Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Great Question From One of Our Readers

Q: How do you handle translating really colorful, "effects"-based logos if you don't have an official 1-color version from the designer?

A: If I can't find an official 1-color version (meaning pure "black and white;" no gray tones) of a logo mark that relies heavily on color and effects (e.g. gradients, glows, transparencies) for it's visual appearance, then I will, in most cases, convert it to line renderings to try to retain some form of recognition (see Wacom post). I will try to distinguish what are the key elements that make up the visual appearance of the design and acknowledge those in some way through the 1-color rendering. (It is an "unofficial" way of doing it, but I am trying to make a point. Please know that if an official 1-color version is able to be found, I will always use that.)

Though, it will not always be done the said way above because some of those logos have excessive amounts of overlapping shapes with no clear element of separation; so I will sometimes allow all those elements to just blend together into a single, solid shape because the design made no distinction of contrast outside of color usage (see Google Buzz or 
BT 
posts). These examples lend themselves to one of the points I try to make on this site---that logos need to be well thought through and designed in their most basic state first: 1-color, using foundational principles like contrast, positive/negative space, form, and visual wit or concept. Not putting all branded investment into how "flashy" it can appear in the end.

See the new "FAQs" page in the navigation bar for an email exchange I had with one of our readers, Olga Alvardo Fernandez (from Colombia, South America), who asked me about this...

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