Merry Christmas! Right now, you're probably drinking egg nog, cozying around the TV station playing the picture of the fireplace and beating that cousin you don't like and haven't seen in a while at Call of Duty, so you can ignore this. For the rest of you who aren't, however (read: me), I've got a new Tales from the Ashcan for you. This month, we're talking about identity design.
As a graphic designer and typographer, one thing that I've really noticed since my great wide entry into the world of comic publishing is exactly how horrifically bad some of the identity design (aka logos) some people have. Seriously. Granted, horrific logo design is something you see on a regular basis - it's everywhere. But I've noticed that it's exceptionally bad in the realm of comic logos. Without pointing fingers (because that's bad), I can find you within ten minutes some of the most afterthought (if even that much) series logos out there. Likewise, aside from our own, I can point out what I think are some of the most incredible ones. While the former are afterthoughts, the latter have clearly been thought out in terms with the scheme of the story, or are intentionally aping a particular style. The difference between a monstrosity (you can find one within five minutes by looking at any webcomics aggregator) and something as beautiful as the logos for Woody After Hours or Powernap or Delve into Fantasy are immense.
But as a professional, it's even more important to have the proper identity for your business, regardless of whether or not your business is a comic artist, bookseller, travel agenty or coffee shop. Why? Well, it can really hit you hard, and I'll give two examples; the first one now, the second after the jump.
Take, for example, a conversation I had one day with an individual who handed me his business card. It was a simple affair, with black and blue ink and looked very sleek and stylish for a technology company. There was just one problem: the gentleman was in the food services industry, something that the average person would not have known by looking at the card. While his logo and branding needed work, the colors and fonts chosen did even more to confuse potential customers, thus making a simple food producer look like a great tech company (which was not even close to his intent.) I ended up doing a much warmer and more accessible logo for their business, and their business is doing swimmingly.
But I had another customer who had an even bigger issue, and his I'd like to share with you.