Monocolumn

A daily bulletin of news & opinion

12 September 2014

I’m starting up a new business project. Naturally, before premises, funding or even a business plan, my priority has been to get the logo designed. A killer logo and everything else will fall into place.

The biggest challenge has been how to communicate to my designer exactly what I’m after. No creative spirits like to be told to copy another’s work, but inspiration is a different thing altogether. Cue the mood board.

As an occasional musician and producer, I’m used to working on commercial projects with a tight brief, with the creative direction usually coming from people lacking musical vocabulary.

‘We’re after more energy, but it still needs to be chilled. Also can it be dubbier? And faster. Plus it needs to reflect the purple in our packaging and have notes of leather.’ Try reworking a 30-second house track to that brief and see where you end up.

I found myself in a similar position but on the other side of the fence for a change. I knew what I was after but how to communicate it effectively? I tried to draw an example myself – that only complicated matters. Routes were explored, briefly entertained, then just as quickly abandoned. Flashes of inspiration were screen-grabbed from the most unlikely of sources. Progress was being made.

Eventually we honed in on a logo that somehow managed to capture the essence of the new brand without being too literal or prescriptive, leaving us room to head off in a number of directions. Praise be! The next stage was to put it under the microscope. Does is scale? How’s the legibility? The kerning became a daily obsession, with a letter being moved a molecule one way or another until I’d lost the ability to see any difference to the minute changes being made. Are the dots on the ‘i’s too suggestive? I genuinely agonised less about getting a tattoo.

Finally it was done and, I have to admit, I’ve fallen for it. Any suggestion that there was another, better logo out there has gone, washed away in the calming sensation that this is the one we were looking for all along – it just needed to find us.

My advice: kick off with some Herb Lubalin, add a nod to Bruno Maag, make sure it’s future-proof but timeless and, of course, ensure it’s scalable and web-compatible. Straightforward, really.

Paul Noble is a producer on Monocle 24

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