Corporate Identity Guidelines

A designer friend contacted me the other day to ask if I had done much work on corporate identity guidelines as she was trying to put something together for a client. It’s been several years since I have worked on any logo/corporate ID guidelines, but of course I have had to follow existing ones for projects I am working on for larger companies.

I did a quick google to see if there was any information about corporate guidelines and found a resource I thought could be very useful. At www.designerstalk.com they have a page with has loads of downloadable PDF files of different companies corporate ID guidelines which could be really helpful if you are trying to put something together yourself.

Also I have just found via David Airey’s logo design love another site with branding guideline examples

Logo design tutorial from sketch to final design

This is a logo design tutorial taking you through the process I use when designing a new logo

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Last year I was asked to create a logo for In4systems, a company that creates property management software. This software is used by companies who need to manage large portfolios of properties, such as landlords and housing associations. I started by asking a few questions about their requirements and enquired about their competitors. Their brief was fairly open so I started by taking a look around at what their competitors were doing. The next stage was to start sketching. Whenever I am designing a logo I always spend a considerable amount of time sketching, it allows me to quickly try out different ideas to see what shapes and designs are like likely to work. Below are a few of my rough logo drawings which I scanned in ready for the next stage.

logo design tutorial rough drawings

These sketches are very rough but they were never intended to be seen by the client they are purely a tool for me to work out my ideas. Within the sketches I thought it would be a good idea to include a descriptor/strap line in these which would give a more immediate sense of what the company does and worked this into the designs.

The next step was to start working up some of the logo design sketches on the computer. Using Adobe illustrator I used the scanned sketches as a guide and started designing the logos in black and white, choosing what I felt were appropriate fonts. Working in black and white enabled me to concentrate on shapes and type rather than be distracted by colours.

logo design development process

Some of these I felt were working and some weren’t so I took my preferred options and started deciding on colours.
logo design samples

I showed these to he client and they chose their preferred option and requested some changes to colours and the addition of shapes that represented windows. The chosen design was then worked up into stationery designs for letter heads and business cards which you can see below.
Final logo design, letterhead and business card by Roskell Design Northamptonshire

learn logo design online

2 New(ish) Design Related Blogs

I try to keep an eye on what is happening in design by keeping an eye on other design related blogs. A couple of relatively new design blogs are Margins and Columns and Logo Design Love

brochure design

Margins and Columns
Margins and Columns is a blog brought to my attention by its owner Pawel Grabowski who took part in Freelancer Focus a while ago. The blog is a brochure design inspiration site something which I think is severely lacking on the web. It consists of some really beautiful brochure design examples – no writing apart from a simple category and designer credit. This could become another logopond, but for brochure designers.

logo design blog

Logo Design Love
Logo Design Love is owned by David Airey who already runs a very popular graphic design blog. David has already shown on his design blog how passionate he is about logo design on his design blog, so if this is anything to go by then Logo Design Love is bound to be a success. Logo Design Love has articles about famous logo design, logo design books and resources for logo design inspiration.

What new design blogs are you reading at the moment?

Book for Logo Design Inspiration

logo design book

There are a lot of good websites out there now for logo design inspiration including most well known logopond, while these are great I always prefer looking at reference in printed book form.

I bought Dos Logos about a year ago while working on a logo design project and stuck for inspiration. Unlike many books on logo design this isn’t made up of pages of highly corporate logos, in fact there are very few logos in the book that I had seen before. As well as some conservative logo design approaches this book shows logos pushed to their limits, such as icons more like illustrations in their own right, pictograms and icons without words.

The books is split into sections such as: corporate, culture, design, fashion, media etc and explores a wide range of logos applicable to that area. Some of the logos are totally what I would call “off the wall,” some highly usable but what it does do is get you thinking about what a logo is and the different directions you can take it.

If you are looking for a book with well known logos and explanation to the designers process this is not for you, but if you want to be bombarded by logo design inspiration from the expected to the unusual this book is worth a look. A new book in the series is also out called Tres Logos.

Do you know of any good logo design books?

Your Design Interpretation of the Peace Symbol

peace design symbol

The peace symbol will be 50 years old in 2008. To celebrate this, on the site Happy Birthday Peace, artists and designers are being asked to submit their interpretation of the peace symbol. You can download a template from the site and then upload your own design.

Some celebrities who have taken part so far include the fashion designer Katharine Hamnett, the Canadian political cartoonist Aislin, Kate Hudson (chair of CND), the band Four Day Hombre, the Adam Ant, Noam Chomsky and John Lennon’s former lover May Pang.

Take a look at www.happybirthdaypeace.com to find out more.

Why is it So Difficult to Design for Yourself?

A Guest Post by Jorge Goyco

Have you ever tried to name your rock band? How long did it take you to come up with the names of your kids? Your dog? Your company name? Your domain name?

Did you run it past anyone first?

Maybe it’s just me, but I think designing for yourself is one of the hardest things to do. I can design logos all day for other companies. In fact, I could probably come up with a decent logo for another design company, but when it comes to my own stuff, I’m mostly at a loss.

I’m thinking quite a bit about this lately because I’ve got to design a brochure for a convention I’m attending, and I don’t want to come across as ”expensive” or ”too flashy”, but ”casual” and ”affordable” and “easy” would be good for this group of potential clients.

I’m guessing it’s difficult to design for ourselves because we want to put our best foot forward. Our website or logo must be the coolest thing anyone has seen or else they might not use us. Right?

When I eventually get over myself and produce something for myself, I give it about a month and I’m wanting to change it.

That’s the other thing…finding time to design your own stuff. The moment you get a chance to update your online portfolio, you get a call from some magazine wanting you to design every ad and editorial in the book in a week, and you’re out of time.

The truth is, as of right now, I don’t even have a logo for my company, unless you call ”FuturaExtraBold” a logo.

So, what I’d like to know is: Do you go through the same process as you do with clients when designing something for yourself? You know, thumbnails, a few mock-ups, color changes, tweaks, etc. Are you as hard on yourself as your clients are? Do you have other designers look at your new designs before you launch them? Have you ever been hired by another designer to come up with something for their design company?

Maybe I should take my own advice:

1. Treat yourself like a client
Thumbnail, sketch and mock up several designs before you choose one. We do it for them, why shouldn’t we do it for ourselves.

2. Schedule your work as a project
If you schedule time to work on your own designs, just like you would a paying client, you’ll be more apt to finish it. Shouldn’t it take you only as long as it takes you to produce something for a paying client? MAybe it’s not a priority, but a couple hours a week won’t make you miss any deadlines.

3. Run it past other designers
All our designer friends have free advice and criticism for us. Sometimes you might have to wade through them trying to be polite and not hurt your feelings, but once you get past that, it’s gold. Their eyes are as critical of good design as you are. Take them out to lunch or something. This might even make them reevaluate their own design and update it, and maybe even ask you for advice. What better way can you think of to challenge ourselves to be great.

4. Put it away for a few days
Post it to a “dev” folder, hide it under job folders, whatever, but take your eyes off it for a few days, then when you look at it again, you might see something you missed or might want to change.

Hope this helps.

JorgeJorge Goyco is a designer working out of his home in College Station, Texas. He’s been making clipping paths since Photoshop 2.0.1. He likes to make things that look really cool and write children’s stories. His online portfolio is www.goycodesign.com, and please have a look at his design/webmaster blog.