Do you Design in Black and White?


A while ago I read an excellent blog post by Mark Boulton called Five Simple Steps to Designing with Colour. Mark explains how he often starts working on a web design in black and white “Designing with black and white first will ensure that the solution doesn’t rely on colour to work.”

logo designsI had never really noticed before but I realised that I use the technique Mark uses for web design when I am designing logos. When designing a logo if you consider the worst common denominator, where the logo will looks its worse is on photocopied/laser printed documentation or in newsprint. So if the logo will work well in black and white you are part of the way to a successful solution.

I always begin with sketching, so of course at this stage my designs are totally black and white (or occasionally blue biro 🙂 ), but when I begin in illustrator on the Mac they stay black and white. I find that leaving the logo designs in black and white means I have one less thing to think about. I can make sure shapes and letters fit together without being concerned about colour schemes. Its only when I am happy (more or less) with the designs that I will begin adding colour.

James Dempsey at goes one step further in his post 9 rules to creating a logo you can live with and still get paid and suggests you should only show your client their logo designs in black and white. His idea is a good one although I am not sure my clients would accept black and white logos in the first instance. When you present colour logos a client can be blinkered by the colours and not see the potential of the logo behind it. If the client hates purple, they could reject the best logo design because all they see is purple and not the shape and “feel” of a potentially successful logo.

Siong at also discusses how she designs web interfaces starting in black and white.

How do you work, do you start in black and white?

Logo Parody

I recently signed up for google alerts on “logo design” and nearly everyone of them has been about the Olympic logo. I then received an email from a friend of some spoofs of the Olympic logo which I found quite amusing. Take a look.


There are definitely some designers out there with too much time on their hands 😉


Over at Logo Blog there are also a selection of more logo parodies of many famous brands including the two I have shown here. Visit Logo Blog to see the full collection.

Do Designers Think Alike Logo Sketches

experimentI had read a lot of articles showing one logo that looked like another and so a few weeks ago thought it might be fun to try an experiment to see of Designers Think Alike. I am not saying they do, but I do think design trends, fashion and even sometimes the letters in a logo and how they could fit together can sometimes result in similarities. I know there have been times in the past when I have designed a logo and then thought it reminded me of something but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

So the idea of the experiment was to sketch (or digitally create if you wish) ideas for two fictitious logos – names kindly suggested by two fellow bloggers

  • caffeine rush – espresso machine & accessory supplies
    suggested by Steve
  • Cheap’n’cheerful – budget fancy dress shop
    suggested by David Airey

If you have taken part (thank you) and want me to link to a page where you have created uploaded your sketches please email me at

My logo scribbles certainly aren’t going to win any awards 🙂 (no laughing), but I have put them on a separate page in case you still want to scribble your ideas before you take a look at mine. My logos can be viewed on my logo page


Paul’s logos at (thanks Paul)
Bee’s logos from (thanks Bee)
Siong’s logos at (thanks Siong)
Joe ‘s logo at (thanks Joe)
Rob’s logo at www./

Do Designers Think Alike? The Design Experiment

Do designers think alike? Like everyone we are all influexperimentenced by what is going on around us whether deliberately or subconsciously, we are also influenced by design trends. I have been reading so much lately about one logo that looks similar to another, that I thought it would be interesting to carry out an experiment.

The experiment is open to anyone who wants to take part. All you have to do is scribble a logo idea (or several if you wish) for two fictitious companies (or just one if you want) and upload them to your blog or webspace on 29th May. The two company names, which came from a blogcatalog forum request are

  • caffeine rush – espresso machine & accessory supplies
    suggested by Steve
  • Cheap’n’cheerful – budget fancy dress shop
    suggested by David Airey (hope you don’t mind David I slightly changed this)

I will upload my rough scribbles on 29th May and would invite anybody who would like to take part to upload their logo scribbles to their own web space or blog on the same day. Send me a link to your logos and I will add it to the post featuring mine.

Maybe we can find out if designers really do think alike?

6 Reasons Why a Logo Should Cost More than your Lunch


After taking part in a few forum conversations about $50 logos, and then reading David Airey’s – What’s Your Logo Worth it prompted me to put pen to paper.

Why should a logo cost more than your lunch?

  1. A logo is the very first impression people get of your company –
    Before a potential client even walks through your door, your logo is a representation of your company. It can make a company appear large, small (whether it really is or not) fun, serious, professional…
  2. A logo needs longevity
    Once a logo is designed it will represent your company for many years.
  3. A logo needs to be original
    A logo should be designed specifically for your company. A cheap “generic logo” may not reflect your company’s values. A cheap logo may also use clip art which could end up being used by another company.
  4. A logo should look professional
    You wouldn’t take a potential new client to Mac Donalds for lunch, in effect this is what is being done with a cheap logo. A logo should give your company a professional image, appropriate to its needs.
  5. A logo should reflect the time and thought gone in to designing it
    One of the problems here is that people don’t always realise the amount work that goes into a professionally designed logo:

    • The research – even if the budget is quite small I would expect at the very least to find out who the company’s main competitors are and how they present themselves
    • The brainstorming of ideas
    • The rough sketches
    • The 4 or 5 logo options worked up on the computer
    • The amends, tweaking and further amends
  6. A logo is the starting point of your whole corporate image
    The colours typography and style of a logo will often dictate the corporate look of the rest of a company’s literature.

Any more suggestions?

A post also worth reading is Vivienne’s How much should you pay for a logo?