Those golden arches? That big swoosh? The apple with a bite taken out of it? Great design work is memorable, and that’s why it doesn’t take much to recall who these design-savvy brands are. But when you commission design work for your company, it can be quite difficult to know whether it is truly good or not.
A person’s view on design work is subjective; something that you feel has that “wow” factor might have the “meh” factor with your colleagues. Yet, design work is not subjective. It has purpose, and this is what you must focus on when critiquing it.
“Will it connect with my audience?”
Let’s imagine you’ve just had the first draft of your logo designed, but you’re unsure if it’s good design. ‘Good Design’ essentially refers to how well a visual representation of something conveys the non-visual elements. To illustrate good design, we adhere to the wisdom that the ever-impressive Marty Neumeier lays out in his book “The Brand Gap” (we’ve posted a link to this at the end of the blog: if you are interested in design, you will not regret picking this book up).
There are 5 key areas of communication, with these areas being key factors when judging if the work translates across the breadth of the design spectrum. Below is a breakdown of the key areas when considering a new logo design, and an overview of what to look out for…
If this logo was placed on a supermarket shelf surrounded by your competitors, would it stand out? Distinct means recognisably different – which good design will do subtly – so remember it doesn’t have to be busy to be distinct.
Does the logo derive from the DNA of the company? Would you be able to talk confidently about how the elements of the logo represent your brand? Behind every great piece of design work is the story of why it’s so suited to the brand. Make sure the dots connect.
Will you easily recall the logo? Once you’ve looked over the work, put it away and busy yourself with a task. Having spent some time away from the logo, bring your thoughts back and try to recall all the elements and colours. Was this easy? Was it difficult? If you’ve struggled here, that’s an indication your customers will struggle too.
Does it translate across all avenues and platforms without diminishing any of the elements or colours? Make sure that it consistently looks great across website, print, video, merchandise, signage, etc. In our eyes, this is where simple and distinct logos win every time.
Does it communicate the brand over a number of levels? People receive and process information in all manner of ways (emotional, tactile, practical, to name a few), and through good design, these touch-point indicators will be incorporated. This will allow the ‘emotional receiver’ to understand your brand’s message, in the same way as the ‘visual thinker’ would.
We hope this checklist aids your ability in pragmatically evaluating design work, whether it is something you’ve had commissioned, or maybe a logo you are designing yourself. The key is to recognising that opinion is subjective, but good design work? Definitely not.
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