This is it, folks. Today we’re wrapping up our series on the 5 biggest mistakes church tend to make in logo design. We covered a lot of ground last week, and I recommend that you read through the whole series if you missed anything.
Last, but certainly not least, on our list is:
5.) You’re using too many fonts and/or the wrong font
If the mark—or graphic element—is the heart of a logo, then the typographic element is the soul. In fact, many times the assumption is that a logo must include a graphic element or mark, when the reality is that there are many times when typography alone would be the better solution. Look back at my previous post about the top 10 global brands and you’ll notice that four of them are type-based marks with little or no other graphic elements.
There are a lot of designers who are skilled when it comes to designing a mark, but fail to execute a successful design because of poor type selection.
I love this quote from Dmitry Kirsanov, a russian identity designer:
“No other discipline requires so much learning and training as fontography, and by no other aspect can amateurs be so easily distinguished from professionals.”
The problem of too many fonts is easily solved—use less. In fact, your “how many fonts can I use in this here logo” meter should peg out at approximately two.
The issue of using the wrong font is more complex. Like, Higgs boson complex.
There are whole books dedicated to the issue of identifying the right font and understanding typography, so I won’t pretend I can answer this in a sub-1000 word blog post. I can, however, point you in the right direction.
Fonts have personality
Effective logo design is achieved when the designer considers more than the blank paper & screen in front of him. All elements of a logo should consider the personality of the organization and their market, serving to reflect and project that personality.
For example, a curly, cursive font with loads of flourish is probably the wrong choice for a distinctly modern and minimalistic organization. By contrast, a goofy cartoonish font is probably a poor fit for an established organization with an older membership base and community.
Type should balance the logo
Your type selection should compliment and balance your mark.
If you have a thick, weighty mark, it might be a mistake to pair it with a thin, whispy font, and vice versa. Contrast is great in design, but it’s a fine line. You also don’t want the font and the mark to be too similar or they’ll be battling it out for attention. Neither element should overpower the other. Bring balance to the force, young Jedi.
Never sacrifice your logo’s readability for design. It’s the age old arguments of style vs. design and form vs. function. Your type, above all, should be easily read, or else what’s the point?
Make sure you choose type that can be easily read not just at the comfortable distance of your face to the computer screen, but from your face to a business card laying on a desk, from across the room posted on a refrigerator—as I said before, consider the different use cases and design to those rather than just eyeballing “what looks good.”
As with most aspects of design, there’s more that could be said. On some of these subjects I’ve barely scratched the surface, but hopefully I’ve given you enough information to throw at your designer to save you from a possible logo disaster.
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