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Strong and consistent visual logic is the goal of brand art direction.
by Andy Attiliis
If already established and in working order, the job of an art director is to maintain such quality through all manner of current and upcoming creative initiatives. When there is a new identity to be developed, supplied input from a creative director or job originator is the place to start. With a mind to distill such information down to its lowest common denominators, graphic symbols will begin suggesting themselves for possible use in the development of a logo.
Since every word combination that forms a brand new name is the simplest and most memorable form of its own identity, any additions must be well considered. Unless something adds powerful and meaningful distinction, it will only serve to impede recognition. Most often, creatively styled and well designed typography is the most effective approach to a logo. Especially if such a look can be carried over to the working typography within ads, brochures and other related documents.
In situations where the addition of a visual symbol can be justified, every effort should be made to ensure that its inclusion is impeccable. That is, visually connected in a strong enough manner to be an unmistakable part of the logo rather than an illustration of the name.
A common mistake, for art directors and clients alike, is to get caught up in trends. If there were a source from which I could report the number of swoop shapes that have been attached to company names since the one done by Nike, that number would be included herein. Certainly, the phenomenon itself extends far beyond one corporation. I only mention Nike because their's is the most famous and was accomplished far in advance of the mad rush to swoop the lights out of every new logo we see.
Sure, there's a smidge of value to be gained from that second look because of similarity to the approved trend. Beyond that, the tradeoff is devastating. Because, by including an over used visual element, the opportunity for an audience to appreciate unique identity and purpose every time they see our logo has been lost.
Andy Attiliis has served as art director for three advertising agencies. Since becoming an independent professional in 1981, he has been hired by nearly every type of business organization. With focused concentration on improving the continuity of a message’s concept and quality, he has often performed multiple creative functions on a single project. His additional experience as a creative director, designer, illustrator and writer have made him an extremely efficient single source art director/creative provider. The kinds of communications for which he has provided art direction range from ads to newsletters, brandings to Web sites.
Copyright 2001 Andy Attiliis. All rights reserved.