. If it looks like a replica of another company there is no point in having a logo.

Some designers go straight for the computer — I call that pixel pushing. They just “move” stuff around until it “looks okay”. That’s not strategic. It’s not a solution. It’s not really even functioning design.

Have a method (like the Brandr Method) that you go through before you begin sketching.

Brandr Method

The process I do (mentally) before I begin sketching is targeting my approach of what the logo structure aproach will be like.

There are basically three approaches to logo designs: Letter Based, Brand Based or Combination Based.

Below are the three descriptions of these types of logos, and notes when to use which approach.

Letter Based, Brand Marks, & Combination Logos /venn diagram by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

LETTER BASED LOGOS

WHAT A LETTER BASED LOGO IS:
The company’s name in styled text.

A study of top 100 brands showed that almost 40% are word marks (text only).

WHEN TO USE THE LETTER BASED APPROACH:

  • If the company has a great name (catchy with a ring to it), OR is named after an individual.
  • If the company name was “made up”: sometimes companies smoosh together two words for a name — you do NOT want an abstract illustrative logo for this. The name is already abstract. So a word mark would be a great solution to really emphasize and drive home the name.
  • The use of letterforms/monograms/abbreviations can simplify complicated/long names as a mark, making them fit better in a variety of space and be more easy to perceive, both phonetically and visually.

LETTER BASED LOGOS SHOULD ALWAYS BE:

• Legible

• Distinctive

• Custom Font

LETTER BASED APPROACHES CAN INCLUDE:

• Monograms

• Abbreviations

• Mnemonic devices/acronyms

• Letterform approaches

Sometimes designers use a carrier shape around the logo (circle, square, etc).


BRAND MARKS

WHAT A BRAND MARK IS: 
An immediately recognizable image that has been stylized. These are the opposite of letter based logos. Brand marks are symbols without words.

You have to be a relatively good illustrator to tackle this approach.

WHEN TO USE THE BRAND MARK APPROACH:

  • When the name is an immediately recognizable literal image that can be stylized creatively and simplified
  • When you need to convey a big idea, or provide strategic ambiguity, or when there is a lot of divisions in a company (the Nike Swoosh for example implies movement)
  • When a character can represent the company values or convey an idea (the Snapchat ghost represents what the product provides)

BRAND MARKS SHOULD ALWAYS BE:

• Simplified

• Memorable enough someone could “sketch” it after seeing it.

BRAND MARK APPROACHES CAN INCLUDE:

• Pictorial approach (symbol)

• Abstract

• Mascots


COMBINATION MARKS

WHAT A COMBINATION MARK IS: A word mark and brand mark together in a “locked” position. I have heard many designers refer to these as “lock ups”.

Sometimes a Brand Mark originated in a Combination Mark, but the company gets so well known they omit the Word Mark in most cases.

WHEN TO USE THE COMBINATION MARK APPROACH:

These are always a great solution because they cover all bases. They just require more work, so they need quoted as such. You need to allocate much more time. These are also are good for cases where multiple company brands, partners, affilates or subdivisions will need “locked” together.

Emblem based (badges) can also fit into the combination category. Emblems are often used by universities, social organizations, and government agencies. They function great on package design. Emblems are less versatile than brand or letter based marks. Due to small details emblems can become illegible when placed on small surfaces (pencil or app icon etc.).

Walking a client through the Brandr Method is made easier with the cheat sheet below.

I advocate showing clients rough sketches first, before perfecting a design with a pen tool. Take the time to explain your thought and work flow process (so they understand the value and solution) you are providing.

EXAMPLE BRANDR CHEAT SHEET FILLED OUT:

Brandr Cheat Sheet (Milk & Honey) Example / by Becka Gruber + Ashley Purser / Get Em Tiger

Milk + Honey Bread Co / by Becka Gruber + Ashley Purser / Get Em Tiger

By Becka Gruber

& BLANK BRANDR SHEET

Ofcourse, I’d love a response/ comment below with a link to your process & work using the Brandr Method. I want to 👀 those logos.

