LogoPro Blog - Logo News, Opinions and Discussion
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
It has been a while since I went to art college, so my knowledge of contemporary art is limited. Although interested in the art world, I rely on the media to inform me of interesting exhibitions or events. I fancied going to see the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition at The National Gallery, who would have thought it – tickets sold out already!
Anyway, my interest has recently been rekindled, I have discovered ‘Land Art’. Land art is a term coined by Robert Smithson, an American artist famous for his Spiral Jetty, a really good example of Land Art. The artist purchased a 20 year lease on a salt lake in Utah, USA, where he experienced a moment of clarity inspired by the landscape that surrounded him. He created a 1500 foot, counterclockwise spiral in the lake, by moving the rocks and sediment using a large tractor. According to Wikipedia the construction of the spiral only took six days, presumably on the seventh, Smithson rested. This was back in 1969/70, when the water level was unusually low. The Spiral Jetty has spent many more years underwater than it has as exposed, there is something magical and moving about this. The New York Times wrote ‘The most famous work of American art that almost nobody has ever seen in the flesh is Robert Smithson’s ”Spiral Jetty”.’ Somewhere in my subconscious I know I have seen the image of the ‘Spiral Jetty’ many times.
Spirals are a common feature in the natural world, for instance the nautilus sea shell and the beautiful Sunflower. Spirals have inspired artists for thousands of years, an example of this is the entrance slab to Newgrange Tomb in Ireland, a megalithic stone that is older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge. For goodness sake, spirals are what we are made of! The double helix is the structure of DNA, ‘the molecule of life’. It’s hardly surprising that spirals have been and will be an inspiration to artists and designers for eternity.
This is where I shoehorn a bit about logo design into this blog : ) Yes we have quite a few example of designs where we have used a spiral in one way or another. One of our most recent spiral inspired logos is cairnrock, a logo for a Human Resources company based in London.
Friday, September 02, 2011
In November 2010, Tom Swayne came to Logopro, looking for a new and exciting logo design for his equestrian services. Just under a year later he has come back to us for a new logo, this one to promote another branch of his business TMS Plant, confidant that our logo designers would find the right logo design for his business. We really enjoyed working on this new logo exploring ideas around his existing identity and concepts completely fresh and new. Ultimately the company decided to go for something simple but bold using colours already well established for his firm, which was fine by us. We truly believe that our clients know there business and they know their clients so the final choice they make will be the one that will work best for them.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
7 July 2011
Web developers, Storm Developments, suggested to Aeron Vets that they should commission LogoPro to design a new logo. As a rural vet the variety of animals they help include equine and farm animals as well as the soft furry ones we like to cuddle up to on the sofa. Our logo designer managed to capture the commercial side of the business as well as the caring nature that we look for when choosing a vet.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Recently finished logo design for a breeder of pedigree working Labradors. They are a business in Wales who want to change the image of breeding dogs in Wales by offering a service that cares for the puppies wellfare right from birth through to being settled in a happy home.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
25 May 2011
Our most recent project nearing completion is both a logo design and website design for a personal trainer, dance teacher & Zumba fitness instructor – AJ O’Neill
Looking for a clean modern look we opted for an accordion type design with all the content contained within a few rather attractive ‘sliders’ meaning it was easy to navigate the site with minimal page loading. As elegant as this looked, we quickly found some teething problems when we decided to do a test run on multiple browsers such as sliders failing to load the contained content or failing to load at all.
Once we had this issue ironed out we slowly discovered a distinct lack of space in amongst the sliders which meant that we had to make a good use of the space available while keeping relevant information easily accessible. AJ wanted to be able to show his teaching schedule within an automatically updating calendar system that was easy to use and lightweight at the same time, however, we knew space was going to be an issue and so we decided that it should pop-out of the page so that it could easily be referenced with the rest of the site. In keeping costs down we discovered Google Calendar (because there’s no point in handing out massive amounts of money to develop your own custom calendar) which is a fantastic tool! easily sharing information with other users and fool proof to set up, it was a pleasure to work with and the end result is rather smart.
The design of the site is stunning – very eye catching and smooth and simple to navigate. This one is going in my portfolio!
