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T H E S H O R T A N S W E R
Good design does two things: works & looks good.
Sounds simple, right? Well, not so fast! In order to make sure that a design both looks good and works, you need to figure out what its job is and who the job is being done for. Let's dive a little deeper!
W H A T W O R K S
Good design, specifically graphic design, communicates with its audience. that's its job. It does is this job in two ways, concretely and abstractly.
Concrete communication informs the audience of specific details. Some examples include names, dates, stories, instructions, and statistics. This type of communication can be executed via text, graphs, diagrams, etc. Concrete communication takes ideas or understandings and forms them into tangible information that can be easily digested.
Abstract communication conveys a deeper meaning by triggering the subconscious. Some examples include mood, style, and context. This type of communication can be executed via color, font, illustration, etc. Abstract communication is heavily influenced by culture and hinges on an audience and their experiences in order for them to pick up on visual signals.
W H A T L O O K S G O O D
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder... kinda. For the most part what "looks good" depends on who is looking. Not everyone is interested in the same style, which is why finding a niche is crucial to effective communication. Because not everyone is the same there's not an easy formula for cranking out the perfect logo, but there are some strict design principles that apply... no matter the audience. I'm going to expound on these two points.
Your niche market is the answer to "who is this job being done for?" and when designing for a niche market the audience and longevity need to be the top priority. Stay away from flashy trends, especially when designing a logo. A successful brand should be relevant without consisting of trends that will be out of date within a year. If you do incorporate trendy details, I suggest that they be subtle and not focal points of the brand identity. Focus on what the target audience wants. They're the consumers and their needs should be front and center.
There are so many more things to consider when designing a logo, but if I had to choose my top five(in no particular order), these would be it:
A L I G N M E N T
Helps ground the eye.
When elements in a design are aligned accordingly it helps the reader get their bearings and organize information faster.
H I E R A R C H Y
Informs the reader.
Elements that are larger or more drastic get attention first. Designers use this principle to highlight the most important information.
P R O X I M I T Y
Helps guide the eye.
Where elements are in relation to each other tells the reader what comes next and what information goes together.
B A L A N C E
Calms the eye.
If elements in a design are not balanced the reader feels unstable and is not as receptive to the information.
C O N T R A S T
A contrast in elements draws attention to specific information, making a design visually appealing.
R E C A P
Good design works by