It’s a one click (safe) sign up for Medium. For my friends who haven’t joined the platform.

If this was useful to you give me a clap 👏 or two.

 

How The Smurfs Prepared Me To Be A Great Designer.

How The Smurfs Prepared Me To Be A Great Designer.

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This little secretive society of Smurfs is just like a throbbing design house- working on projects you can’t leak, with social and political dynamics that shouldn’t be talked about.

Here are some metaphors and lessons learned in my youth (about design) from The Smurfs.

-1-
La La La-La La La

The Smurfs need a Catchy song to get the job done.

Every commercial spot needs a catchy jingle, or a sonic branding palette to have legs.

Lil Yachty Sprite Jingle /Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

-2-
Smurfette

Smurfette typically tries to avoid leveraging her power as the only female Smurf.

Only 11% of directors are women.
Girls: Learn to get along with the mass crowd of boys, and negate bad behavior.
Boys: Learn to get along with the handful of girls, and negate bad behavior.

Smurfette as a nun / Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

-3-
Be Yourself / Work Your Differentiator.

Hefty, Brainy, Grouchy, Jokey, Chef, Vanity, and Painter Smurf all own who they are, and reliably leverage their differentiator.

In the design world its Illustrator, Photographer, Client Rep, Guy that’s good at badge style logos and beer labels, Chick that’s sick at modern hand calligraphy, dude that’s good at prop styling. Own it and become the best at it.

If you are not true to yourself and copy someone else’s style or talent you will never be the best you that you could have been. You will instead be a watered down version of the person you are aping. Be who you were meant to be.

Selfie Smurf / Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

-4-
Face Your Fears

Every episode the Smurfs were up against it- but in the end triumph — save their friends and find happiness and safety. Even Scaredy Smurf, the most scared of all the smurfs, would eventually say OK, pull himself together and help out the team.

I’ll digress from mentioning details about the percentage of creatives having some form of anxiety. Pitching for clients, talking about money, hiring people (cringe), firing people (shiver), does this design look good enough? — OK SMURF TO IT.

By Becka Gruber

Smurf Ghost caught by its ball / Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

-5-
Find “The Good” in your enemies (Or Something You Have In Common With Them).

Gargamel was a dick. He was always trying to capture The Smurfs or cause some issue for them. I’m pretty sure he wanted to eat them (even though he never got to eat any- so who knows what they tasted like, and why he wanted to devour them so bad)??? But mainly The Smurfs were patient and kind (even trying to relate at times). I interpreted this as the Smurfs knew they were going to best Gargamel out. 
They had a history of winning after all.
In EVERY episode.

Some designers are dicks. 
In America, we accept artists and designers can be less than couth (hellooooo Anna Wintour — who they based the “Devil Wears Prada” books and movie after). Try to be patient with these people. Finding what you have in common and empathizing (not sympathizing) will always make relationships more bearable.

Anna Wintour as Gargamel (she still looks good though) / Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

-6-
Age Is Nothing But A Number

(Supposedly) Papa Smurf has a 500 year age gap over the other Smurfs, but he still holds everything together as their leader.

“Older” in years of experience in the design world equals talent management (in a good way). But you still have to get your hands dirty and save everyone’s a$$es when they need it (for the sake of the village).

 
 

Papa Smurf as hipster with CBD and Yeezys wearing DREW / Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

By Becka Gruber

So… You Want To Blog Or Be A Journalist?

So… You Want To Blog Or Be A Journalist?

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Just like anything else, it’s critical to know where things were a few years ago and what’s going on now in the industry so you can make the most strategic choices.

WHAT BLOGGING WAS

I remember years ago when there were just a few genuine “bloggers” — I mean like not even “professional” yet. AND by professional I mean paying your bills by blogging.

My top three were (and still are):

Design Love Fest via Bri Emery

Design Love Fest features lifestyle and design and screen savers (dress your tech) along with other things. It’s a place where type & Images totally make out.

