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How much should a logo design cost?

I’m sure I’m not the first, nor will I be the last designer to write about this topic. It’s probably a reflection of the world we now live in that the first question often asked is “how much will a logo cost”, or “can you do it for £50 because company xyz can.” – my answer to the latter statement, albeit qualified and polite, has often resulted in the end of the phone call – but that’s OK.

It’s a bit like asking a builder – how much does it cost to design a building, or a lawyer – how much is my divorce going to cost. You can’t guarantee the best outcome on a fixed price. Fixed price logos are always a compromise, just like anything in life which is sold at a fixed low price. If you truly want to develop something unique that is going to project your brand, then it comes back to time and money. Ultimately, you always (unless you are incredibly lucky) get what you pay for. Read More…

How do I trademark a company logo?

Registered Trade Mark indiciaProtecting your corporate identity is becoming more necessary than ever. In an increasingly competitive and, arguably, immoral capitalist system, companies are becoming only too willing to try and steal some of your business by cloning your “look and feel”. Even worse – and this happened to yours truly – a new company that looks like it has a good name might have the rug pulled from under it’s feet by the big boys registering your name as a trademark before you get the chance to establish yourselves!

The difference between TM and ®

We’ve all seen the little TM and ® marks adorning logos for years, but what do they mean?

TM, meaning Trade Mark is simply the owners assertion that their product, service or company are unique. There is no real legal validity to this, other than that the brand may have been notoriously well known for many years. Whether or not the user shows the logo with the TM is largely immaterial – the claim to ownership of a brand name or logo will always be stronger, the longer you have used it unchallenged, whether it has been legally registered or not.

®, meaning Registered Trade Mark means that the items in question has been registered with the Patent office (or IPO Intellectual Property Office in the UK). It has legal clout right from the word go. Read More…

Free microlight pilot flight log – flight planning plog

Microlight Flight LogI spent a little time designing a flight log sheet for my NPPL microlight flights. Although there are commercially available flight log pads, I find them to be a little over the top for the kind of microlight flying many people do. This version has a reduced amount of information, and is perhaps more suited to the restricted space available to microlight pilots. If anyone is unsure what some of my marking mean, it goes like this:

  • PILOT/POB : Pilot name, and number of Persons On Board
  • A/C : Aircraft callsign and type
  • DATE : Obvious!
  • ROUTE : Total route
  • TOT DIST : Total Distance Flown (including return trip if part of the log)
  • TOT BLOCK : Total block time – from initial engine start to engine stop
  • FUEL : Total Fuel Carried (must cater for Total Block time plus at least 30 minutes more)
  • RWY, TAXI, QFE/QNH : Standard movement and pressure information at departure airfield
  • W/V/T 2000′ & 4000′ : Wind Direction. Velocity, and Temperature at 2000 and 5000 feet (from Met Office Form 214)
  • ALT : Cruise Altitude
  • MSA : Minimum Safe Altitude
  • TAS : Total Air Speed
  • TRK : Track Required True
  • G/S : Ground Speed
  • DIST : Leg Distance
  • Start Fixes : Prominent visual references – Gross error checks.
  • o/head : Overhead departure time
  • HDG ºM : Heading Magnetic (including any variation and deviation)
  • TIME + : Estimated time for leg
  • ETA : Estimated Time of Arrival
  • ATA : Actual Time of Arrival

Read More…

Fonts in the wild – FontFont Sari

FontFont Sari – Spotted

FontFont Sari

What’s more nerdy, trainspotting or… Font Spotting!

So there I was, fetching some milk, when I spotted in my local Spa, amidst the cook-in sauces – FontFont Sari (the text White Wine & Cream Cook-In-Sauce). Of course I always make my own sauces from scratch – but fonts are much harder to make yourself!

I haven’t purchased Sari yet, but it does have a certain appeal, maybe even for logo usage – It seems to be a softer, more rounded version of FontFont Dax, but this shouldn’t come as a surprise as both were created by Hans Reichel. I quite like Dax in certain situations, but like Sari, it has too much character to be used for extended runs of body text – but for short runs of type or as a headline font, it can work well.

Sari is an altogether softer animal you want to snuggle up next to with a warm cup of cocoa and a macaroon… Or maybe chicken in white wine and cream sauce!

We won’t mention the appearance that Helvetica made in the same store… oh the irony! Fresh meat indeed!

Helvetica - what have you done!

Another logo design goes live – tinystepskids.co.uk

The brief was to create a fun logo for a company dealing in kids clothing and accessories. I didn’t want to create an image specifically of babies, or at older kids, so I pitched somewhere in between – kind of young toddler looking, with a cheakiness and bounce. I really didn’t want to follow the modern trend for ultra minimalist presentations, and owner Kay Dickinson was more than happy to let the brakes off!

Setting the mood

We started out with the head – so big stick out ears, and a gummy tooth was the order of the day – and the curly wisp of hair added a finishing touch to the little fella.

The face I had drawn really set the mood for the rest of the design, so then I started trawling through typefaces for something suitable. It had to be playful, without being too whacky. Typically, Ray Larabie came to the rescue with his MinyaNouvelle font – which proved perfect once it had been beefed up with some outlines. Then it was a case of adding some feet, finger tips, tummy, and a few other tweaks until we arrived at the final approved design – ta da!

Tiny Steps Kids Logo

We are happy to be helping tinystepskids.co.uk relaunch their website, and hope to add another customer to our portfolio soon!

Font combinations that work together well

I’ve got a logo and I’m going to use it! This is the attitude of many companies after purchasing a shiny new logo. However, your brand or trademark is only part of the story when it comes to presenting a professional image to the world at large.

A poor or non-existent house style is a recipe for diluting your message, and confusing your prospective customers. Engaging different people to design your website, stationery, and marketing materials requires a strict set of rules, otherwise your company image is going to dissolve like a sugar cube in a hot cup of tea! A good house style will define at least things like:

  • logo usage, particularly minimum spacing from surrounding elements, if it’s colours and background colours are mixed, and so on.
  • Colours to be used in presentations – in particular to type/text.
  • The typographical rules to follow – in particular, the font families to be used and where they should be applied.

There are so many fonts – which do I choose?

Some designers can become truly evangelical about their beliefs on the topic, and may even appear to vanish up their own posteriors – so be careful not to get too bogged down with the finer nuances of type design – keep your feet on the ground, and get some advice from a designer who respects your budget and has a proven record of sensible typographical design under his/her belt.

Although there are literally tens of thousands of fonts out there, there are two main classifications which almost all fonts fall into, and everyone can understand without being an expert – Serif typefaces (e.g. Time Roman), which have terminators (serifs) of some sort on the end of their strokes, and Sans-Serif (e.g. Arial) which don’t.

In this example I am going to look at a simple masthead/heading and body text font combination. This is a good starting point for any typographical design strategy. I’m not a great fan of rules – and any designer like me will probably try it on from time to time with something different – but even designers who bend and break the rules (usually) do so with the following minima in mind. Read More…