May 16, 2021 by Michael Diez
So I watched Sagi Haviv’s TED talk. He is a New York-based graphic designer and a partner in the design firm Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv.
I’ve also been thinking about strategy lately - business strategy, design strategy, marketing strategy, etc.
My takeaway from Sagi Haviv’s TED talk is that his strategy for designing a logo is to create a graphic that will become an identity (of a person, business, movement, etc) over time.
Sagi Haviv is saying that a logo is not an illustration. Is not an icon.
And I’m convinced. I think he is right.
A logo could be an illustration or icon, but it will be an OK logo.
So what makes a great logo? A great logo will stand the test of time in the following three criteria.
I’m going to take the perspective of building a logo for a business.
This is relatively easy. As long as you have your fundamentals of graphic design, you should be able to nail this one.
The elements are Type, Color, and Shape.
A combination of these can be described as bold, elegant, light, playful, friendly, etc.
So to make a logo appropriate, you just have to match the right description of the logo to the description of the identity the logo will be associated with. Then use the appropriate combination of Type, Color, and Shape to accomplish this.
This part of logo design is getting harder and harder. Many of the best logos from years ago could be considered symbols and icons nowadays. But those businesses can keep using those logos because they became an identity early enough.
Nowadays, using an icon or illustration to create an identity would probably require enormous amounts of resources to make sure the identity stands the test of time.
Simplicity is probably the most important requirement.
You start a business by making some assumptions and taking some risks. It is very likely you will have to change (i.e. pivot) as time goes by in order to adjust your business to new circumstances.
You would have invested years into making a brand and relating a graphic to that brand.
If the graphic is simple, it is versatile. It could become the face of this new pivoted business. This graphic can use its momentum to give your pivoted business a competitive edge, instead of having to build an identity from scratch every time your business changes.
Another advantage of a simple logo is that is memorable. The easier it is for people to draw it or describe it, the more memorable it is.
Which would you sacrifice? Meaningful or Memorable. For a logo, I’ll keep Memorable, thank you very much.