The site is due to be fully completed in mid June so keep your eyes peeled for updates and developments!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
25th May 2011
Just yesterday up came the perennial remark from a potential customer, ‘We are thinking about a new logo for our business, but my nephew is good on the computer, he’s going to have a go at it!’ It’s like saying ‘My nephew’s good at Lego, he’s going to have a go at building my house for me.’
Here are 6 good reasons to use a professional logo designer for your branding.
1. Expertise. Some say it takes 5 years to become an expert, some say more. ‘Excellence in any department can be attained only by the labour of a lifetime; it is not to be purchased at a lesser price’ Samuel Johnson ~ an English author in the 18th Century.
2. Clarity. Understanding your objective is key. A professional logo designer will take your brief and do the research to make sure they understand your business and the images that represent it. They will have a good idea of how you want to be perceived whether trustworthy and established as with an architect for example or fun for a children’s toy retailer. A good designer will use their experience to provide you with a good logo design that will give you confidence in presenting your business.
3. Choice. Even the most seasoned graphic designer can be hard pushed to come up with several design concepts for a new logo. We have been practicing for years, nurturing our new logo designers in the ways and means of approaching a project. A good logo designer will show you different concepts, quite different ones too, not just a different font or layout of a hackneyed idea.
4. Time. Has that nephew shown you any designs yet? Favours are great and who knows, you could be on to a good thing. The chances are though, you will be left waiting. Designing a logo can be an intimidating prospect for a novice, especially if they understand the responsibility that goes with it. Will they know how to provide you with the final files in the best possible quality for you to use. Will they provide the backup needed, when you find you need your logo as a print ready file or to change the layout for printing on that promotional memory stick.
5. Budget. You can decide from the outset how much your new company logo means to you. With online logo design you can choose to pay as little as £24.99 to - well hundreds. Be realistic, can you really expect good custom logo design for £24.99? If you trawl through the first pages of google looking at similar services you will find that around the £200 pound mark buys you professional logo design. If they have the same ethos as Logopro, this represents fantastic value.
6. Guarantee. You should expect guarantees with professional logo designers. Not just a money back guarantee if you are not happy with the designs offered, you need a guarantee that:
the company is who and where they say they are
the logo is a bespoke logo design for your business
the final files provided are suitable for using in the ways advertised
the final logo will be handed over to you with the copyrights.
With a professional logo designer you can expect a unique design that will enhance your business in the minimum amount of time with the minimum amount of effort.
Apologies to any nephews who are also great logo designers.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
18th May 2011
Opinions differ over moving images on a webpage. Animations can be irritating and distracting, not just the ads that sit nagging away at you demanding attention, but banners with changing images, animations that take an age to load, all can make you want to just hit the back button. But as we are professional logo designers, we wanted a way to show off our assets in a tasteful and eye catching way.
Anyway, browsing the net I came across a graphic design website I really liked – deep.co.uk. It’s still the same 3 years on so you can take a look. As with a lot of graphic design websites, they look beautiful but can be a bit difficult to fathom. I loved the way the images drop in and the controls on the moving images. Part of the reason it looks so good is its Flash. There are downsides to using Flash:
1. Not everyone uses Flash player.
2. Flash show as blank images on smart phones.
3. It is not good for search engine optimisation.
After much deliberation we decided to use java script for the scrolling images across the top of the page. It is simple but effective, with control over the speed of scroll, if you mouse over it stands still, if you click it takes you to another page. The only thing it doesn’t do is scroll in reverse. We wanted the drop down menu from the top bar, which actually hangs over the scrolling banner, because of this we couldn’t have the reverse scroll.
We think this is an excellent way of showing off our best logo designs on all the key pages of our site.
Well that concludes my observations on the redesign of our web site, think I’ve just about exhausted the subject. Apart from saying that for any established business, putting a redesigned web site online is no mean feat. The drive to find a new and exciting way to present yourselves can often be thwarted in the final stages by the leg work required to update every single page you have online with new or updated content. You probably have some new key pages to consider too. Coupled with the fear that the new site may drop in the search engines, that your viewers may not perceive it to be an improvement, that they may actually find it less user friendly, I begin to understand why it took us so long.
Monday, April 18, 2011
18th April 2011
Blue Or White?