Design Love Fest Web Site Screenshot Featuring Bri Cooking It Up

Atelier Doré via Garance Dore

Atelier Dore has lifestyle, Design, AH-mazing illustrations by Garance and other things.

Atelier Doré Web Site Screenshot Featuring a Garance Dore Illustration

The Selby via Todd Selby

The Selby is photographed lifestyle vignettes of famous designers and creatives in their spaces. Todd travels around and captures “day in the life of” (inspiring) moments.

They sincerely wrote about shit they liked and their personal life experiences. Their craft. Their disciplines in design that they practiced daily. I felt like Doré was drawing me when I looked at her illustration work. Some part of me still does. I wanted to be a creative that Selby shot. I dressed my tech with Emery’s wallpaper selection (I still sometimes do this).

It was pure and badass and I loved them.

I actually think these three stayed pretty true over the years and may have evolved to bigger and better things but they still have unique style.

The Selby Web Site Screenshot Featuring Todd’s Photos

Enter The Marketers

THEN there came the marketers. banner ads on the sides of sites evolved to paid placement ads. Sponsored articles written by the bloggers on what you should buy. How could you tell what anyone really likes anymore?

THEN the marketers got even smarter.

Enter a billion click bait ads shuffling around on the Internet.

Mr. No Name Bad Type of Marketer Character: “I made 30k a month on my personal blog and here’s how you can too!”

Accurate Depiction of Happy Marketer Making That Cash Money/ Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

Narrator: “Mr. No Name Bad Type of Marketer Character never in fact made 30k a month. He never even had a blog. It was just a marketing ploy to take away innocent dreamers’ money.”

& we love the dreamers.

Over Saturation

Agencies get many requests to quote designing a “lifestyle blog website.” Most of these wannabe bloggers are not yet industry experts on anything and (innocently enough) assume their cookie recipes and make up tutorials will eventually give them potential cash flow. This might have been true 10–15 years ago. It was easier at that time to gain traction, there were less websites.

Now, there are a lot of people out there contributing to content over saturation online. About 17 new blogs are published every second .

Most of the people willing to shovel out several thousand dollars for their blog have actually written no posts yet. They are more in love with the idea of being a writer than actually writing.

They are more in love with the idea of being a writer than actually writing.

Their game plan? Read other bloggers’ stuff and tweak it a little so it becomes their own.

Hint: That’s NOT a good plan.

Writing Takes Resources (Originality, Expertise, Time, Money And Spheres Of Influence)

 

Google “cookie recipes”and about 490,000,000 results pop up. Are these all unique recipes? No. Of course not. But, good luck shuffling YOUR article on cookies to the top of that search. Or spending loads of cash on SEO/ ads for your article to get exposure.

Why People Want To Write Articles.

Getting hired as a writer is actually easier than starting from scratch yourself.

Setting up a functioning blog is as complicated as setting up a business. You need to consider affiliate marketing, selling products, offering services and advertising, competitor anaylsis and finding your target audience.

You also need to consider you driver. Why do you want to write in the first place?

There are various reasons people write. Some don’t involve making money. People have other drivers like sharing experiences they had at museums, or with their families, or thoughts on current events, or life stages, or just writing for hobby purposes. A “Successful” set of articles can also be defined as the ability to reach people / spread ideas and thoughts.

Infographic On Percentages Of “Why” Writers Blog / Infographic by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

How Much Do Writers/ Bloggers Make?

report shows that salaries for bloggers ranges from around 55k a year to 20k. People that run their own sites are likely by 17% to able to sustain their living with their blogs, but 70% never make even a $100 from writing. This is why I would advocate for writers to join a collective like Medium.


When determining your path as a writer/ blogger. Here’s some catagories you may relate to.

How Much Writers and Bloggers Make / Infographic by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

When determining your path as a writer/ blogger. Here’s some catagories you may relate to.

Types of Bloggers:

Super Cute Illustration Of Hobbyist Blogger In Trendy Hat / Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

Hobbyist

Writers that see blogging as a “I don’t golf — I blog — it’s fun” sort of thing.

