When the New Year rolls around, everyone wants this to be the year they improve their skills more than ever. Of course, designers are no different, and this is particularly true for graphic designers specializing in logos, or aiming to specialize in this highly important field of corporate design. As the element upon which all other materials are based, the logo is one of the most important designs you can make, if not the single most important to any given company. It’s no surprise that you want to take your skills to the next level, and thankfully there are plenty of ways to do so.
1. Review Old Work
Never let skill be a reason to stagnate! You should always be reviewing your older work, from the first logo you were ever paid to design to the design that you finished last month, and not just to find areas that need improvement. This is also a great way to find areas, in which you excel, or elements and techniques that you enjoyed producing, but haven’t used in some time.
Recommends reviewing your portfolio constantly to always be at the top of your game, but when it comes to checking out previous work for the means of improvement, giving yourself an honest critique at least quarterly should be more than sufficient. However, any time is a great time to review your past work and find what worked, what didn’t, what designs have lasted the test of time and which definitely need a design refresh. If you’re just getting into logo design, this is the time to research large-scale and small-scale rebranding efforts. Find out how much time has passed between rebranding, and check the difference between the original and new logo or logos. See what was changed, and see if your designer’s eye can figure out why.
2. Follow the Trends
Reviewing rebranding efforts will also help you in this area. Especially important is to stay aware of the trends in modern logo design, as you move into the New Year. While the last several years have made it easy to see that most industries are opting for simplicity and minimalism in their logo design, this isn’t necessarily true of all fields and locations. A logo designer employed with a small business should be aware of local design trends as much as the national standard, and be able to combine the two into a classy, sharp and effective design that will last for years to come.
According to DesignBolts, the up and coming logo trends for 2015 include
- Negative space
- Low polygon graphics
- Fine linework
- Script typography
- Simple gradients
Have you seen any of these changes yet in your clients’ projects? If you haven’t, knowing the trends will help you stay ahead of the competition and offer some of the best, most modern design work in the field.
3. Stop Looking at Logo Design as a Single Field
The best thing you can do for yourself this year, if you really want to take your logo work to the next level, is to stop thinking of logo design as a single field with solid, all-encompassing, one size fits all rules and guidelines. Different industries and fields have different rules for all the different elements of a great logo.
Colors are more important than ever when working on a logo, so always learn the “local” rules for color usage before you start putting mockups together. While color theory has some rather hard rules for what each color represents, most of such rules are based on scientific studies of perception and psychology. In some fields these meanings may be completely opposite. For instance, engineering and technical companies generally avoid including red in their logo design; this isn’t because the color doesn’t invoke passion and catch the eye, but rather because this is an industry in which the color red means something is in need of repair. Typeface choice is just as important, particularly in technical fields, where you’ll find some standard typefaces have distinct meanings, or artistic fields, where a typeface may be seen as representing a particular artist or facility—whether they have the typeface trademarked or not.
4. Make it Fun Again
Review past victories, critique past mistakes, stay apprised of the current direction of logo design, learn all the rules—and then ignore everything. Going completely “out of bounds” with your design, especially at the beginning of a New Year or season, can be even more helpful than realizing the diverse nature of logo design. Find out what works for you as a designer as much as what works for your clients. The more familiar you are with your own design preferences, the more you hone even your most obscure and particular skills, the better service you can offer your new year’s clients.
It can even be a good time to do a couple of logos just for yourself, getting into portfolio projects instead of just paid work. Specky Boy Design Magazine reports that seeing personal investment in a given design field not just a plethora of paid work, helps clients to feel more reassured that they’re getting their money’s worth. To really improve your logo design skills this year, the biggest step is to get out there and design some logos!