On the background colour of our new website, should we stick with our conservative dark blue or move to white. There only ever seemed to be the 2 options, we dabbled with light grey for a while, but grey … well it’s so grey.
We wanted our logos to take centre stage, to really shine out of the page. Generally our finished logos are saved on white and placed on our blue background they really do stand out. But dark backgrounds can be a nightmare when trying to read text. On the other hand, we had been dark blue for 10 years. We have some loyal clients who come back for more, would they take one look and decide this must be someone else and click away never to find us again. So as customer recognition felt important, surely we could work round this limitation and still find an exciting new layout that spoke for us? Over the 4 years it took to bring our new design to fruition, in the rough designs the background remained blue.
I find that design works in a subconscious way, personally I always read a brief carefully as soon as it arrives because I know that even if I’m not thinking about the new project in a concentrated way, in the back of my mind there will be seeds of ideas germinating ready to spring forth when I sit down at the drawing board, well, computer.
So as we reached the final hour, the design done, other key pages styled, another hundred decisions made, in a light bulb moment we changed to white.
Next blog on this subject – moving images.
If you would like to read the other articles on this subject, click on the Web Design category on our blog.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
A New Format
We started to work on a new format for LogoPro in 2007 – the new site went ‘live’ in March 2011. Four years may sound rather a long time to give a website a new look. Here is an insight into the thinking, the designing and the effort that went into that journey.
From the beginning we had 3 packages. The site was designed in the days when credit cards were given names to differentiate them, names like Gold and Platinum. Along the same vein, we chose to call our packaged Business Class, Business Plus and Business Advantage. They were on the home page as colour text links and could easily go unnoticed. Web design wisdom says ‘call to action’, make it super easy to buy your product or service. Every extra click it takes to buy is potentially a click away from your site.
Did we still need 3 packages? After careful consideration, yes we do, people like simple choices. We have invented new packages and called them economy, extra and elite. We have separated out the confusing options on stationery design and concentrated on the difference between the logo design service offered and the flexibility of the final logo files. So our 3 packages needed to be clear, concise and obvious on the front page, where you could buy with one click, 2 clicks absolute max.
We spent hours working on our navigation, recognising that if our viewer has to spend time wondering how to get somewhere, we have lost the game. Keeping it simple had to be balanced with making it obvious where you can get to, to display all the services we had to offer. Initially we roughed out ideas that would show all the pages, it took a lot of valuable space and our viewer would be faced with a bundle of words – would they be bothered to read? Possibly not, so our navigation was put in the obvious place (generally a good plan) with drop down menus with simple page names that would work at just a glance.
Here is one of our very first roughs when we thought scrolling images on the side bar would be a good idea.
As any blogger knows, writing articles takes a lot of time and energy, looking for inspiration, doing the research and writing the article. Actually, sometime it can be a little bit of a chore! Surprisingly the commitment to share this experience is enjoyable and I will continue till I reach a conclusion (or until someone asks me to stop)!
Next post – colour.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
7th April 2011
Why Did We Want A New Design?
Changing an established website is frightening! Why?
Over the years you have achieved your rank on the internet. You are doing well in your relevant search terms? Work comes in, but not as much as it used to. You ask yourself
‘Could we be doing better? Could we get more work or has the market changed?’
You spy on your competitors on the internet, you wonder around your website, you look to your analytics for answers.
But will change make the difference? Could we disappear never to be seen again? If we change the look, should we change the format? Depending on the internet for business is an uncomfortable position to be in, at the mercy of google and it’s ever changing rules and goalposts with more and more competition coming online every day. We have learned not to put all our eggs in one basket and nurture our clients old, new and local.
Things have moved so fast, in 2001 most of us unplugged our phones, plugged in the computer and dialled up to get onto the internet. Within a few years that changed to broadband being the norm. Broadband is getting faster, not for everyone I know, but enough for web designers and developers to change the way they work. The speed that a web page downloads to your computer, while still a consideration, is not so much of an issue. To add to the equation the size of the screen people view websites on has changed in every direction, from huge wide screen monitors to teeny tiny screens on a smart phone.
Thinking back over the process, we knew we had a problem as far back as 2006, but making the change took far too long. The face of the internet has changed and web design has evolved. It was time to catch up.
In our next post, I will explain why the redesign took so long.