As a writer, I have a tendency to become involved with the graphic design procedure only peripherally, but I manage to learn useful lessons from it.
I am fascinated by the process of logo design - maybe not the amateurish effort of slapping clip art collectively, but the thinking and execution a professional brings to shooting the vision of a company in a superbly straightforward art component. I’ve observed the procedure many times and heard designers get many fascinating requests from their clients.
The most memorable came in the manager of a business that made tow trucks. As the programmer started to explain the logo creation process and develop a sense of the company’s expectations, the rough-edged boss waved his hand to stop him in mid-sentence. He then spoke.
“I really don’t give a (bleep) what the (bleeping) logo resembles,” he said.
Folksy? Perhaps. Crude? Definitely. But noise? Absolutely. Professional Logos understood that it was crucial that other tow-truck operators understood that they left this good-looking truck. It is a business where appearance is every bit as important as function, along with his competitors would add any touch that might give them an edge. (Like me, you probably don’t swoon over tow trucks, but I can remember standing at”tow displays” and hearing,“Now, that is a real pretty truck.” Fashion models would have been overlooked one of the chrome.)
It is all too easy for those of us who operate in the creative services business to lose sight of the fact that our work exists primarily to create business for our clients. All things considered, we take great pride in combining our talents and what we’ve learned to come up with work that makes us joyful and our peers. Most advertising and graphic design award shows promote that focus by rewarding fashion, instead of substance.
We sometimes forget that trademarks, headlines, and other elements of marketing communications have to be seen to work. It’s great if we could accomplish that and make them visually appealing at the same time. However, the most intrinsically beautiful design will fall flat if people can not tell what it is or who it’s supposed to spot, and the most award-winning advertising concept is going to be a humiliating failure if it fails to induce sales or meet the customer’s other expectations.
The best customers for whom I have worked have given me a great deal of liberty and trusted my recommendations were sound and sensible. But with that freedom and trust came an understanding that I would be held liable for outcomes, also.