The dreaded logo

The most difficult design assignment I’ll ever get is to design a logo or logotype. These can often be so baffling and can cause me to wake up in a sweat in the night as my sub-conscious runs interminably through possibility after possibility. Such a design can happen quickly or take weeks or months which is why in the last few years I have cranked up the price for designing them. Imagine if Van Gogh had to paint a masterpiece with the client commenting at every turn – I don’t like that tree or that sun you’ve painted looks too wobbly. He would have lost his mind a lot earlier than he did and probably lopped off the other ear.

But clients come in all shapes and sizes and I have learnt over the years not to discount clients’ ideas and not about just logos. It’s often an alchemy between your own ideas and the seemingly impossible ideas a client might have. The good design (logos included) is always something beyond what you initially envisioned.  But it’s in the realm of typography that I feel like pulling rank sometimes although I have never actually said yet “you know nothing about typography or typefaces do you?” I’ve certainly been tempted. In fact as everyone knows the way you craft an email can be the difference between getting or losing a client. Who hasn’t laid  in bed regretting the email that  just got sent in a fit of pique. Of course the English language allows for one to express all kinds of subtleties which I just don’t think eg Spanish, allows for, so one can infer, suggest, imply and prevaricate in all manner of ways to avoid outright hostility. The golden rule is never send an email in anger and if you have to express something difficult, write it then wait till the morning before sending it. A lot happens with a night of sleep. It’s real art as it’s all so quick…no heaps of screwed up letters in the wastepaper basket.

About Ian Whiteman

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