Logos & Identity
In stating the obvious, a logo is nothing more than a visual representation of your company name or brand identity. Some logos — pictographic symbols especially — can, over time, become powerful stand-ins for the name of the company. They represent all that the company stands for, and are instantly recognizable.
The logos for the likes of Coca Cola, Apple and BMW have intrinsic value far beyond their simplicity and appearance. They have come to represent corporate ideals, values and standards that these companies have wisely chosen to stick to in the face of all competition. And they’ve reaped appropriate rewards.
But first things first. If you haven’t come up with a smashing, brilliant name for your product, service or company, creating a decent logo will be challenging to say the least. Maybe not impossible, but challenging.
That said, I’ll discuss the agonies and ecstasies of creating a company name and brand in more detail under the overall umbrella of Market. Here, I’ll give you some examples of the logos I’ve created to help companies brand themselves in the marketplace.
I believe that a logo is a strategic purchase that represents your brand in the marketplace. Over time a good logo will stand up to the rigors of the market like your top salesman in their best suit. And not wilt in the heat.
Let me show you some examples.
I designed this logo for a service company specializing in high-end laser-scan color separations for graphic printing and, more recently, fine art reproduction services such as giclee printing.
The logo was designed to take advantage of how color works in traditional additive four-color graphic printing with the primary cyan, magenta and yellow colors.
The shape of the Color Company logo encouraged its application in numerous sizes and styles, reinforcing the brand identity.
There’s an interesting story behind this logo, designed for a wholesale jewelry manufacturer originally based in the middle east that was just beginning to establish its presence in the United States in the late 1970′s.
I was invited to meet the representatives of the firm in their distributor showroom — most of an upper floor of an office building in the swankest part of Houston. They served rich, dark, coffee in tiny demitasse cups. It was excellent — and kept me caffine-buzzed for the next 24 hours.
They told me of their committment to quality at every point in their manufacturing process. It was apparent that they were truly masters of taking the raw materials; gold, diamonds, and other precious metals and jewels and fashioning them into something special.
I chose to use that most powerful of raw materials, gold, in its unformed liquid state, to write the name of their firm. It represented the very beginning of the manufacturing process of which they were masters. The final logo was embossed and gold foil stamped on super-premium papers for stationary and other print marketing uses.
While they have changed their logo since then, I believe that my original design played a part in helping to establish their long-running success.
For an old, well-established manufacturer of diverse products for the energy, agricultural and OEM industries, GSP (now PGI International) had no specific brand identity when they asked me to create their first real logo. They just had to keep the name (despite the negative connotations).
Reviewing their product line, the common thread that I felt could drive their brand identity was the hexagonal shape used in many of their products. From this element I sought to create a logo that had solidity along with a sense of strong value commensurate with the products they delivered.
The basic form of the logo is still in use today, surviving the company name and ownership changes over the years. This speaks well of the clarity of the original design and its relationship to the firm and the goods produced.
Located in Corpus Christi, Texas, Interstate Grain Corporation is a full service export grain elevator and terminal. They handle the storage of such farm-grown commodities as sorghum, wheat and corn and manage their shipping by rail, truck and ocean vessel to the end-users.
When the owners came to me to design their logo, I immediately threw out the trite and cliched symbols that might have been used to represent storage silos. With that in mind, the logo practically designed itself. A simple golden rectangular box, representing well-controlled storage management, providing a background for a few stalks of ripened wheat.
Even after several decades, the logo is still in use, and has stood up well to the passage of time. In my opinion, the best logo design is often the simplest and most clearly symbolic in nature that relates well to the intended audience.
There are times when what you believe is some of your best work is done for nought.
When I was given the assignment to design the logo for Protea Brands, it brought with it some real excitement. They were a brand new company that hoped to be a significant player in the import and wholesale distribution of selected luxury goods such as wine and other consumables from South African producers into the U.S. market.
The firm had chosen the King Protea, the national flower of South Africa, for the name of their fledgling distribution firm. This, for me, was a natural jumping-off point to come up with what I believed to be an excellent design that stylized the look of the Protea flower as a symbol that might have a variety of uses in marketing, advertising and packaging.
Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors, the firm was unable to get sufficient traction in the market to be successful. A good learning experience, sometimes the only value of doing something is to have done it.
Richmond Steel Erectors
This logo was designed for a firm in Richmond, Texas (where else?) that specialized in the fabrication and erection of the steel frameworks for buildings of all types. The logo incorporated symbolic representations of steel I-beams in red and black to give the logo both strength and a dynamic presence. As the logo would only see limited use in stationary and other marketing collateral, it was specifically designed with those purposes in mind.
A 2009 design for a Christian organization founded by singer Verna Law whose purpose is training up Worship Leaders and educating musicians through mentoring, seminars and workshops; partnering with other ministries, offering benefit concerts and fundraising; providing HOPE through song, testimony and prayer; and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all walks of life at home and abroad.
The logo was designed based on the concept of branching rivers from a power source that are like branches and roots of a tree growing outward. Multiple versions were developed using the same logo symbol for both single color (positive and negative) and RGB/4-color (positive and negative) applications in any media. You can read more about the development of this logo, and logo development in general, HERE.
In 1987 I was hired-on as Communications Director for a start-up firm whose goal was to develop, build and sell high-end data storage systems for Fortune 1000-level firms and institutions. The firm didn’t even have a name, so I developed one, “SUMMUS” — based on the ancient root word for answer — from which we get the term “sum” today. In three short years the firm went from zero to more than $15 million in revenue (adjusted 2008 numbers). In 1991 SUMMUS was dissolved in an acquisition. The logo I created to go along with the name was deliberately designed to establish solid credibility, while the contrasting horizontal lines implied layers of data and movement.
Can I design a logo for you?
These are only a small sampling of the logo designs I’ve developed over the years. Please contact me if you’re interested in discussing my creating a logo for you.