They see their day job as a way to feed their passion (blogging).

Or blogging as a creative outlet.

Every Phase Of The Moon This Blogger Is Blogging / Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

Full-Time Professional Bloggers

An entry-level site can cost thousands of dollars. Not to mention photographers and designers to set you apart. Marketing to get you exposure. I have personally talked to several travel bloggers who are in debt and stressed (they don’t even enjoy the travel from stressing over content and cash). You would not know this by their Instagram rolls. Or fashion bloggers spending more than what they haul in (clothes and media professionals can do this to you). I have also talked to some bloggers that are killing it with subscriptions, tutorials and ad placement and making loads of cash and a great name for themselves. Most of these bloggers have specialty in a field, a substantial platform and/or feeder via TV show(s), or social audiences, etc.

Professionals Blog With Monocles / Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

The Industry Professional Blogger

Typically has a 8am–7pm gig, is somewhat corporate, and sees blogs as a means of sharing expertise and gain professional recognition.

Also uses writing to attract client work.

Will sometimes blog to set up a sphere to promote a book release to.

Super Star Pioneer Bloggers / Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

Pioneer Bloggers That Started Years Ago and Have Formed Empires

Like little bright stars lighting the way to the Holy Grail of blogging. They got in at the right time and evolved. They know market-funneling architecture and are typically well connected and very knowledgeable about their areas of interest. These types are strategic and talented. See my top three at the beginning of this article.

All The “Write” Types In One Place / Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

Group/Collective Bloggers

Just like a band — where you know the band name but not the names of individuals. Blogging platforms that have many contributors will be the way of the future. You get more knowledge in a group than an individual. Check out the Muzli by InVision extension that will feed the “best of design” collectives to you.

Blogging platforms that have many contributors will be the way of the future.

I digest a lot of content. I was taught from a young age that knowledge is power. When I was little, I walked into a Barnes and Noble and had “anxiety” from the fact I knew I would die before I got to read everything I wanted to. Those days at Barnes and Noble remind me of a time when authors were industry experts and there was a whole lot more checks and balances on original content. I didn’t see the same things printed over and over again.

I watched this past year on Instagram as an interior designer posted a political image. She lost 4k followers that day. I also have to admit I thought, “Eh stick to design.” You know loads about THAT + that’s what I want to see from you/ am looking for right now on your feed. AND if her account strayed too far from that (like politics and recipes or fashion too often) would it lead me to unfollow? Probably.

It’s not so much that I don’t care about this designers opinion on political topics. It’s just that I may have been in a design zone and got caught off guard by the “off typical topic” content.

That being said — I’ve also never visited her website or read one of her blogs.

I’m sure they are great — I just haven’t done it.

Instagram fed her account to me based on an algorithm of other accounts I like. It’s great to have diverse content right there curated for you via algorithm. I’m very thankful I don’t have to go to hundreds of sites to just look at images or read blurbs from this.com or that.com.

Enter Medium

I remember the first time I Googled something and came across Medium, confused at first but very excited for the egalitarian approach. I joined, and I get similar feelings to being in a bookstore- so much to read.

Medium makes so much sense. I haven’t read anyone’s personal blog via their website since discovering Medium. I also have switched to reading larger publications via Medium The New YorkerRefinery29,and TED Talks,

Medium has risen in a way that is beneficial to all. Writers get more exposure, (lately when I Google topics a LOT of Medium blogs pop up), readers get a consistent flow of articles (fed to them by algorithm so it’s catered for them), even illustrators and photographers have benefited (every writer needs a buddy).

Medium, at the moment, is very pure, and it seems like there’s not loads of people trying to trash the market with placed ads, or shameless self-promotion.

It’s for readers and writers.

I remember when Flickr was for photographers and it evolved into something for the masses (so the photographers left).

I remember Pinterest when designers were only on there. Before the Elmo cake recipes and homemakers got ahold of the thing. Even though, interestingly enough, it’s revived itself and designers are back. OR maybe their algorithm got better and I see less Elmo clutter.

