I've been slacking on my reference posts lately (fucked up hand, my birthday, Radiant Historia, etc.) but Kramlack
had asked me to do a topic on logos so I figured that now would be a good time to get back on track.
Before I post the reference sheets, I wanted to just break down a few things about logos real quick. My two biggest pet peeves are logos that don't include vital information about the subject (the game name, company name, etc.) which can make it difficult to search out more info about the subject if you are not overly familiar with it, and logos that are so obnoxiously stylized that you can't immediately understand what it is written. A good example of that last one is as follows:GOOD:
This is an absolutely beautiful logo, it has style but is clean and readable, it has a rhythm to it and it's colors balance nicely, and it carries the theme of its subject nicely. It looks equally good on just about any background you throw it on, light or dark.BAD:
This is a terrible logo, the lettering is jammed together which only exacerbates the fact that it is far too stylized, which is then compounded by the fact that the gradient makes the whole thing run together. What should be the most important part of the logo (Castlevania, the brand name) instead loses impact due to turning into one big jagged gradient bar so instead "Order of Ecclesia" (which should play second fiddle to the brand name) immediately jumps out and takes focus. To be fair, it is not as bad
when placed on a fairly dark background, but then that really limits what can be done with the logo.
When you are designing the logo it is not just what you are saying with it that is important but also how
you are saying it. The best logos have a sort of hierarchy to them usually with the brand name or subject name taking precedence and then each other element follows in suit progressively. You want the logo to be readable almost instantly, especially the brand/subject, so you should not overpower it with distracting imagery. The rhythm and flow of a logo can be broken down pretty easily and using contrasting sizes, shapes, colors, etc. you really have a lot of control how the viewer interprets your logo. Take the following examples:
I have intentionally packed the logos in tightly together in the following reference sheet. A good logo should be able to stand out or at least hold its own in a crowd of logos (which is something it will be up against when placed on a website, store shelf, etc.). When you look at this reference sheet don't just look at the individual logos, zoom out and see which ones stand out the most. See which logos tend to "blend together" and which clash, and so on. When you do create your own logo a good test for it would be to add it to the reference sheet and see how it handles in the crowd. Move it around to different spots on the sheet and see how its impact changes.
I will be adding more reference sheets as I go, but in the meantime I've found that the best designed logos out there tend to be sports logos (which makes sense considering how much sports leagues invest into it) so that might be something worth searching up on Google Image. Comic book titles and restaurant logos can also yield some pretty interesting results too.Logo Reference:
(Click for actual size)