With billions of logo designs in use across the globe, how important is it that YOUR logo design is original? Very is the answer.
It's important that you are marketing your business with an original brand identity so that you can stand out as different from your competitors and also so that you can avoid costly lawsuits for copyright theft if your own logo design is too similar to another businesses identity.
I'm not saying it's easy to be original, and it's always possible there is something 'a bit similar' out there in the cosmos no matter how good your intentions, however, while there may be billions of logos, there are also likewise billions of different company names and industry types and therefore this should leave plenty of scope for your logo designer to create something that is original.
Designing a logo takes skill, design experience and natural creativity. Following the tips below will help you in your mission to develop an original logotype.
1. Be Ethical
This one is easy; avoid a shameless pixel by pixel rip of another designers work. You'd think it obvious, but sadly it's not obvious to some and deliberate copyright theft is rife.
Of course in the first instance you rely on your designer not to plagiarize others, but you also need to be ethical yourself and not attempt to lead them astray; try not to tell your designer 'I'd like it to look like this logo'.
It's ok to show them designs you admire, but your own design should not be similar, especially if that design is in a competing industry.
2. Hire A Professional
This goes without saying really, and I'm going to say something else
pretty obvious; pay peanuts, get monkeys.
Not that logo design needs to be exorbitant, but if you are paying rock bottom prices for a gazillion concepts, the chances of achieving
originality are very much diminished as your designer simply does not have the time to do the research and put sufficient thought into your design to achieve this and still make a profit (they're running a business after all, not a charity).
3. Watch Out For Stock Art
If your designer hands you a concept that contains graphics that feel like images you've seen before, or echo a particular style you feel you may have seen somewhere before, take this as a red alert and do some research at the stock libraries.
Not all designers are ethical (see point 1 and 2), and you cannot use a stock image in your logo design - the stock licence will prohibit this, and also, why would you even want this? That stock image will be downloaded and used by potentially hundreds or even thousands of businesses.
4. Do Your Research
Your logo designer should spend time researching your company name (and aspects of your company name) in Google images and in searches before they commence work, that way they can get an idea of who else is out there trading under a similar name in similar industries and find out what imagery they are using. Then avoid it.
I'd advise you to do your own research also so that you can consider what you've seen and compare it to the logo concepts you are provided.
5. Think Outside Of The Box
While your logo design is a representation of your business actitives and core values, it does not need to visually represent what you actually do. A painter and decorators logo does not have to show a man up a ladder. A company called 'Tiger Beer', does not have to have a picture of a tiger next to it.
Try to avoid cliches and spend some time thinking about less literal imagery at conceptual stage. Also don't be afraid to be completely abstract - the infamous Nike swoosh for instance; an abtract shape denoting movement.
Colour is very important in branding, you can create a brand by using a strong colour pallette alone practically and keeping the imagery extremely simple. Allowing the colour to be the focus of the brand image itself.
An example being mobile communications brand 'Orange' of course. It's just an orange square, simplicity itself, and no one was tempted to put a picture of an orange out there (see point 5). Genius.
7. Don't Confuse People
While it's important to be original, in your mission to be so, don't completely discard ALL the rules. Your customers still need to look at your logo design without wondering what the hell you were thinking.
For example one rule of good design is to consider practical matters such as shape, space and alignment; wild graphics projecting half a mile from the company name and other graphics might be original, but it's not going to fit very well on a business card or at the top of a website.
8. Gaining Inspiration
For logo designers, looking at the work of others offers two great advantages; firstly you view ways in which designers have thought outside of the box and this can spark off your own creativity, and secondly looking at lots and lots of logo designs helps you to avoid creating similar designs.
Obviously there is always the risk of subconscious copying, but I personally feel this is rare and it's more likely you'll avoid duplicating other logo designs if you see what sort of designs are out there in the industry you are designing for.
There are many websites you can visit to view high quality logo designs, simply Google 'logo design inspiration'.
This advice also stands for any business owner commissioning a logo designer for their project - because when you are presented with concepts by your designer, having completed some research first (see point 4 also) will help you to decide which of the concepts are most original.
9. Broaden Your Inspiration Sources
Following on from point 8, most designers will review the work of other logo designers, graphic designers and illustrators for inspiration and professional development but what other ways can they gain inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere; visit the museum, get to an art gallery, go out into the world and take photos of things that interest you, attend the theatre, try a random new craft such as origami, upcycling or grafitti art. Do DIFFERENT things to break your creativity out of it's usual constraint.
I've personally tried all of those and am about to unleash a grafitti art attempt on my kitchen wall very soon!
10. Getting It Right From The Start
The less original your company name is, the harder it is for your designer to create an original brand identity based around it. These tips have been written with regards to your logo design, but actually originality and creativity starts from the very moment you have a seed of an idea for a business.
Be original in what you offer as a company so as to stand out from the crowd from the very beginning with your core offering. Be original in how you relate to your customers, and then come up with a company name that is just as novel. Below in 'further reading' you will find a guide to naming your business.