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Points of View: Has the logo design brief changed?

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Marketing | September 11, 2015
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Google's new logo is a reminder of how much the mobile screen rules our life. What is the extent to which a logo design is influenced by the variety of screens on which it appears? Or has the fundamental principle of logo design remained the same?

Google recently decided to change its logo. Attributing the change to meet the needs of a fast-changing, mobile-loving consumer, Google has started using a more colourful, brighter typeface. Reportedly, while the earlier logo was made for a single desktop browser page, the new one takes birth in a world of seamless computing across an endless number of devices and different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).

This makes us wonder, how does one approach logo designing now? Are designers asked to keep the logo small and the design in a crisp square to fit within a box? Has the mobile-first ecosystem really changed the way designers think of logos?

Points of View: Has the logo design brief changed?

Lulu Raghavan, managing director, Landor Associates

Lulu Raghavan

Despite the advent of smartphones and applications, the basics of logo design have not changed. The challenge is to create an idea that fits the brand and embodies what the company stands for, in one visual; however, we now have to remember to think of digital as the first step rather than the last. The icon must look good not only on the website, but also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.

The proliferation of brands and products has made it difficult in this age; however, we are able to offer many more digital deliverables to the client. We must realise that fifteen years ago, the touchpoints were stationery, fliers, posters etc. About five years ago, it was about PowerPoint presentations. Today, the logo, website, WhatsApp and LinkedIn page form the face of your company; however, there should be symmetry between e-commerce and retail stores. They cannot look and feel different. You have to marry them to craft a seamless look and feel for the brand.

Sujata Keshavan, executive creative director, Varana Design

Sujata Keshavan

I won't say that the brief has changed per se. When one designs a logo, one always has to keep in mind the ways in which the design manifests itself on the applications, mediums and sizes it will be used for. Will it be a cut-out? Will it be small or big? Will it be used on metal or fabric? The parameters and constraints have to be kept in mind before one embarks on designing anything. So, the fact that a logo has to be relevant to a digital world would figure in the same way. The client does not need to spell these out in a brief. A good designer would automatically factor these in. In today's world, being good for digital is obvious.

Google's DNA is digital, so it's obvious that the logo must perform well and be coherent on all digital channels, platforms and devices. Today, all companies have a digital presence. They, therefore, must always think about how the logo will appear on all devices.

Google's new logo looks cleaner and modern, and is more practical because its simplified form takes less bytes. In a similar way, we were once commissioned to redraw the Titan logo to improve its legibility on the watch dial. When we worked on Vistara, we had to keep in mind that the logo had to appear coherently on huge sizes like on the aircraft, as well as on tiny sizes on cutlery or pens.

The mobile platform actually gives more flexibility, but could also be more constraining. Digital allows more colour and animation, but is not great for adding details and complexity (like engravings, for example). Thus, while Google's old serif logo is great for the world of print, the new version is better in today's context.

Mihir Mukadam, vice president, marketing, LocalBanya.com

This is an age where logos, representations and other forms of communication have to consider varied canvases. When you talk digital, you talk of a holistic universe - social media, blogs, websites, associations etc.

Logos can go from a display banner to sizes which are very small. However, certain things have to be kept in mind. It must still communicate the underlying values and be clutter-breaking. The design has to be contemporary and unique. There has to be a single element or symbol that can represent the entire logo. For us, 'LO' (in the shape of a moustache) became the insignia, which also allowed the logo to manifest itself easily across media canvases. I also feel that the type is important; a good type can give persona to the brand and let consumers relate to it.

Shekhar Badve, founder-director - strategy & marketing, Lokus Design

Shekhar Badve

Has it changed? Yes. But, that is only a technical factor. The philosophy, the transfers, the process have remained the same. What we must do is adapt to this new device.

Now, while designing logos, we have to always be mindful of legibility. The size of the logo has to be minimal too; it can actually get smaller in the future by appearing in everyday objects like light switches, home or kitchen interfaces. So, the aspects of technology, font and typeface have to be considered. At the design stage, you have to think of a lot of things - minimum pixels, font size etc. The constraints have become tighter.

Ashutosh Karkhanis, creative lead, Open Strategy & Design

Ashutosh Karkhanis

The brief hasn't necessarily changed, but I feel it should. A lot of clients do have logos which work well even in the digital space, but some need to rethink the logo. I think it depends on the nature of the business. If the business interaction is mostly on the digital space, like Google's, it can even be dynamic.

More than a requirement, I think it should be looked at as an opportunity. Even if the client isn't asking for a dynamic logo, the agency can still try to push the envelope and make the logo more engaging. A logo can also have a static version, for the times it appears on print.

When it comes to shape, the dimensions are always given for an app logo. But, it depends on how the designer can play with that, making it look like there isn't a square any more.

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