What’s Flawed with This Image? Designing a Brand with an On-line Service
Is it possible to order a decent logo online?
A catchy and effective logo design is like the ballet: it looks simple, but it stands for thousands of hours of hard work and sweat, research and reflection, as well as an occasional dose of frustration, which were summed up in a tiny, beautiful moment. In the field of graphic design, logo design is a subspecialty that, for good reason, demands high prices. However, there are now numerous websites where everyone can order a logo for a small fee or create one themselves by choosing from a range of symbols and font options and mixing and adapting them to their heart's content.
This development was inevitable, and many professional designers hate the idea that their years of education and expertise are not appreciated by potential customers who consider design services to be overpriced and that their children could do an equally good job of designing a logo. It's almost too easy to make fun of the whole thing as design travesty, etc.
Apart from that, is it possible to order a decent logo at one of the interactive locations? We decided to find out.
Design a logo with an online service
I invented a company whose only product was called Cat Crunchies and I happened to choose a logo design website. It promised four separate logo concepts (though you only get one as the end result), created by two dedicated designers, with a 48-hour turnaround, unlimited revisions, and a money-back guarantee. For a coupon offer, the lowest price package is $ 39 (usually $ 149).
I deliberately gave ambiguous feedback for each round of comments. In an ideal world, a graphic designer comes back to the customer for a quick chat to clarify and learn what he or she really expected. Since I could only phone a very nervous-sounding project manager working out of a room that sounded like a telemarketing room, I was never able to communicate directly with the people who were responsible for realizing my vision.
REQUIREMENTS OF THE WORKPLACE
Exact name for the logo: Cat crunchies
Motto (if available): Vegan, gluten-free treats for cats
Preferred type of logo: Modern
Look and feel: We want to convey the feeling of love for your cat and give him the very best healthy treats.
Additional Comments: Comes in six flavors, provides 12 essential vitamins and minerals, cleans the teeth and promotes healthy gums, responsible ingredients.
I added a random photo of my own cat that unfortunately didn't appear in any of the logo versions.
SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE SHOP
Cat Crunchies opened in a Brooklyn garage in fall 2017 and is dedicated to providing cat owners with a healthy alternative to over-processed supermarket treats. We give 15% of the profits to animal shelters and sponsor quarterly Adopt-A-Cat fairs. Each batch of Cat Crunchies is baked by hand and packed in our special tins.
Based on the information I provided and the criteria mentioned above, the logo would ideally refer to a cat in some way, perhaps convey the idea of a crispy enjoyment as opposed to a daily meal and also point to a healthy, small-scale and socially appealing diet Mood. I asked about “modern”, so I was hoping to find clean, contemporary solutions for the job.
Version one: the aristocate
This solution was puzzling from the start. The Disney quality of the illustration doesn't match any part of the design assignment.
Customer request after the first round: Can we please try different and less colors that look like comics and have a more modern letter style? Note: It's not just the colors that give it a comic character. It is the illustration style. The designer had to read between the lines that I asked for and those that I objected to to fully resolve the problem.
What did I get back? Salmon pink appears and the font has developed from a vaguely thorny serif to an angular sans. Not modern, but definitely different. Cat stays the same.
Customer request after round two: I like the colors better, but the cat looks very feminine. I'm worried that cat owners believe these treats are only for girls cats. Is there any way to fix that?
Resolution: Disney cat is gone, replaced by Maneki Neko, the lucky charm popular in Japanese and Chinese culture. Huh? Maybe less feminine, but not more appropriate – in fact, this kind of came out of nowhere and doesn't fit the job either. Many people associate the color pink with femininity, which is why the designer may have tried to counteract this by introducing a different color selection.
Managing a web design project from start to finish: A HOW Design University course
Version two: corporate cat
Navy blue and maroon are strange shades for this project as they are most often used in conservative pallets for banks and / or insurance companies. Nothing about the color choices feels organic or food-related, says “cat” or communicates something about using natural healthy ingredients.
