A chapter from the Create an Identity Article
Before the whole design process of a logo or a website, meet over a moodboard, or create it yourself. It’s a set of all the artwork that inspires you or might contribute to the final logo design. In terms of colors, shapes, or overall design, it’s the goal of how your logo/site should look. Dozens of styles exist. It’s important that you and the designer are on the same page and compare moodboards with other websites, fonts, colors, pictures, or even architecture, industrial design etc., so you know each other’s vision for the project.
Know your target audience and research appropriate visual styles, e.g., you probably wouldn’t use graffiti for a kindergarten logo. Be prepared to answer questions such as: "If your brand was a person, how would that person look?"; “what feelings/emotions should be included?” The designer must know your business really well to prepare a suitable brand.
Simplicity is the key
Make the appearance understandable, easy to discern, and simple, however it shouldn’t be too vivid or too visible.
Logo = A symbol, something that will represent your brand.
Logotype = A typographical logo, made only by text and possibly some twist inside the text, without a proper symbol. Unless you’re Nike, you should be okay with using a logotype.
Brand Manual vs. logo manual
Logo manual is the basic manual you will need – it needs to define colors, fonts, shape, and the construction of a logo. It also defines the rules of how to place the logo somewhere, with safe zone around the logo, minimum size etc. It’s a technical document of how to treat a logo and how it’s made.
Brand manual is an extension of a logo manual, where all of the brand materials are defined, such as business cards, letterheads, posters, stickers and anything you want. The purpose of a brand manual is to have all your brand needs in one place and you will no longer need a designer to maintain your brand, you should have everything in there and just change the contents yourself, or at the printing house.
If a designer is preparing you website design, always get a style tile from him. It’s a definition of all elements used in the design, so you can build your own pages in the future, and they’ll still be consistent with the rest of the design. It defines used fonts and sizes (like H1, H2 etc.), buttons in all stages (hover, click, default), forms, colors, spacings, etc. It’s like a Lego kit you can build a new page from.