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Published by Madison Square Press

by Tracy Holdeman


Logo Identity Design is the most challenging and rewarding endeavor in the field of visual communication. A single image that must represent something as vast as an entire corporation is an ominous request. A great logo has to do even more; communicate core messages clearly, creatively and uniquely all in an instant in any medium while holding up through time. When all these factors fall in to place the visual communicators; designers, art directors and creative thinkers are absolutely amazing! What other job or profession requires someone to do so much with so little? It's like Speilberg being restricted to only 3 seconds for a movie, or Picasso allowed only one brush stroke for an entire painting, or Frank Lloyd Wright limited to just one material for a complete building. It's remarkable what we do when we do it well.


How do we do what we do? What do designers do? It's process and anti-process at the same time. It's intuitive yet logical. It's artistry, empathy, understanding, logic and creativity working in concert and conflict all at the same time.


I've divided the activities of logo creation into 5 different characteristics– The Detective, The Philosopher, The Social Scientist, The Artist and The Realtor.


1) The Detective gathers and uncovers information primarily concerning three areas–the company/product/service, the means of disseminating the logo/identity, and the end-user. I have a standard list of questions in my head, but usually develop a lead that takes me off the list–like Sherlock Holmes finding a matchbox or some other insignificant clue that connects two otherwise unrelated elements. It's more like putting a puzzle together instead of checking items off a list.


2) With imagination, intuition and discipline the Philosopher consumes all the detective's information and reduces it to as succinct and as relevant a message as possible. The Philosopher weighs and measures concepts and their relative validity to the project as a whole, in order to do the most with the least.


3) Empathy aids the Social Scientist who must develop visual concepts that effectively communicate the Philosopher's messages. All this within the elusive boundaries of society's visual vocabulary. Visual concepts have to be unique, not obscure.


4) The good Artist creates with relevant character and attitude. Line, texture, and shape are elements that should be consciously reasoned in order to develop an appropriate rendering style. A style comfortable to the Artist but unrelated to the Philosopher's message is counterproductive to the desired communication and only serves to weaken the effect of the logo. The Artist must be an individualist with a conscience.


) The final challenge falls to the Realtor–a quick thinker that is expected to finalize the deal. The Realtor is not self serving. The Realtor must consider what is in the best interest for the client's future success. In some cases compromise is the correct path, while other times stubbornness is best. It depends on the specific market realities.

To discover that ellusive mark, that one image that transends, requirers more than logic, process, creativity and artistry. It requirers all of it.



All images, designs and illustrations are © Insight Design Communications Graghic Design Wichita, KS Logo Design Wichita, KS. 700 South Marcilene Terr. Wichita, Kansas 67218