Customer request after the first round: I would like to see what it looks like to play the "vegan" and the "gluten free" on it as this is important for our customers. Can the colors look more like cat fur? (Note: this last remark was an intentional attempt to be annoying.)
What did I get back? Vegan and gluten-free are now red instead of blue. No other highlighting methods were sent: change of scale, font, position. Comment on cat fur colors ignored.
Customer request after round two: Can we put the "vegan / gluten-free" product in a separate little burst or bubble? It would also be good to try colors that are more like a cat.
Resolution: A half-hearted bubble that is drawn around existing words and adds a background color that matches the value of the red type, so the type basically disappears due to lack of contrast. Second, ask them to try cat fur colors that will be ignored. Designer seems to have given up.
Version three: Hello Amoeba Kitty
It was so depressing from the start (boring colors, unattractive big cat) that I almost didn't try to work with it. Nevertheless, hope remains forever.
Customer request after the first round: Could it feel more exciting and show how much the owners love their cats? Maybe the letters are too simple or the colors? (Note: this is a type of customer feedback that is usually vague. Dissatisfaction is expressed, but no really solid direction is offered.)
What did I get back? I have no idea what happened here. I imagine the designer with six open YouTube windows sending SMS and swirling a hot bag in the microwave while talking on a headset.
Request for the second round: This still doesn't show how you love your cat, maybe it's the color or it needs something that says love, like hearts or a hug?
Resolution: Holy crow. The heart is applied like a plaster without trying to integrate it into the rest of the design. If the solution doesn't work, try another solution. Colors unchanged.
Version four: Peek A Boo
The first try was of a playful quality that I appreciated. Although the cat looked a bit like an insect, it seemed to be the most promising of the four design options.
Customer request after the first round: I think that would look good with fun colors and if the word crunchies didn't cut into the cat. Can you say "cat" without showing a drawing? (Note: this was not a direct request to remove the cat.)
What did I get back? The cat is gone never to return. Colors are definitely "funnier". However, the word crunchies is still overlaid on the word cat.
Customer request after round two: The word crunchies still cuts into the word cat. Can you move it down? (Maybe I should have asked for the cat drawing to be restored just to see what might have happened.)
Resolution: I got everything I asked for.
Decision: So is that a good logo? Sadly no. Simply fulfilling a customer's wishes is not a good design. A designer has to listen to feedback and then think about it and offer better solutions. Most customers don't speak the language of design well enough to be able to say what they really want. Part of the job of a designer is to act as an interpreter, to define and solve the problem and to make suggestions on how to get there. This logo has some valuable features – the use of a structured font that jumps up and down from the baseline of the word crunchies communicates noise and activity, and overall the design feels happy and suitable for a pet treat. But the kerning of "cat" is terrible and the word "cat" isn't properly centered on crunchies.
Why it just didn't work
For all four options, there was no real investigation into other concepts or possible solutions after feedback on any version. Changing small details like a font color or adding a burst to an existing design that doesn't work cannot solve the problem. If a customer wants to put something in a bubble, chances are that the designer will have to rearrange things, play with scaling, and possibly use a different font. What I got back was not really new versions, just quick changes to the first idea. It seemed like there was no opportunity for designers to play and experiment, trying options other than what-if. In other words, the funny part of their work didn't seem to exist.
This is not intended to be a criticism of the talent or skills of the people assigned to my project. It is more an example of the basic fact that every design, and especially the logo design, is about communication and vision. The designers and I never talked to each other, but went over the comments submitted through an online form, through a middleman who probably had a dozen other projects that he was doing at the same time. Even in the busiest and largest design agencies, a customer always has the opportunity to meet, chat, collaborate, and collaborate with the design team. I missed this experience and so I received a pink-green logo for my vegan, gluten-free cat crunchies in small quantities.
Do you know what it means to put your own design behind a great logo design? Don't just leave it there. Send it to the for review LIKE Logo Design Awards, Accept inputs for a limited time!
The post What's wrong with this picture? Designing a logo with an online service first appeared on HOW Design.