I don’t know where Medium will go — clearly it’s very powerful (multi leveled) and I am certain it will kill off (by accident) most personal blogs and some smaller journaling publications. But I also think it has the capacity to weed out all of the people copying copies until they are all this muddled, unidentifiable Xerox.

By Becka Gruber

 

Designer Checklist / Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em TigerNine Ways To Tell If You’ll Make It As A Designer.

Designer Checklist / Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em TigerNine Ways To Tell If You’ll Make It As A Designer.

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I remember being in college thinking, “If I can just make a living being a designer then I would be so happy and forever thankful.” I was worried that — after I’d racked up 100k in design school loans — that I would be in massive debt, but not employable. I remember searching “what makes a great designer” and getting results like “you buy wine based on the label”. I knew even then that they were wrong. Buying wine based on the label makes a great CONSUMER. Not a great designer.

Now that I’m on the professional side of things and I’ve been practicing multi-disciplinary design for over a decade, here’s the list I want to send to people when they email me asking: “What do I need to do to become a designer?” “How do I get great at design?” “How do you do what you do?” It’s really all the same question just phrased differently. They want to know (just like I did!)…Will I make it?

Here are nine signs that you could really kill it at being a designer:

1: You enjoy problem solving.

Great design is a solution to a specific problem. When the design is good you can easily explain WHY you designed what you did. From spatial relation, to how mediums work together, or figuring out new programs, you need to be a strong troubleshooter to hack it as a designer. It helps if you get satisfaction when you solve the problem successfully. You need to “Love to Learn.” If you’re overly analytical you will be great at designing.

2: Time flies when you’re designing.

If I asked you: “Would you choose to sit and design and practice making stuff

OR just instantly be known as a famous designer?” And you choose famous designer — don’t waste your time in this field.

It’s a practice. Just like doctors practice medicine. Trends and technology change and you need to embrace them.

There’s a massive issue of people loving the idea of being a designer more than actually sitting and designing.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice are needed to become world-class in any field. Don’t assume design is an exception to that. If you think you are great — wait five years and look at your stuff for a good laugh.

If time passes slow for you when you design it’s an indicator you don’t really love it.

It should have that feeling like when you make out with someone for the first time and wonder where 5 hours just went.

3: You could have been a shrink (or an actor — maybe).

Were you ever interested in psychology? Or how people behave? It’s a must for good design solutions. You need to know what makes people, and the world tick. Do you know the feeling of putting your voice and ambitions aside and do you have the capability to slip into a client’s personality, objective, needs, voice, and filter? The ability to communicate as your client would will allow you to do great work and make a lot of cash. Designers that can’t do this or don’t understand why a youthful campaign showcasing a trendy, illustrated collage with a broken grid won’t land well with a conservative corporate insurance company won’t make it in the industry. You need to pretend to “be” the insurance company. Read the brand and communication guidelines. Research it, absorb its voice. How does it talk, walk, how does it throw a better version of itself out there and engage people?

4: You CAN see the forest for the trees.

You have the ability to see a full-scale picture and then break it down into smaller steps or details. Attention to detail is critical, but so is the conceptualization of how the dots connect and how the big picture fits together.

5: You hoard media.

This might be digital photos or business cards or package design — to bookmarks of title sequences online. You like to look at and dissect stuff.

6: You CAN speak the language.

It doesn’t take too long of a conversation to know if someone is a designer. There is a vocabulary to it. You can reference other designers and their work/solutions. And have read enough case studies and designed enough to be able to articulate yourself appropriately. Just like how announcers doing the Olympics know the right words, it’s because their vocabulary came with time and watching professionals. Those jokers don’t even need the slow motion video to hammer out “Struggled effort high jump premature dismount” about some pole-vaulter and critique their form with whatever words that I DON’T KNOW.

7: You possess a unique point of view.

If original ideas or solutions don’t often come to you (quickly) and you have to copy other people’s work…. Design is probably not the best field for you. Everyone has stuff that they’re good at. I try to point people back to the thing they wanted to do when they were 5–10 years old. Before the world got a hold of you. That’s probably what you were meant to do. If ideation is your thing design is a great fit.

