The Logo LessonsA column article, Mission: Professional by: Steven Savage
You've doubtlessly heard of the New DC Logo and its variants. To say I'm underwhelmed is to miss the fact there's a lot of depth under whelming, and I'm still digging deeper. I was debating commenting on it, but my acquaintances at fan to pro analyzed the logo and its history, as well as the history of dumb logo decisions and what it means to a job search, leaving me free to do this column.
Let me be upfront, I think the logo is hideous from an artistic point of view, but also a business point of view. The logo itself exists as a way to map other variants, making the logo itself, a strangely dull affair, nearly irrelevant. It does not brand the company so much as become a vehicle for branding, thus making it both overly complex and overly simple at the same time. It says nothing about DC, really, it makes no statement. Like popcorn, it's shallow and fluffy and exists to carry other things.
It creates distance and feels so "marketable" it kind of leaves me with no sense of connection.
So why bring this up, except for the cathartic effect I'm experiencing as I write this? Because it's an important lesson for professionals - logos matter. Oh, and I'm experiencing logo design issues on my own projects.
Recently, I decided to "logofy" some of my projects, which you'll doubtlessly hear more of in these pages. Fortunately I found a good source (which you will probably also hear about in these pages) who was helpful, and my first of three rebrands is finishing.
Know what? It was a lot harder than I thought. I suppose it was for DC as well. It also taught me, as I poured over designs and annoyed my artist, just how important a good logo is.
You're going to need to "get" logos if you have any plans to launch your own business, products, webcomics, etc. A logo is a reference, a sign, a symbol, a handshake with the customer, and an icon. It boils down you or your project or product into something recognizable.
Think of the great logos out there you know immediately - as well as other media icons. Think of that "wham" of recognition you get when you see them. You want that in any endeavor you have. Unless you're an artist or have some marketing background, you probably didn't think much about it.
DC is a reminder you bloody well do need to think about it. The DC logo was memorable, and the new one is producing controversy. Logos get reactions (though you want to aim for the reactions that sell stuff).
So whatever your professional goals in comics, get to know logos, get to know branding, and unless you're a good artist, get a professional to design your logo.
It might even be good practice for you to get a logo design done even for non-commercial projects like a personal website. It'll help you "get into" understanding logos and imagery that can be useful in profitable ventures or your careers.