Logos and Fine Detail
One of the first things we think about in designing a billboard or any element in a marketing plan is the logo. Printers ask for it for your cards and letterhead, sign contractors ask for it for the monument in front of your building or the canopy over your entry door. Of course all of us media types need it to try to get LOOKers trampling down your doors. But what makes an effective, good or even great logo?
In small business especially, the logo can typically be our “brand” as discussed in the “Hop to Your Market – What’s Your Brand? (click)” section of our website. Many of us already have logos and brands delivered by the “corporate folks”. Others of us have the ability to fine tune or improve them to provide maximum effectiveness.
We use some tests for effective billboard design and generally, if it works for billboards, your logos should work well tied in to your other marketing efforts, activities and productions. The same is not true in reverse. Many times designers, owners, printers, start with some really lovely script lettering, that gives off a rather nice sophisticated feel that we all love to have imparted on our customers. After all, that’s the image we want to leave with them as part of our brand.
The problem is that while they look great on paper in front of us on the flyers, cards, and letterhead, or within 18” of our faces while looking at a website, or even on TV during a spot, the further you get away from the cursive lettering, the harder it is to discern. We use a simple test of either backing away from the computer screen or print out by about 30’ to evaluate the design for clarity. If you can’t grab the parts of the design instantly, improvement is in order.
Here’s a very good example of a very good logo close up but less effective one at a distance when used for a billboard.
The black and white logo was developed by The Cellar for use on their storefront, letterhead, etc. and does convey the lovely experience of their fine dining and cozy atmosphere and we used it initially in the layout that included the wine cellar photo. It looks great now on the screen and it exactly what the owner wanted. Now do the test and notice that “The Cellar” fades from view as you go back, and the curlies around the grapes disappear while the grapes, blob up. We ran this for a while and then determined that it wasn’t as effective as we would like.
Notice that the font has been changed to reflect a stylish, yet more legible shape, the yellow color more saturated to take advantage of the eye-catching vibrancy of the digital billboards; in the billboard layout the enlargement and simplification of the image of the grapes which ties into her overall theme of wine. Now go back and do the test and see how much more effective a modified logo can be, all while not really deviating or confusing the customers with another completely different logo. Over time and as budget allows, this modification can integrate into other marketing effort, although it’s not absolutely necessarily at all.