Having your own point of view also requires a bit of an edge. If an idea is good- it might upset people. So you need to be ok pissing people off.

8: You are consistently complimented on your taste.

Look at how you design — not just your files but also your life.

Maybe you have good penmanship, or maybe you can illustrate well.

Or perhaps you do all of the below a little “above average”:

  • How you pair your clothes (e.g. what are your glasses like on your face shape)
  • How your house is arranged and/or decorated
  • How you organize (anything and everything)
  • How you throw a party (dreaming up themes and food garnishes)
  • What music you listen to (and when you make playlists for certain projects)
  • How your photos on social are situated, framed, themed and cohesively color corrected a little better than everyone else’s.

Your choices should all “match” up.

And if people consistently compliment you — it’s a great indicator you are going to dominate the field as a designer.

9: The 8 out of 10 rule // The odds are in your favor.

No one would expect a baseball player to hit home runs every time they step up to the plate. Same rule applies with designers. Even if you are amazing you are going to have some fails. Typically you learn from them (even the fails can be a win). That being said, the average you succeed out the gate still needs to be pretty high to make it in industry. So if you sit down and do a handful of projects and 8 out of 10 of them you land a great design solution smoothly, you are winning. For the other two, you still need to get around to home base and score at the end. You need a higher ratio of reliable wins, with the margin to not have to be “perfect” all the time, and the patience to go back to the drawing table and re-concept.

What makes a great designer is the ideation or creativity and ease of solution/ intelligence that comes to you fluidly (80% of the time).

But for the other 20% projects or clients that are exceptionally difficult, you need the skill and ability to acknowledge the error in your work, take the time to start over and create the solution that’s best for the client.

 

By Becka Gruber

2020 Logo Trend (Proper Anatomy of a Logo).

2020 Logo Trend (Proper Anatomy of a Logo).

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Logos play a huge role in the perception of your brand in the marketplace. Logo originality and having a clear concept is key to standing out from hundreds — if not thousands — of competitors and allows you to be uniquely identifiable. If your logo is not unique, it basically defeats the purpose of having a logo. If a logo doesn’t resonate with your target audience or capture the essence of your brand, it’s possible you’ll lose them before the first click.

If your company is creative, your logo should be, too.

If your business is minimalistic, your branding should be also.

If your product is smart, your logo should echo intelligence.

Stay away from trends. Text boxes, flowers, and hands can really date your logo in 2019. Just like all “badge” logos that originated circa 2009. Admitedly, there are some REALLY cool looking badge logos and hand logos out there, (that are very custom). Those are fine. Trends work great for illustrations, but not for an item that will be with you in the long haul (logos).

 

“Say No” (to a trendy logo) / Illustration by Becka Gruber / Get Em Tiger

Logos that are hand drawn? Those are a big yes! Logos that you can type out by purchasing as a font? Big no. A FONT IS NOT A LOGO. If you are paying a premium for a logo, be wary of an agency or designer that doesn’t start off with a sketch. All logos should still translate in black and white and be minimal enough to fit on a pencil (small real estate area) clearly.

A font is not a logo.

Here is the anatomy of a basic logo:

Types of Logos:

Living/generative logos constantly change, based on code or an algorithm, for predetermined situations.

Casa da Musica comprehensive identity /by Sagmeister Walsh

Responsive logos adapt to different device screen sizes — you will notice a full logo on the corner of a website often “collapses” to a shortened/smaller version when you scroll down.

Responsive logos / Coca-Cola, Chanel, Walt Disney, Heineken

Variable logos are where aspects or pieces of the logo change depending on the marketing campaign (i.e., music styles or composers).

59 page branding book Пермского театра оперы и балета (краткая версия) for Perm Opera Ballet Theatre — (https://issuu.com/permopera/docs/brandbook_permopera)”

Via Public Space

Now more than ever, logos are viewed on a multitude of platforms and, in some cases, different market segments. In order to build an even stronger connection to specific groups, logos need fluid interchangeable elements, varied enough to fit in horizontal or vertical, web, collapsed web, app, printed, social and animated environments. Businesses can also better optimize their branding based on where the logo is displayed.

