Beyond Lemonade – Logo Proposal Meetings

2136953861_1b91ecbba2We all know a great logo when we see one.  Creating one is a different story entirely.  It has take me several month to go through the logo process and come out with something I am very excited about in the end.

The first step in the process was an RFP (a Request for Proposal) sent out to three different ad/branding agencies that FremantleMedia was interested in working with.  This was done out of London because FMX, the Fremantle Digital Division, has its offices in London.  I helped prepare a document which would be the basis for the creative input to each agency.  This document detailed the basic story arc of the series, the main characters, the location of the series, tone and style of the series and the intended audience.  We got back several pitches detailing different logo ideas from each company.  (See the article on each company’s pitch and what I learned about pitching from the other side of the desk).

The next step was choosing an agency based on the ideas submitted.  We choose the agency with the most enthusiasm and best visual understanding of the series.  I helped prepared a set of notes detailing our feedback on their designs and selecting a specific direction from the ideas and color palettes they submitted.

Two important factors in our selection process was concept (the central idea, emotion and tone behind the logo) and execution (the actual artwork itself).  It’s not very different from the challenges of telling a great story.  A logo is a kind of short-hand visual story.  It should convey the essence of the brand, idea or item in an instant.  Every web series needs a good logo.  It is the quick visual identity of the show and it marks it as your creative vision.

Here a few guidelines about what constitutes a great logo (adapted from The Logo Factory design articles):

1) Uniqueness
Your logo should be able to stand out as completely ‘yours’. It should be unique to your show and give a quick visual sense of what your show is about and what its style and tone are.
2) Timeless
Every few years there’s a trend, or fad, that new logos seems to embrace. A few years ago it was the ’swoosh’ – which made logos all hi-tech and ‘internety’. The latest design logo trend is so-called 2.0, a technique that (like a lot of design trends) can be traced back to Apple Computers. Take your logo, add a ‘gel’ treatment, give it glassy reflection at the bottom and you’re all set. Instead of trying to be hip or trendy go for something classic and classy that will stand the test of time.
3) Adaptability
Over the life of your company, you’ll want to plaster your logo over everything you create for the show or send out about it. That’s the point of having a logo in the first place. In order to do this, you’ll need a logo that’s adaptable to every occasion design gimmicks like lens flares and drop shadows can render your logo impractical for many of these uses over a variety materials. For exmaple FAXes, embroidery, newspaper ads, invoices, letterheads, collectable products etc. Your new logo has to work on all of them across a variety of surfaces. You’ll need a quality black and white version that can reproduce as a halftone grayscale, or in the cases of low-resolution BW reproduction, a stylized linear version.
4) Scalability
When using your logo, you’ll need to be able to use it small. Really small. Postage stamp size small. It’s always the simpler logos that stand out when viewed from a distance. Cluttered logos aren’t recognizable at this scale.  When it comes to scalability, the text portion of the logo is the most important, as that’s the piece you want people to remember. Elaborate fonts or text doesn’t read very well at half an inch high.
5) Color is Secondary
Colors are extremely important. Using consistent corporate colors will become part of your brand – that’s understood. However, when it comes to the design of your logo, color must always be secondary. A logo that requires color to ‘hold’ the design together is fine when reproduction is optimal – websites, 4 color process printing and what have you – but even then only if the size is appropriate as well. Logos that rely too much on color tend to blend together when used small (see above) and unless the contrast between the two colors is pronounced, will be a grey mess if used in black and white. As for low-resolution reproduction (FAXES, checks or stationary, etc) you can forget about readability completely – logos that use color as a design cornerstone usually come out as black blotches on a FAX transmission and with all their money, banks still haven’t figured out how to print a decent check.

1) Uniqueness

Your logo should be able to stand out as completely ‘yours’. It should be unique to your show and give a quick visual sense of what your show is about, what its style and tone are and what audience segment your are appealing to.

2) Timeless

Every few years there’s a new design trend, or fad. A few years ago it was the ’swoosh’– which made logos all hi-tech and ‘internety’. The latest design logo trend is so-called 2.0, a technique that (like a lot of design trends) can be traced back to Apple Computers. Take your logo, add a ‘gel’ treatment, give it glassy reflection at the bottom and you’re all set. Instead of trying to be hip or trendy go for something classic and classy that will stand the test of time.

3) Adaptability

Over the life of your show, you may want to plaster your logo over everything you create for the show or send out about it. In order to do this, you’ll need a logo that’s adaptable to a wide range uses.  Design gimmicks like reflections, lens flares and drop shadows can render your logo impractical on a variety materials and surfaces. Your logo should work on FAXes, embroidery, newspaper ads, invoices, letterheads, collectable items (like coffee mugs, pens or shirts etc.). You’ll need a quality black and white version that can reproduce as a halftone grayscale, or in the cases of low-resolution black and white reproduction, a stylized linear version.

4) Scalability

When using your logo, you’ll need to be able to use it small. Really small. Postage stamp size small. It’s always the simpler logos that stand out when viewed from a distance. Cluttered logos aren’t recognizable in small scale.  When it comes to scalability, the text portion of the logo is the extremely important. Elaborate fonts or text doesn’t read very well at half an inch high.

5) Color is Secondary

Color is extremely important in depicting tone and style. Using consistent colors will become part of your show’s brand – that’s understood. However, when it comes to the design of your logo, color must always be secondary. A logo that requires color to ‘hold’ the design together is fine when reproduction is optimal –but logos that rely too much on color tend to blend together when used small.   Unless the contrast between the two colors is pronounced, will be a grey mess when used in black and white (on for example an envelope). As for low-resolution black and white reproduction (FAXES or checks, etc) you can forget about readability completely when color is key the the logo’s readability.

All those concerns were key to our final design decision.  We are very excited about the choice to make the logo look like newsprint origami.  Origami was a great direction to take because it symbolizes moving from something flat and static (a piece or paper or newsprint) and turning it into something original, creative and dynamic— a unique piece of art.  That is in essence what our characters are doing with their lives on the series.  They are moving beyond their troubles and set-backs to create something bigger, bolder and more audacious than what went before.  Newsprint was appropriate because our main character is remaking an out-moded newspaper into an online journal sharing stories about women starting over.

The logo we came up with could be animated at the beginning of each episode.  It can work in color, in a black and white grayscale and in a more stylized graphic version for use on smaller items like on pencils or as a piece of jewelry, like a brooch.  I will unveil the final design in the week or so.  Watch this space!

Top Photo Credit HERE

1 Comment

  1. Reply A Dalton 13th September 2010

    So Laurie – what happened to the Beyond Lemonade logo? Curious to see it.

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