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Why your library’s logo might be terrible: dos and don’ts of logo design

Hopefully, you’ve read the other two parts of this series, so I don’t want to generally duplicate that information here.  Think of this list as “Other Logo-Related Stuff You Need to Know.”

See Part One of this series    |    See Part Two of this series

 

Hopefully, you’ve read the other two parts of this series, so I don’t want to generally duplicate that information here.  Think of this list as “Other Logo-Related Stuff You Need to Know.”

DOs:

  • Get a professional who specializes in logos. Yes, I’ve said this before. If you value the reputation of your library, this is not an area to skimp on.
  • Test your logo prototypes with non-library people. The questions you ask these people also matter. Don’t ask “Which do you like better?”  Try: “Which option do you think is indicative of a more trustworthy organization?”
  • If you’re changing the colors of your branding, think carefully and be sure to do your research about color psychology.  A professional logo designer can help with this as well.  That bright red might look great to you, but not sit well with your community.
  • Pick the right font. Yes, font psychology is a thing, and people associate certain fonts with certain purposes. Some fonts look great in print, but not awesome when digital. Beyond the right font choice, things like kerning and leading (types of spacing) have to be considered. Yep, your professional is going to continue to earn their fee with this requirement.
  • Make sure the logo is available as a vector format. Professional designers will typically provide you with at least one version in TIFF, EPS and/or .ai formats.  These are vector versions that will scale up or down cleanly, unlike a JPG (with the correct software).  You’ll need this to give to printers, when you need to put the new logo, say, on a parade banner one week and on bookmarks the next.

DON’Ts:

  • Run a contest in the community for a new logo. While this is well-intentioned, it almost never works out and can delay the process. One library I worked with did this, and I discovered after the winner was announced that the logo was PLAGIARIZED! (The “artist” literally traced a stock image.) Even if the artwork is original, the quality is often dubious and non-professional.
  • Use stock or clip art.  I know, they’re cheap and easy. Which is precisely why you should never use them.  They’re not unique, they’re almost certainly not representative of your library and its community, and who wants a logo that tells their patrons they’re cheap and easy?  Be cautious of online logo makers for this same reason.
  • Let the designer start the process without doing any research. Some designers will start sketching right away.  “Oh, a library! That’s easy!”  Run. Away.  Your designer should be invested in understanding the mission of your library as it fits into the community.

Any other things you’d advise?  Share in the comments!