Category Archives: Logo Development

Can luxury brands stand out?

My recent blog, “Does your logo stand out in a crowd?“, elicited a comment stating “Can a great logo that suggests refinement and sophistication stand out as well? “. Well I never thought that luxury brand logos don’t stand out so I did some on-line research. I went to the home pages of 12 luxury brands and captured their logos in the array you see below. I aligned them utilizing the “rule” that each sample must be the same height.

luxury logo array

Now the first thing that popped out to me was the almost universal dominance of the brand name in the logo. Even the Rolls and BMW names are there even though not too prominently. The second thing: Seven of the 12 logos used reversed type (light colored type on a darker background). Third thing: except for Prada and Chris Craft, they used traditional type faces, and none used a sans serif face. Fourth thing: half of the samples use capital letters exclusively in their names. And fifth, Except for the Tiffany logo with it’s “Tiffany blue” background, there’s not much color represented in luxury logos.

As far as a small-sized logo is concerned, I’d vote Brooks Brothers being the worst of the bunch because of the lack of color contrast, the very fine lines of the type swishes, and the strange icon on the left that loses any recognition as it shrinks in size. Rolls comes in second. The only thing that saves it is the familiar RR configuration.

Now to address “anon’s” question, can a logo for a luxury brand stand out?. I’d say there are three or four examples of dominant logos in the group above, led by Prada.

Prada has the advantage of a short name which inherently leads to a clean and bold look when the typeface used is bold. Tiffany stands out primarily because of their traditional and world-famous use of  the “Tiffany blue” background. The Broadmoor with the “small” A does not diminish no matter the size and is distinctive. Finally, the Chris Craft logo is distinctive and the type face imparts speed even in a much smaller size.

So in this small sample of luxury brand logos you have some that dominate and some that don’t. I’m not sure that this proves that the logo isn’t important, but I think it does state that for this class of brands there are many attributes more important than the logo that contribute to their success.

But if I may be so bold as to make a suggestion to luxury brands, get out of your “me-too” rut and dance to a differnt drummer if you want to differentiate the brand.

Should your logo include your tagline?

My thought: emphatically, no.

That doesn’t mean the tagline can’t accompany your logo, and you can even make it look as if it’s a single element in selected cases.

But please reserve the right to separate them and use the logo as a stand-alone element where necessary. I blogged about the logo standing out when grouped with other logos – Does your logo stand out? It just won’t stand out if must carry along a tagline.

For my own company logo, I integrate logo and tagline where I have a full line devoted to the two elements, but elsewhere I separate them and usually only use the logo itself. Below are examples.

First, logo and tagline associated:

Then the logo alone:

Signature Strategies logo w/o tagline

So, logo and tagline are separate elements that can be integrated as appropriate. The thing is, be sure you have the flexibility to do either.

Does your logo stand out in a crowd?

Quite often you’ll have occasion to submit your logo to a medium that will group your logo with a myriad others as the images here demonstrate.

It’s a good way to determine just how well your logo stands out in relation to others, including your direct competitors. And two things become painfully evident to those with poorly designed logos.

logo array
NOTE PROPORTIONS OF LOGOS THAT STAND OUT

Continue reading Does your logo stand out in a crowd?

Online color scheme tools for branding

As promised, here are several web sites with color tools of all sorts. If you’re going to select corporate brand colors, a spectrum of product line packages, or design a “web safe” Internet presence, these tools can be helpful.

But be warned: they can be so absorbing and fascinating that they tend to be time eaters. But if you’ve found just the right combination of compatible colors, it’ll be worth every minute.

Color Schemer Online – choose a color and receive a color scheme; lighten or darken the color scheme, and get the color hex codes.

HyperGurl Website Color Match – scroll down to the bottom half of the page to play with the color tool. ColorShades – lighter and darker Web color hexidecimal codes and swatches.

Color Scheme Maker Tool – create and view a mockup of your own color scheme.

