Supersize my logo

There has been a clamorous debate about logo design and the direction in which graphic design is headed in general. Yes we can now make noodles in 2 minutes – but a Professional logo design in just 5 minutes – it’s ridiculous – what is this obsession with getting things done so quickly? – what has happened to crafting a design and taking time to create art.

I think DIY logo design and graphic generators are killing brands by offering a one size fits all solution. The great irony is that they themselves tell you how important it is for your company to have a professional logo design and unique corporate identity and then in the same breath tell you that you can do it yourself in the time it takes to make a cup of tea. Perhaps to understand why a professional logo design is so important we need to derive where it gets its power from and delve a little into the history of symbolism and graphic language.

One of the oldest commercial logo designs in the world is on the famous beer Stella Artois, whose origins can be traced back to 1366 when the Den Horn Brewery was established in Leuven, Belgium. The name of the company did change over the years but the original horn and star icon have stood the test of time. However as we look deeper into our history, people and religions have associated themselves with symbols like the cross in Christianity or the Star of David in Judaism to name a few – these icons became the symbols of belief and are inextricably intertwined in the religion itself. Another strong example is the use of graphic symbols in a military context – we should never under estimate the power of a strong institutional icon. The German Swastika being a great example, a powerful logo that Hitler stole from Hinduism where it remains a symboly of peace and was turned into a symbol of fear and anti semitism. However for many of the German people at the time a symbol of ultimate power. A well crafted company logo design takes me on average 8 hours to create and that’s with nearly 30 years of experience and at least I000 jobs completed. All of my logo designs begin the old Fashioned way – with a pencil and a piece of paper. I believe in trying to find the essence of a company and its culture and conveying that into a graphic symbol or unique font (often hand created) that will visually communicate the brands essence. I then sketch out various ideas and this process can span over a few days sometimes even weeks. Pouring over ideas and painstakingly removing the weaker ones until I believe we have a few winning directions which can be crafted and then presented to client. In one case that comes to mind for larger automotive car advertising portal cars.co.za I generated over 200 freehand calligraphy iterations until we landed on a version that could be taken onto computer and refined into a finished product.

Perhaps it’s because I was taught by a man from a generation that didn’t have computers and valued hand crafted graphics – understood design and had a real passion for the craft. I only hope that with the advent of online generated graphics we don’t loose the beauty of individuality and art in similar way that we lost the art of making Japanese samurai swords and the method to build the pyramids of Egypt. Fast and cheap, plastic in the ocean – a disposable society that wants instant gratification, perhaps it’s time to start envisioning a post-brand era?

By Jerome Tozer.