Recently, I participated in a logo design competition sponsored by DESIGN 21. Designers were challenged to create a logo for the UNESCO DREAM Center, a project with the goal of providing underprivileged children, especially in post-conflict regions, the opportunities and tools to express themselves creatively through the arts. DREAM Center
My entry, “Bringing the Arts into Focus” was one of over 1500 entries from designers around the world. Submissions represented all parts of the logo design spectrum: simple to intricate, serious to playful, large, small, good, bad, and everything in between. However, this article is not about logo design. (For principles of effective logo design, check out this short article by Jacob Cass.)
Before this competition, I had never given much thought to how I presented a logo or identity design to a client after it was completed. Looking through hundreds of submissions during the voting period, I realized that presenting an identity design is much more than providing a color and greyscale version of your logo.
The best designs in the competition stood out for more than just their conceptual strength or creativity – they had an effective presentation. Below are the aspects I believe contributed to this professional feel, with examples selected from this competition and several others sponsored by Design 21.
1. Negative Space
Many entries uploaded an image that left empty space around the logo at the center. This minimalist design concept helps draw attention to the logo and is visually appealing.
2. Horizontal and Vertical Solutions
Clients want a design that is versatile. Showing how your logo can be easily altered to fit into spaces of various shapes and sizes makes your design stand out as well-crafted. Your logo might be very versatile, but if you don’t present it that way clients may not notice.
Officially a lens effect, vignetting darkens (or lightens) from the corners of an image to draw attention to the center. This dramatic effect can be easily applied with Adobe Photoshop using the Lens Correction filter. A vignette can be very visually appealing, but it is also a common effect that can easily be overdone
4. Bold presentation
Using a bright backdrop for a logo design draws the eye and helps it stand out from others. It is also a way to bring a splash of color to a black and white design. The use of other effects such as faint drop shadows or glow can be visually appealing, but it is important to also include a a plain and simple version without these effects, or the logo could be considered too busy or complicated. ‘Helping Hand’ below is a great example of an effective shadow. It is not pronounced enough to easily identify it as a drop shadow, but it gives a slight depth that is very appealing and looks professional.
5. Print Layout Example
A large number of entries featured an example of how the logo could be incorporated into an appealing print layout. Although certainly not required, and maybe overkill for some projects, it shows dedication and allows clients to see the many ways your identity design could be utilized.
6. Product examples
Similarly, many designers provided examples of how their logo could be used on various products. It can be helpful for a client to see that a design is versatile and can be adapted for use in many different ways. T-shirts and stationary are common examples – but it is possible to go too far.
If you really want to go above and beyond, you can animate your logo, as quite a few entries did.
Have other tips for making a design proposal stand out? Share them by leaving a comment.