Logo basics – addendum

My article on logo design in flyingsolo resulted in quite a few comments. Here’re my additional thoughts as a result.

The Bank of Queensland peeling poster

I did not know the Bank of Queensland logo was meant to represent the outline of the state – so thanks for pointing that out Greg from Toowoomba. This illustrates how hard it is for symbols to be read “correctly” for people not in the know (which is possibly the majority of the bank’s customers).

It did make me think why this logo continued to read to me as a peeling poster. I put it down to the blue being the darker colour and thus reading as the “back” of the poster; and the curved corners on either side of the “fold” which suggest the two pieces are joined together. Swapping the colours helped a bit (see the top right logo in the pic below). But stronger measures were needed to fully separate the two pieces of the logo. The version with the kicked-in right hand corner would have said “state of Queensland” to me…


Don’t get me wrong – the logo is actually a very nice piece of design. Someone has obviously spent time getting the proportions, shapes and typography just right. (All we need now is some wallpaper glue…)



Some thoughts for Paul Tooze from InvestorLinks; because you asked:

  • The text is way too small. Unless you have the budget to saturate the market with images of the 3 squares, you’d probably want the name to be more legible.
  • The square is a good choice if you want to communicate stability, solidity, dependability etc. But the current arrangement of the three squares is precarious and unstable. They look like they may fall over. (Although they do make rather attractive bullets, where their visual instability actually helps draw attention to them.)
  • You should save your logo out as a GIF or PNG file for the web. The JPEG compression algorithms were designed for photos and are not very good at handling blocks of solid colours and sharp lines. If you look closely at your logo you can see it is “muddy” as a result.

Give your brand the permission to evolve

Karen Dempster (www.creatingchange.com.au) brought up a great point.

It is ok for your logo not to be perfect. It may never be perfect! Let it grow and change and evolve with your business. It is but one aspect of your business.

Obscure genesis is ok

Garry Thompson Writeronline from Gold Coast is right when he pointed out that most people won’t get the stories behind logos. And that’s ok. Having a story is useful (sometimes people do ask!) especially during development.

I have just finished a new brand for a not-for-profit. We had a story behind the logo which helped to align everyone’s understanding and create clarity around the communication intent. But we also now that people could read the symbol in a few different (all good!) ways, and unless they ask, no one will likely get the details of its genesis.

The Commonwealth Bank logo story is a case in point. Who really cares now that it was the Southern Cross? How many of us knew? It’s a yellow square with a black bit in it… And indeed, how many of us noticed the neat typographical trick the designers had employed to reduce the prominence of the double “m”s:


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Yes, beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder as Nadya from Brisbane said. And it is up to each business to decide how they would like to represent their personality.

I have deliberately stayed away from commenting on or discussing the subjective issue of beauty or artistic merit. Instead I have tried to focus on the mechanical and communications aspects, which arguably lent themselves more to objective discussions.

There are unfortunately many designers out there who still favour looks over everything else. Although technology has become way more forgiving these days, it is still a shame to see a beautiful logo that could not be reproduced online or on a t-shirt!

A big thanks to everyone who posted comments!!!

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