Take a Note: Your Logo Is Not That Important

As a disclaimer, I’ll note this right now: I’ve never taken a design class or anything anywhere close to it. That said, I’ve never taken a journalism class, either, and I seem to have figured out how to string words together in a semi-coherent manner.

Now, with that out of the way, I have something for you designers (or would-be designers): Stop using your logo as the centerpiece for whatever half-baked design you’re cooking up. Your logo is not that cool.

As a semi-important employee of a soft-goods company, I’ve been on the new-product preview trail for a few weeks now. We’re well into the spring 2012 lines by now, so we’ve seen all shades of every color, with every kind of pattern, texture or shading imaginable. Some of it is very, very good. Some of it is very, very awful.

Some of it, like yours truly on a bike, is very, very average.

The stuff that stands out – the really great stuff – you’ll see here next spring. They’re most often a marriage between style and function, between eye-catching and edgy.

The stuff that won’t be seen here typically offended with design, more so than color. Most often, the design centered around a manufacturer’s logo in a garish bit of chest-thumping.

For example, though this jersey features its manufacturer’s logo prominently, it’s a part of the design, not the sole basis of the design. If you changed the wordmark to say “BIKE,” it would still look pretty great.

On the other hand, clothing that features a design built around prominent display of a logo – picture a big chest shield with a big logo in the middle and sunbeam-type rays radiating around it. In that case, the design is slave to the logo. It’s only as good as the logo featured, and most often that logo isn’t very good.

The ideal kit, to me at least, has a great-looking design that makes someone say, “Wow, sweet kit. Who makes it?” That same person should not say, “Wow, guess (insert company here) is really proud of its brand, huh?”

Good design finds a place for your logo. Good design creates an identity that can identify your brand better than any logo rendered in high-viz yellow splatter paint ever could.

Design drives style. Logos do not. Plan accordingly.

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