Less is More…

Doing a lot with very little. It’s a hard sentence to wrap one’s head around, however, it is important, if not the most important thing I’ve learned about design. Many designers have trouble creating a minimalist (simplistic, clean) design; either they have a hard time making a page with so few elements look good or the final result just doesn’t seem “complete” to them.

When you create a minimalist design, the design is at it’s most basic state, free from superfluous colors, elements, and textures,– CLUTTER, if you will. The purpose for this is to bring the most important visual/content to the forefront and minimize distractions for the viewer or reader. When people get distracted they often miss the message in the design or story, because they are confused on where their focus should be. Part of minimizing distractions is creating SIMPLE design by using less texture, color, shape, lines, content or type–kind of like the clutter that I mentioned earlier.

This is KEY: When you as a designer can portray the message you want and bring it to the forefront with as little elements as possible, you have a minimalist design.

When thinking about minimalist design think about accurate use of white space, alignment, movement, and contrast. One last piece of advice for an over-designer, when the thought, “something is missing” enters your head, the first thing you should try is take something out and then go from there, even if that means starting over. There is nothing like admiring basic design elements used at their full potential.

“Design should never say, “Look at me.” It should always say, “Look at this.”

Here are a few to showcase:

Corporate Identities

Why is the branding of a company so important? Among many reasons, people often tend to forget names of companies, however, the brand images or the corporate identity stays imprinted in their memories for a long time.Therefore, selecting the corporate identity is very necessary to find the perfect match between the corporate vision and the design selected. The design should convey the same message which is hidden in the mission statement of the organization. These designs are not only printed on the letterheads rather they are very much found on all official documents including the invoices, receipts, stationery, envelopes, etc.

Here are a few corporate identities that I find inspirational, clean, unique and noteworthy:

8 Characteristics of Badly Designed Logos

How important is it for a business to communicate its messages to potential partners and customers? Very. And what graphic communicates a business’s message and uniqueness?….The logo.

Which is what brings me to point some characteristics of badly designed logos not only on websites, but in the overall creation of a business’s identity.

1. Amateurish design

The point is that a professional website should look professional.

These are a few common reasons why many online business logos look amateurish:

  •  Hiring the wrong professionals. (Printing businesses or web designers are probably not too proficient with logo design)
  • *The company outsourced the logo design project using through a competition, which are mainly attended by inexperienced, amateur designers.

2. Companies rely too much on latest trends

Trends (such as glows, bevels swooshes) come and go, eventually they become too BLAH. A logo that is well designed should be evergreen, and should stand the test of time.

Studying how logo designers work is particularly important in giving you inspiration to come up with a unique style of your own.

3. Contain outdated cliparts and stock art

Logos with boring cliparts are usually made by entrepreneurs who create their own logo or inexperienced designers, who are not aware that cliparts are so 90ish and just yuck!

A logo should be original and unique. Using stock vector images not only looks 90ish but it also may cause you to break rules. Chances are, those vector images have already been used by many people around the world.

4. The logo fails to match the website main subject

Ask yourself if this policy is really appropriate for your website? For example, stylish font may not be appropriate for the website of a lawyer office, duh!

Some professional designers also made the mistake of adding a “signature” in their work. Incorporating too much personality in a logo can be very bad. Stay focused and stick to the website’s main topic.

5. Too complex

Very detailed design won’t scale nicely when displayed or printed in small sizes. KEEP IT SIMPLE! Thumbnails are like fingerprints. You will notice the fine details of your fingerprints by looking at them closely. The same goes for logo design.
A detailed logo carries more information and web visitors need to know. Which may cause them to have the need to stare at it longer rather than continuing to browse the site.

6. Poor selection of fonts

When designing a logo, you should choose a font that best matches your website topic. Often, a logo fails completely, because it has wrong fonts (for example, the infamous Comic Sans is used much too often on many websites).

So much of design is based on knowing typography and having the knowledge to make the right choices when it comes to fonts.

Poor selection of font happens because the decision-making process is not taken seriously enough. Many designers choose a font without giving it a second thought.

7. Uses too many fonts

You shouldn’t incorporate too much elements in your logo, it’s confusing…… enough said.

8. Modified from an existing logo

This could be the biggest mistake in logo design. Some designers find no harm in taking a logo from somewhere else and simply modifying it, NO NO NO! That is stealing! A logo should be utterly unqiue and your own!

Inpsiring Logos

Today I found some  logos that really inspired me. It’s amazing how thoughts and visions are put together to create one concept.

A logo is very important to a company and its identity. Because we do often judge books by their covers. The perceived value of a service/product can make or break the company. The visual identity of a company is what builds trusts among their customers. It’s kind of like “putting a face to the name”.

Through finding these logos of inspiration, I discovered that often times, it’s the simple solution that is the best soultion. Although a lot of time and effort goes into collaborating when branding a company, sometimes you have to go back and ask yourself: What basic elements can I use to produce the simplest design.

So now you are back to the basics and all the complicated guru is out the window!

I’m constantly finding new inspiration, but here are just a few designs I found:





A Logo: From Revolutionary to Evolutionary

The Federal Express Corporation was invented in 1973. What you need to know about the year of 1973 was that the market was still only in the U.S., there was only one packaging type, and only one delivery time.

About 30 years later, Federal Express was still in business but was losing market share. By this time, the company had added new services, was shipping to 186 countries, and had gained many competitors.

They needed a new brand that would help reposition the company. They hired global design firm Landor to do the job.

There were over 300 designs created during the redesign of the logo. Also the name of the company changed from Federal Express to its communicative name: FedEx.

The amount of research put into the new branding of FedEx was extensive. The logo seems simple and to the point. However, through my design experience I’ve learned that nothing is arbitrary.  

“This is a fine example in which in-depth preparation led to an iconic solution”. – David Airey

Source: This is a summary of excerpt with commentary in the following: LogoDesignLove: A guide to creating iconic brand identities, by David Airey.