Color Chart Based on Shades – see tints and shades of colors together to help you decide between them.

Color Scheme Generator – online color scheme generator based on the color wheel.HGB color wheel

Online Color Chart Picker – play with colors and get their hex codes.

Get the Color Palette from an Image – enter the URL of an image (size 25k or under) and get the image’s color palette.

Note: I picked up this list from the vast arsenal of tools for Internet authority site builders at AuthoritySiteCenter.com. I’m a paid member so I have access to all their resources. If you’re interested in exploring authority site creation using a blog format, click ASC.

Martin Jelsema
303-242-5975

Three-color palettes sufficient to define a brand

Again, I’m posting about color combinations you might wish to use to help identify your brand. Colors, both in combination and alone, invoke emotional responses.

Once you have established what attributes your brand should convey, you can then, and only then, ask a graphics designer to develop a palette for your brand. As I’ve stated before, the palette not only colors your logo, it should be used within promotional literature, store fixtures, delivery trucks and other touch-point objects associated with the brand.

Today I am going back to the handy little book, Color Image Scale by Shigenobu Kobayashi, where his three-year research with the Nippon Color and Design Research Institute is presented. They had “matched 130 basic colors and over 1,000 color combinations to 180 key image words, allowing you the expression of any mood, lifestyle, or taste through the creative use of color combinations.”

Using the book’s index I looked up the term “vigorous” as a mood I might want to impart to my brand. Listed were three different color combinations which I’ll attempt to match the designated colors below.

Note: Color matching the printed cmyk 4-color ink process to hexadecimal screen color designations is tricky, so the examples may vary from those actually printed in the book. And they may look different on your monitor than they do on mine, even if I stay with “web-safe” colors.

But here goes: three combinations to help me express a vigorous brand image.

 Three examples of three-color combinations suggesting vigor

There are several web sites that provide color-matching models that can be used for developing brand palettes. Though not as authoritative as Color Image Scale, they can be helpful, particularly if your brand is web-based.

Next blog on color will list them for you.

Martin Jelsema
303-242-5975
 

Brands deserve a palette of color

I blogged last week about two-color combinations for branding purposes.

But I was unclear about one thing: the logo need not be more than one-color.

I got a comment concerning the Coca-Cola logo being just one color, so I must be “full of it”. Well, I may be. But I was referring to a brand’s palette.

First of all, I recommend that for your logo  get a one-color version so it can be reproduced in a newspaper ad or on an “ad specialty” item. You may find in today’s world of digital printing and web-based brands that you can afford to use a multi-color logo quite often. But it’s good to have the flexibility to go black on white.

Now, what is a brand palette?

It’s a set of colors to be associated with the brand. It could be a palette of two, three or more colors depending upon application.

If it’s a product, it may be the dominant package color. If you differentiate members of a product family by package color, all those colors are part of the palette. Color is only one way to differentiate – you may opt for large type or a visual instead. But color can be effective in this context. You’ll want to co-ordinate the colors you use with the logo color as well. This may dictate a black-ink logo, or perhaps a reverse of white.

The color of the actual product may also be part of the brand palette, particularly when packaging is transparent or non-existent.

If you’re branding a clothing store, an airline or an amusement park, your palette is an important and integral component of your “trade dress”. Along with type selection for signs, counter design and placement, uniforms, and several business-specific elements, integrated colors for interiors, exteriors, equipment, fixtures, vehicles and uniforms comprise trade dress.

But if yours is a service business, you may want to pay attention to your brand’s palette. If you provide clients with recommendations, reports, proposals in a professional folder or binder, pay attention to the color. Even the colors selected for your office walls is part of your brand’s palette.

So there’s more to color consideration for your brand than the color of your logo.

Oh, one more thing: as far as a brand palette is concerned, consider white to be a color. The Coca-Cola red is always associated with white: it’s the consistent background that sets off the familiar red of the logo and the can.

Martin Jelsema
303-242-5975