Via Closed Mondays

Logos in 2019 are all about the elements working together. Note the typography, color and element consistency. Be careful not to stray too far, with too many elements — or risk losing visual cohesiveness.

Via London Football Exchange — Responsive Brand by Emir Ayouni

By Becka Gruber

“Buying” a CG Influencers Skin Care Routine?

“Buying” a CG Influencers Skin Care Routine?

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About three years ago I had a dream in which, just like trying on a fresh set of clothes, you could go to your wardrobe and “select a body” complete with a different shape and a new face. Our brains uploaded and downloaded via some new version of Bluetooth streaming. In this dream reality, rarer models of bodies had a higher price point, but age and sex selection happened instantly. I distinctly remember talking to a 7-year-old girl who very clearly had the personality of a middle-aged man. Her sense of humor and mannerisms reminded me of my uncle; she (he?) stared at an attractive older woman who walked by.

This dream was one that stood out to me, because although I am a designer and I care about the “look” and solution of things… what would the world be like if ethnicity, skin tone, age, and sex were just changed at the press of a button? What would the human race come to value and sell then? We would have no need for plastic surgeons. No weight loss products. No tanning beds. No makeup. This dream is our reality straddling a fantasy world of endless options to curate new selves on a whim.

When I had the dream I assumed it was some subconscious manifestation of my thoughts on social media. So many people I love don’t show themselves in a true light. Although they are truly beautiful and live lives they should be graciously thankful for…they have created a fictitious, perfected, and, most interestingly, bland version of themselves. They look up locations and post images I’ve already seen there, with the same books and captions and latte art or shoe shots — visual control. Some of my friends have gone into debt for their digital identities, eager to suggest affluence, while their real selves are left worrying about the credit card bills. People are more invested in getting others to love them, then loving themselves.

People are more invested in getting others to love them, then loving themselves.

It seems as if this all will become more affordable with the rise of digital clothing subscriptions. You can pay a monthly fee and have clothing Photoshopped on your selfie; influencers will never have to worry about wearing the same outfit twice.

And enter CG avatars. When I first saw these I wondered how they would do, but obviously the answer is relatively well, since large robotics companies are behind some of them. @lilmiquela has 1.5 million followers on Instagram. In some photos she looks almost real, like any other influencer airbrushed with some two-dollar app; she actually recommends OUAI for “keeping my strands silky smooth.”

And then there’s @Shudu.Gram, the first Digital Supermodel.

These influencers have political views, relationship drama, and their own passion projects like music and art. And of course, they’ve already made companies a lot of money with product placement. As difficult as it may be to accept, these creations solve many of our personal “visual control” issues. The cost of getting a CG avatar to a location is cheap and fast. Why fly to Paris when you can Photoshop your avatar there? Clothing is digital. And the skin and hair — always perfect.

Last week my 9-year-old niece, still too young to understand how influencers make money, told me she wants to be a “famous Instagrammer” when she grows up. I wondered: if she actually pursues this in a few years, once her mother lets her use social media, will she use her own image? She is gorgeous and could potentially model. Or would she perfect her identity further, by creating a CG persona she can have total control over? Will my friends — those who spend twenty minutes making a branch look effortlessly placed in a vase and hire makeup artists to apply their false eyelashes — go this route as well?

Will Fortune 500 companies prefer to hire a CG model over a real one? I would rather have a broken reality over a polished CG one. I know I prefer my friends and family as they are, instead of a Photoshopped, scripted version of themselves.

But that’s the skincare routine of the digital age — a strategy that allows people to become what they want to be. Which skincare product fits in with the brand they have made for themselves? Are they Lux? It’s got to be over 500 dollars. Are they Granola? Was it tested on animals? Is @perl.www okay with that?

AND are we going to buy it?

By Becka Gruber