How Not To Use Design To Brand Your Business?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 at 9:00pm by Site Administrator

Warning: I am no professional designer and I’m not pretending to be. I’m probably what you might call an armchair designer. After spending five years at the local university library studying both graphic design books and “old master” art collections on my own time, I can draw, but I can’t design. I can sketch out ideas and have more talented people finish them off better than I could. Unfortunately, a good design is a part of corporate branding, and it’s something that every entrepreneur probably needs to address at some point.

So after all my browsing, I know what I like and what I don’t in design. What I don’t like is the London 2012 Olympics logo (above). It’s turning heads all over, but not in a good way. It seems so out of place, compared to the more elegant designs of past Olympics. Some people dislike it more than I – many being Londoners – and are voicing their opinion. (What Seth Godin said made me chuckle, and it’s good advice when looking for a logo or other design components.) Hopefully, the London committee will accept these suggestions for alternate designs [via Logo Design Works].

But when you have an old brand like the Olympics, a bad logo for one event probably isn’t going to have too much long-lasting negative effect. If you’re a new business, that’s another story. Now in addition to typical print-related branding design elements, digital entrepreneurs building a web-based business have additional graphic needs: website/ weblog theme and something called a favicon (fave icon). faviconA favicon is a 16×16 pixel graphic that is either a scaled down version of your logo, or something that suggests the same thing. For example, I sketched out an original logo that a professional designer turned into the large image you see somewhere in this paragraph. You can see the favicon version (tiny graphic) as well. It’s actually my original design, and it works better for the favicon. Even though the real logo is a stylized chameleon, it has too much detail that will not show at a 16×16 pixel size. The original design was raw and incomplete, but for all intents and purposes, it’s visually similar enough to the logo to act as a stand-in.

Do you need a favicon for your website, given that some web browsers will not show it anyway? Some websites don’t use one, but they probably should. Jennifer Slegg, aka Jenstar/ Jensense, is an SEM (Search Engine Marketing) expert who wrote at length about the importance of a favicon as a visual branding element.

And of course, any logo and favicon has to work with the color scheme for your business’ website. But let’s get to that another time.

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